Leaked Pentagon documents claim a design flaw in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has caused eight simulated landings to fail. The “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Concurrency Quick Look Review” claimed the flaw meant that the “arrestor” hook, used to stop the plane during landing, was too close to the plane’s wheels.This chart shows the distances from the main gear to the tailhook on a number of naval aircraft.
As noted in some of the articles on this, the problem is that they can't relocate or lengthen the tailhook on the F-35C. Unlike other airplanes, where the hook retracts up against the fuselage (and is visible in-flight), the F-35C's hook is retracted and stowed internally, so the hook is within the stealth skin. So they just can't move it aft and let it ride out in the breeze, as that would tend to compromise the stealthiness of the airplane.
The Navy has been successfully designing carrier-capable aircraft for the last ninety or so years. There are specs on how the geometry of a tailhook should be set up. Apparently, the upper-level project managers just disregarded them and figured that they could ignore proven engineering art and that as long as the hook could touch the deck, the pilots would make it work.
This is too much. It's been known for awhile that the F-35B (and the V-22) has a problem with melting the decks.
Stalin would have had the program managers shot by now. We, on the other hand, are just throwing billions of dollars at this project and will throw tens of billions more in order to make it work. Even if we have to retire a carrier to do it.