Schwartz Concerned About F-35A Delays

Check this out, it’s a tease from a story we’ll soon be posting on out sister site, DoDBuzz:

The U.S. Air Force’s top officer is concerned that delays in software engineering for the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter could delay the service’s fielding of the jet.

“I’m still concerned, concerned on schedule primarily — a little bit less on technical matters — software, again, appears to be a potential pacing item here and that has me concerned in terms of deliveries,”said Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz today during a breakfast with reporters in Washington.

He went on to say that while the plane is ahead of schedule in terms of test flights, test points and has had no “failures or surprises” structurally, delays in writing code for the plane have him worrying about whether it will reach initial operational capability by early 2016.

“There are some issues with respect to timing on software development, and we don’t have complete understanding on whether or not that will affect the IOC which was predicted after the Nunn-McCurdy assessment to be April of 2016,” said Schwartz.

He was referring to the, so called, Nunn-McCurdy legislation which caps cost growth on major weapons buys.  The F-35 program was reorganized by the Pentagon last spring after its spiraling costs caused it to breach the cost limits laid out by that statute.

The Air Force plans to buy 1,763 of the jets, making it the largest F-35 customer in the world.

  • Justin H

    IOC of 2016? Screw that!

  • roland

    Call the manufacturer everyday…

    • William C.

      Heh, maybe that will make them finish the aircraft on time.

      With the exception of the F-35B which had it’s STOVL configuration tested by the X-35B, there is nothing particularly exotic or unconventional about the F-35’s airframe design that should be causing such delays, potential weight issues, and a price higher than the $60-80 million per aircraft planned.

  • Justin H

    Am I going to ask the obvious question here. Why no unmanned F-35s?! Have a mix of manned and unmanned F-35s. The military does want better UCAVs than whats under development… Here are some ideas for an unmanned F-35.

    * Take out some/all of the cockpit equiment that wont be needed, thats obvious.
    * Replace the canopy with a cover made of the same materials as the rest of the plane, which would make it a little more stealthy.
    * Ditch the horizontal stabilizer fins, or make them very low profile (see X-36 and McDonnell/BAE’s JSF)
    * Ditch the either the DAS or the EOTS or both.
    * Maybe make it a little less steathly (see international variant of the F-35).

  • Justin H

    BTW I didn’t censor my last post. Anyway, I would reduce the number of manned F-35s by 1/4-1/3. Maybe 1/2 at the most, and make up the differance with unmanned F-35s and another 100-200 F-22s.

  • Max

    Software delays? ha! So what else is new in the defense industry? The people who run these programs need to realize that you just can’t churn out good code like hamburger on an assembly line. It takes a lot of time, and yes, money, to get it right. That’s the reality. And we can’t forget the military’s penchant for constantly inflating the cost and delaying the project completion by endless changes to the requirements.

  • Davis

    You know what I’m concerned about? Finding the F-22 pilot in Alaska.

  • Superraptor

    The USAF urgently needs new jets. We need to stop putting many more billions into the F-35 program without delivering any operational jets. The F-22 line needs to be restarted to meet first tier threats and the F-35 program needs to be severely curtailed. New upgraded F-16s and F-15SEs and F-18SHs will do well against 2nd tier threats. This will actually save money and make the USAF more lethal. Stopping production of the F-22 was a colossal failure on part of General Schwartz.

  • nelan72

    We need to keep up on having the best airforce in the world and advanced. The fleet that will be replaced should then be turned into the unmanned drones.