WASHINGTON - The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester said the next-generation F-35 jet continues to fall short of full combat readiness targets and, despite some progress on reliability issues, all three versions of the fighter are breaking down "more often than planned," writes Anthony Capaccio for Bloomberg. Continue reading original article
The Intelligent Aerospace take:
November14, 2019-To say the F-35 had some growing pains as it came into service in the United States and allied military forces would be something of an understatement. With more than 400 of the stealthy jets now produced, the Pentagon told the House Armed Services Committee that the F-35 was not meeting five of the “reliability or maintainability metrics.”
“The operational suitability of the F-35 fleet remains at a level below service expectations,” Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing, said in his prepared remarks. “In short, for all variants, aircraft are breaking down more often than planned and taking longer to fix.”
Lockheed and the Pentagon recently inked a deal for nearly 500 more F-35s, worth $34 billion. Lockheed Martin's F-35 program manager Greg Ulmer, after the House hearing, that he doesn't “necessarily agree” with what Behler testified before the House.
“If you look lot-over-lot, reliability and maintainability is significantly better for the airplanes delivering off the line,” Ulmer said, while acknowledging there were some outstanding issues “and we are going after them.”
Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor