The F-35C’s Radar-Absorbent Skin Is Looking Pretty Rough After Months At Sea

War Zone – The U.S. Navy’s F-35C stealth fighters, one of which has recently grabbed unwanted attention after a landing mishap aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson sent it into the sea, are also showing some fairly significant wear and tear on their debut operational cruise. Radar-absorbent skins are historically made of materials that are notoriously sensitive to environmental conditions. While it is known that significant leaps in the maintainability of radar-absorbent materials (RAM) were integrated into the F-35 design, recent images from the F-35C’s inaugural cruise raise potential questions about the ease of maintaining the jet’s coatings in the demanding maritime environment.