Report: F-35 Cracks in Tests, Isn’t Reliable


The U.S. Defense Department’s newest and most advanced fighter jet has cracked during testing and isn’t yet reliable for combat operations, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester said in new report.

The entire F-35 fleet was grounded last February after a crack was discovered in a turbine blade of an F-35A. While the order was subsequently lifted, more cracks have been discovered in other areas and variants of the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made plane, according to the latest annual report by J. Michael Gilmore, director of Operational Test and Evaluation.

Durability testing of the F-35A, the Air Force’s version of the plane designed to take off and land on conventional runways, and the F-35B, the Marine Corps’ model that can take off like a plane and land like a helicopter, revealed “significant findings” of cracking in engine mounts, fuselage stiffeners, and bulkhead and wing flanges, according to the document. A bulkhead actually severed at one point, it states.

“All of these discoveries will require mitigation plans and may include redesigning parts and additional weight,” Gilmore wrote in the report.

The F-35C, the Navy’s version of the plane designed to take off and land on aircraft carriers, has also had cracks in the floor of the avionics bay and power distribution center and, like the F-35B, in the so-called jack point stiffener, according to the document.

The hardware problems, along with ongoing delays in software development, among other issues, led Gilmore to conclude that the fifth-generation fighter jet’s “overall suitability performance continues to be immature, and relies heavily on contractor support and workarounds unacceptable for combat operations.”

He added, “Aircraft availability and measures of reliability and maintainability are all below program target values for the current stage of development.”

The Joint Strike Fighter program is the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort, estimated last year to cost $391 billion to develop and build 2,457 F-35 Lightning IIs. The single-engine jet is designed to replace such aircraft as the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and AV-8B.

The Pentagon this year plans to spend $8.4 billion to buy 29 F-35s, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps, and four for the Navy. The funding includes $6.4 billion in procurement, $1.9 billion in research and development, and $187 million in spare parts. The department in fiscal 2015 wants to purchase 42 of the planes.

The Marine Corps had expected to begin operational flights of the aircraft in 2015, followed by the Air Force in 2016 and the Navy in 2019.

The Corps’ schedule depends on using a more limited version of the software, known as Block 2B, designed for use with such precision-guided weapons as the AIM-120C Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, GBU-32/31 Joint Direct Attack Munition and GBU-12 Paveway II bomb.

The first operational flights, however, will probably be delayed because the aircraft’s software won’t be ready in time due to ongoing glitches, according to the report.

“Initial results with the new increment of Block 2B software indicate deficiencies still exist in fusion, radar, electronic warfare, navigation, EOTS [Electro-Optical Targeting System], Distributed Aperture System (DAS), Helmet-Mounted Display System (HMDS), and datalink,” it states. “These deficiencies block the ability of the test team to complete baseline Block 2B test points, including weapons integration.”

Lockheed has reassigned more engineers to improve the software, and the Pentagon has assembled an outside team of experts to study the issue.

Even so, the report touches on other problem areas.

The aircraft remains vulnerable to “ballistically-induced propellant fire from all combat threats,” such as missile strikes, according to the document; its computer-based logistics system, the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS, was fielded with “significant deficiencies;” and the program has a “significant risk” of failing to mature modeling and simulation technology, known as the Verification System, or VSim, according to the document.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Mill1

    I understand learning curves, new technology, etc. However, things like this can generally be discovered during engineering development of components given load factors. There is either a flaw in development, construction, material QC, or something along those lines. For $350+ Billion, I expect something, even during trials, to be a bit more combat ready this far into it. I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling about this.

    • Nadnerbus

      I am an aircraft neophyte, but I seem to recall torture testing being done on old school airframes like the F-14 where they subject test airframes to freezing conditions, rain, fog, and other environmental factors in controlled conditions to find out how the thing handled it, never mind the carrier impact simulations done on the landing gear and airframe to test durability for carrier landings. Is this not done anymore?

      Also, from what I have read, the F-35 is already pretty heavy for its size, once they start bolting on structural reinforcement and stuff, it is really going to become a little piggy.

      • blight_

        I’m sure Lockheed is chomping at the bit to let the Pentagon pay for R&D to pay for a re-design to use weight-saving composites…yay, more R&D!

    • CMSGT

      Remember that this is a concurrent acquisition program. In other words, engineering development and low rate production are happening at the same time. I think it’s a stupid concept for a weapons system this complex and expensive. And then you have to retrofit all of the birds that were manufactured. But LM tells us that they have it under control. Trust them….and give them money.

    • Tad

      Can’t be discovered early on if you make testing concurrent with building and purchasing.

    • J D

      Yes, consider Lockheed Martin’s (?) failing Freedom class Littoral Combat Ship program! Consider Lockheed Martin’s failure to retain the contract to replace it’s own P-3 (which I flew in 34 years ago); lost to Boeing Corp.! And now this really stabbing news about the always troubled F-35 program!

      What has happened, though?! This company used to engineer and manufacture many fantastic aircraft and weapons! Where has all that engineering experience and expertise evaporated too?? No wonder my wife is so nervous at her job. After 15 years she still earns a good income but she doesn’t like going to work and being told that there isn’t any work for her to do – and yet she is supposed to dream up something to report weekly to the supervisory team to justify her time.

    • Mike

      They will just keep sinking billions into it so that the Congressmen and Generals have jobs when they retire.

    • CGibbs

      Relentless Root Cause Corrective Action required. A corrective action plan based at the root cause starting with the first failure will lead to the biggest factor. Failure meaning getting down to what supplier where, whom, building from bottom up. My cup of tea. Love it, enjoy this.

    • The Defense Department has the fine motor skills of a dinosaur. This is a fine place to start cutting.
      A small unmanned drone with air-to-air missiles can shoot a $150 Million F-35 jet out of the air. It is like the obsolete battleships of WWII. Luke AFB is expecting 144 crafts. At $150 million each! For a total of $21.6 BILLION DOLLARS. No wonder this country is going bankrupt.

  • Raypc800

    The more I here about this plane the better the upgraded F18E/F looks. After all what we want is to keep them Flying High, not cracked up.

    • notveryfast

      The problem with that is that it leaves the Marines high and dry. With the Harrier fleet rapidly aging, and the losses they suffered during the September 2012 ground attack on Bastion, less and less of those airframes are able to be certified. They NEED the F-35 to not suck at life, otherwise they’re SOL when it comes to Harrier-like aircraft.

    • Glockster 20

      We should just stay with the F22

      • William A. Peterson

        So, we’re going to disband the Navy, now? Remember, the Air Force had a stated requirement that the F-22 could NEVER be designed in such a way as to make operations from a Carrier possible! (YES, this was idiotic!) We DO need the F-35, if it can be made to work. the F-18 is obsolescent and not really good enough. If the F-35, ultimately, cannot be made to work, then it’s back to square one, and design of an all new aircraft, with all the costs THAT entails (Ouch!). Let’s hope Lockheed starts getting it’s act together!

      • Tiger

        Which is a non answer, never filled the job requirements for a JSF & frankly has yet prove jack it’s self……..

    • Hrntphxr

      Hornets had similar problems in the early days, that’s where the strakes (sp) came from . . . . How many Hornets are still waiting center barrel replacement due to cracks in the main mounts for the gear, or have engine fire wall issues. . . . if your going to spout off and compare new programs to mature, be sure to do your home work!!!

      • redstate

        Recommend you do your homework. Hornets never had such issues so early in their service life’s. All aircraft have to deal with fatigue and associated cracks but the point of the article is that they are much worse than expected on the F-35 so early in its life. Yes, the Hornet has significant crack issues today but that’s because the services are having to extend their lives due to….

        F-35 delays.

      • You Lie!

        And the fact that the F-35 isn’t worth the effort of time.

    • Hazel Lee

      Without a doubt I agree


    F!$@K this is bulls!@$t, this test and procedures has gone far too long, I wish China and Russia can develop a fighter that can kick our butt that is the only way these contractors can get their s!$t together.

  • Dfens

    Ok, don’t get all upset by this news. There is an up side. All these problems are going to ensure Lockheed makes record profits this year, and if they really get lucky maybe the program will get cancelled right before production starts so they can “propose” (euphemistic for “lie their ass off”) to win the next great defense program where they will once again siphon off huge profit for no risk during the development phase and perform so badly that the next one will get cancelled just before production too. After all, our once great nation pays them more to f up, and SURPRISE they know that. The only people who are blissfully ignorant of this fact are the US taxpayers.

    • William_C1

      They don’t make decent profits on the F-35 program when they screw up. Most of their profits come from working products like their missiles, bombs, avionics, the F-16 etc. They rightfully should be made to feel financial pain from these structural failures. Unless fixed those airframes won’t reach their 8,000 flight hour requirement.

      • Dfens

        Well, there you go. Clearly Lockheed isn’t really making record profits year after year from F-35, it’s obviously a conspiracy by the news organizations that report they make these profits. And who is going to make them feel “financial pain from these structural failures”? You, the great apologist for the status quo? Here in the real world Lockheed will get a change to their contract that the government will fund which will allow them extra money to fix these problems. That change will come with the customary 10 to 15% “award fee,” otherwise known as profit, and Lockheed will fix the cracks and make more profit and then there will be other problems later on that will require more money to fix and Lockheed will make more profit on those problems, and so on. What kind of idiot can’t figure that out? Obviously Lockheed has figured it out.

      • CMSGT

        This is a cost plus program that is just now morphiong into a fixed price program. this means that the government assumes all of the risks and pay for their screw ups. The only penalties at this time come from deficient financial and contracting processes, nothing technical.

      • CharleyA

        They make about 11% per air vehicle.

    • J D

      Nonsense Dfens (that is about the record profits for Lockheed Martin)! My wife has been feeling nervous and pinched at her job here in Fort Worth, for a couple of years. A couple of her supervisors and 3 or 4 of her higher level co-workers have already left to find other companies to work for before they get the ax or the bad news. She also says all her supervisors at least 5 levels up are feeling the stress!

  • Tony

    I find it hard to believe that this program started back in 1996. Im 20 now and remember when I saw the original x-35 compete against the x-32 on tv one night. Man I feel like this should be the last nail for the coffin and end the program.

  • Jay B

    USAF Gen. Michael Hostage put it quite well the other day, expressing publicly that they cannot cut a single airplane from the program because it would instantaneously send the entire F-35 program into an unrecoverable death spiral.

    Sounds like the love for this behemoth is pretty much gone at this point.

    • lbeberdick

      What the general meant was that if he cuts a plane, he won’t have a job with lockmart when he retires.

    • SJE

      Lots of other high tech programs (e.g. fusion reactors, particle accelerators, NASA missions, big rail projects) get cancelled when costs spiral, and we find other alternatives.

    • FMA

      That General is a robot, he doesn’t have a say. Smartly salute and fall back in line. His retirement check is on the line.

  • Esther Grupenhagen

    Civil Air Patroll is deteriorating into Civil Aor Platoon being sdministered and managed by NCO who can’t comprehend that volunteers aren’t raw recruits!

    • UAVgeek

      Perfect opportunity to show the overfed and underworked American teenager some discipline.

      • dr. agreeable


    • Mr. Military

      Nobody has time for CAP, tell tem to join the military.

  • oh come on thats just lockeed padding the bottom line

  • mpower6428

    I wonder if the rest of the free world can budget that degree of ” designed obsolescence “… wait a minute, can we…?

    I am fresh out of concern for or about this thing. ” Nail in the coffin ” doesn’t quite sum it up.

  • Lance

    Shows more waste in this Billion Dollar boondoggle. Face it the USMC B is a waste you can argue for a USAF F-16 replacement but for the A-10 or harrier no this carries is and is not meant for CAS missions. I wish they cut there losses scrap the B and go on with the A model for replacing the F16 only. But the Pentagon is to stupid to do logical things anymore.

  • Konstantinos

    First mistake: development of three different types to satisfy more the ego rather than true operational needs. They could all have the B or C variant and decrease the cost and complexity of the program
    Second mistake: the competitive phase ended too soon. Arguably more money would have been spent so far by extending the competitive phase, but the motivation would be much greater for the companies.

    Aren’t you surprised that for competitive programs the companies deliver working, almost operational models right away, but for programs, where a single developer exists, there are huge delays?

    Anyway, I believe that at this point going ahead with the program is the only option. Canceling it would entail not only losing all the R&D money so far but additional R&D for a successor program.

  • I am convinced that the aircraft will eventually be perfected, however, to what cost?

  • Vpanoptes

    Want a really off-the-wall idea? Maybe Lockheed is secretly and almost completely owned by certain secret groups and interests within the Chinese politicomilitary- government complex and this is their inscrutably clever way of both destroying our defense base and bankrupting us at the same time. Fiends I tell you, they’re fiends! Wonder what they’re going to (eventually) charge us for a J-20 or J-21? Or an LCS replacement that might actually be able to fight someone besides the Angolan Navy?

  • JCross

    The thing that bothers me most about these flaws, are the failures of the AIM-120 and the DAS. However, the AMRAAM not working is extremely troubling for any fighter as it’s the backbone A2A weapon. Even more baffling is they have no clue why. Individual missiles that were tested on other platforms to work failed to work on F-35. For the DAS, it apparently cannot recognize between incoming missiles and flares, even the F-35’s own flares. Meaning that the automated flare system will pop flares in response to other flares, and then pop more thinking these new flares are more missiles. Repeat until out of flares. The other flaws: fragility, low availability and more delays is simply normal status for the project.

  • 10thdiv

    Remember when they thought the F-35 would be the cheaper plane to supplement the F-22?…… lol

  • rtsy

    How long do you think it will be before the investigation reveals that all the problems with the program were caused by Chinese espionage?

    • Tiger

      More likely American Engineers who cheated through “Statics & dynamics”, off the Chinese kid in seat ahead in college.

    • mitchRAvet


  • Auyong Ah Meng



    Possible due to the recent odd weather condtions?

  • 009

    CRACKS! Well what do you expect, this plane is basically made out of plastic!

  • Jeremiah

    The title seems a little sensationalist. Its a turbine blade crack not a structural thing in the plane itself.

  • MacPaul

    This plane is a complete disaster, but great for the industrial-military complex, cause they can earn a shit load full of money with ever going on upgrades.

  • TonyC.

    This program has been scrutinzed more than it’s predecessor, the F-22A. The F-22A has had it’s share of problems, but that program is calssified and the problems aren’t for public debate. The F-35 program will succeed, the technology is new and the problems are expected. Look at the Russian PAK 50 and there are similar reports about problems. The F-18E/F are out there until the F-35 is available. The F-15/F-22 are also out there. The issue is metal fatigue for the 4th generation fighters. The cracks in the F-35 are probably for composites to be evaluated and corrected.

    • Can you point use to these sources on the problems the T-50 has been experiencing in Development/production.

    • J Kotva

      The F-35 is not meant to replace the F/A18E/F/G nor the F-15. The F-35 was meant to replace the F18C/D the F-16 and the AV8B. The F/AXX is meant to replace the F/A18E/F/G The F-22 was meant to replace the F-15 but became too cost prohibitive to continue production.

  • Devo

    This is what happens when you try to make one air frame do everything. It was a grand idea but it was a failure in the past and appears to be a failure in progress now. There are just too many differences between the demands of each service. So the saying goes, Jack of all trades, master of none!

  • retin88

    About the engine. Wasn’t there a big flap about having more than one source for the engine. Maybe we need more than one source for the aircraft. Of course that depends on who/whom of the retired O6 plus fat cats are on who/whoms board.

  • hibeam

    Big government is always a nightmare of stupidity and incompetence. Always. Its a rule. Accept it. Deal with it. Keep big government out of every area possible. Defense is one of the few areas where they have to take the lead. Health Care? Hell no!

  • Big-B

    Who would have guessed building more / only F-22 and do not bring the F-35 at all would be cheaper :-)

    I never understood the need for a A and a C version, i think the AF would have been happy with a C as well. I know the C costs more than the A but the saved money on RD for the A could have been used for buying the C for the AF as well and the AF could have left of the hook to save some weight. If the AF really needs the F-35. And why a F-35 at all for the carriers? imho what the F-18E needs is a bigger and better brother like a “naval F-22” with long legs that can protect the F-18 and the carrier. The F35 needs to be protected by the F-18…

    Just to be correct its “just” a crack in a turbine blade so its a problem of PW and exceptionally not LM THIS time.

  • Larry

    I think im not a prophet when i say this program won’t go the hole way to number 2,457.

    The six generation fighter will come up half the way when it goes on like that and i think it’s time to bring in the drones big time.

    We all know that they are the future and that they will be the wingman of the six generation (or will fight for themselves) so i think they should intensify the work on real combat drones NOW.

    Start filling the gap before it comes into being.

  • madhatter

    Wasn’t there a movie made called the “Pentagon Wars” that covered something similiar to this? Amazing isn’t it.

  • Weaponhead

    Hey at least the F-35 is consistent. They always need more time and more money, it’s like a mantra. At this rate, SDD is going to take longer than the A-12 lawsuit did!

    So I ask you, if we allow programs so poorly conceived and run to keep going ad infinitum, why pay hundreds of millions of dollars into EVM to track the cost & schedule?

    As Rand pointed out, it would have been cheaper to build 3 separate aircraft optimized for each service. But the drunk at the craps table keeps putting down more $ because he has lost too much already.

    Carnac predicts – 1 year from now when the 2014 DOT&E summary comes out it will say the same things. Maybe the F-35 program should bet against itself in Vegas????

  • Willie

    What do they expect from a plane built from low bid contractors from several countries?
    No surprise here! Dont put all the blame on lockheed.

  • Viq

    Can’t the cracking issue be fixed by another 100 million lines of code at taxpayer expense? ;-)

  • Fyayldt

    This plane seems to be riddled with problems cracks all through the structure. That indicates that it was poorly designed and that the structure cannot handle the loads being placed on it. In that event reinforcing it will likely not solve the issues but will require massive redesign of the whole aircraft or massive changes in the materials being used. More billions for what was supposedly going to be a cheaper replacement for existing aircraft. I think we might have been better off just working with what we already had and improving those aircraft. The A-10 is an old warrior but it is one of the finest ground attack planes we have ever come up with and it does the job magnificently that it was designed for. Sometimes you have to come to a point where you just have to say if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. We have some great aircraft in our inventory that could probably be tweaked with better engines and software upgrades and perhaps even design changes for a next generation with new materials and other changes as well but all this garbage about designing specialty aircraft for each service I don’t see it because we already have a full deck of them. Improve the Osprey and others and make them more battle ready since we’ve already invested so much in them. Or better yet quit being dumb asses and trying to fight everybody’s wars and stay our ass at home for a while and quit trying to bully everybody into doing what we want them to. We have spent too many lives and too much blood in countries where we had no vested interest in being there.

  • Hunter76

    Is anyone surprised at this?

    I just hope there are people working hard on an F-35 Exit Strategy.

    This program was insane from the beginning. Trying to incorporate so many diverse functions in one airframe was a pipe dream only politicians, defense CEOs, and similar blowhards would try to peddle.

  • Derek Birch

    Well, I am not going to mention all the problems which have afflicted, or are afflicting, this ‘super’ advanced attack fighter which is said to be so essential to the USA and the UK.
    Basically, my questions are:
    1) Is the F35 able to do all it was said to be capable of doing? (at least as well as current in service aircraft-if not better given the projected cost per aircraft).
    2) Are all faults, flaws, glitches, etcetera etcetera, able to be resolved without excessive cost, and without excessive delays to previous expectations of operational in service entry?
    3) If the whole project was scrapped, would current in service aircraft be capable of performing the same combat roles, as effectively as the F35 was / is said to be capable of achieving? (without ‘additional’ risk to aircrew and aircraft).
    4) Would the USA be so kind as to lend our Royal Navy some modern aircraft, until such time as problems with the F35 are resolved? (so our new aircraft carriers actually have some decent aircraft capability to carry!).

    • Dfens

      Don’t go down the toilet with us. Hell, the UK once had one of the greatest aerospace capabilities, arguably in the world, so what’s wrong with you now? Waiting for us to save you is not the smart play right now.

    • Mitch S.

      I just can’t understand why the Brits didn’t spend the money to put catapults on their latest carrier. It was already apparent that the F35B was running into trouble and facing major delays. It’ll really suck to have a nice new carrier like the QE with nothing other than helos to fly off it.
      For the price of about 10 F35s the Brits would have had the ability to choose from a number of carrier ready alternatives.

  • throw another 50 billion at it.

  • Peter

    I’m from the UK and all I can say (again!) is I wish to God we weren’t buying this plane. And then bear in mind we are building two carriers which can ONLY carry SVTOL planes so we can’t even change our minds and go for F18’s or a navalised Typhoon.

    So, as I see it, not only are we going to end up with useless aircraft but two useless carriers as well.

    We’re nearly broke as it is but this shambles is going to help, not!

    • Tiger

      You should learned from the Phantom II buy 40+ years ago….

  • hibeam

    No problem. Create another version. The F-35POS.

  • purpleheartpark

    As a Positive note for everyone on our site, Buy Lockheed Stock….

  • Bernard

    I think Lockheed should be suspended from procuring new defense contracts for the next 10 years for this. This is a massive financial catastrophe and a national embarrassment.

  • Larry

    I don’t understand why anybody should be surprised, after all there was a competition and the cheapest bid was selected. Additionally you would have thought we would have learned from the F 22 debacle, but we didn’t. Do we never learn from our mistakes? Or are we caught in this loop to continue to make the same mistakes over and over the cheapest plane when.

  • Big-Dean

    This entire program is cracked-those who continue to support it are on crack, and we taxpayers are getting a cracked back…

  • Ede

    Forget about LM’s bottom line. Something has been missed by the previous posters. Engine blade cracks have been cleared. Go past the first paragraph. There are STRUCTURAL cracks in the engine mounts, fuselage stiffeners and bulkhead and wing flanges. Also, “The aircraft remains vulnerable to “ballistically-induced propellant fire from all combat threats,” such as missile strikes”. Problems with high fallutin’ electronics and software I can almost understand. But, CRACKING STRUCTURAL MEMBERS I just cannot understand. Name the material and we probably have a pretty well developed static and dynamic model of it. And, “ballistically-induced propellant fire from all combat threats,” such as missile strikes”. What are we supposed to do? Ask the boogie man to only shoot cotton balls at us?

  • Problem, Contracts go to lowest bidder. Sometimes paying more for a quality product is the answer. It will save in the long term of things. The F-35 program is a prime example..

  • I believe from the reports that this aircraft was released far too soon and is relying on the skill of test pilots to find all of it’s weaknesses. When the aircraft is finally released, the proposed cost would have soared. Let’s just hope that no-one is hurt/killed whilst ironing out all of these “bugs” Warm feeling,,,you’ll have to wait a while? The predicted cost “The Joint Strike Fighter program is the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort, estimated last year to cost $391 billion to develop and build 2,457 F-35 Lightning IIs.” The final cost…Probably a lot more for an aircraft that should be ready to replace so many “AGEING” ones.

  • Larry

    As a check on the piling on the F-35, you all might want to review the critics during the 70’s on the F-16 and M-1.

  • Karl

    What I have never been able to figure out is how they think this aircraft has the ability to replace the A-10 for close air support? It has neither the loitering ability or weapons payload for the job. Also if used at low altitude is highly vulnerable to AAA….It seems more of the shinny new toy mentality and “make me rich” scheme than anything else.

  • John Doe

    Excellent job of leaving the facts out! The cracks happened after 9,000 hours of Equivalent Flying, 1,000 hours after the “first life cycle.” This isn’t happening on acft that are new, and has not happened on any acft that are flying. Just another example of the press/media selectively quoting reports to make them sound worse than they are.

    • Curt

      Actually some are into the third service life, it was only the first one (F-35B bulkhead and already fixed) that happened at 9000 hours. Which all the posters could have learned if they had actually read the report as opposed to the cherry picked lines in it.

  • Sev

    I wonder if the B-2 and F-117 went through the same crap. I mean they probably did but we just never heard about it. Why is it that all of our top military research projects are reported on in the news and broadcast to our enemies? SHouldn’t this shit be classified? This is retarded. Keep it under wraps until its ready you f-tards!

  • Leo Gerald Johnson

    What kind of material is the outer skin of the fuselage made of? when you sacrifice “Strength”for “Stealth “that’s what you get.

  • oblatt2

    Other programs have had cracks but only the F-35 has bulkhead separation. Its really in a league of it’s own in terms of program failure. There isn’t a single main subsystem that functions properly even after the specs have been reduced repeatedly.

    Its well known what the solutions are and they all involve adding weight which is why Lockheed has been putting off testing as much as possible. An aircraft that wouldn’t have been able to survive in the skies over Vietnam int he 1960s is going to get heavier slower, shorter ranged and less maneuverable – even more of a dog.

  • charlie

    It’s keeping jobs in how many congressional districts?? Good luck getting rid of it.


    Some of the problems that the F-35 program is experiencing has to do with training the maintenance staff on how to handle the new systems as Lockheed’s LCS has experienced maintenance issues with their USS Freedom also; the author of this article doesn’t say after how many hours did the jet engine experienced a blade crack as there were no reports of this type of issue while the F-35B was being tested aboard the USS Wasp last year.

  • I was fortunate to know early on, and successfully predict, the F-22 and the F-35 are both a waste of money and very poorly designed. I’m with an earlier commenter who said the upgraded F/A-18 is looking better and better! The last thing ANY branch of the service needs is another single-engine aircraft.

  • BigDaddy57

    I felt from jump street this plane was a bad idea. Every time they try to make a one size fits all weapon system it doesn’t fit anything.

  • alien-1

    Billions, billions, and more billions. Just think how many more F-22 Raptors the U.S. could have fielded and even up graded to even a better stealth fighter. Also the Navy could have already fielded a better and stealthy F-18 fighter . All that’s going to really happen with the f-35 program fighter is that we will continue to spend billions until we get it right and give it to the rest of the World for a cheaper price because of the length that its taking to get right, and then they will have all that great technologies that the billions, an billions that the tax payers paid for turned around and used against us all in the name of friendship. Then we are back in the same boat trying to out design what we have already made into one of the greatest aircraft ever. only if we can keep the Chinese and all other countries from stealing for there on secret aircraft. And so on . Wake up America, we can make the f-15 , F18 , and the F-22, better than any other aircraft in the world. We need to keep our F-15 the big scary super fighter. and make it even better, the world already no’s the its one of the best aircraft ever built and its a proven platform. God bless our country

  • yusuf

    Should be consult with Mr. Crack that had been resolve the problems NATO warplanes that often fall in Germany in the 60s era.

  • Rick Zastrow

    F-35 replace A-10? Can it loiter for hrs? Does it carry 30 mm Gatling, can it fly low and slow and protect the pilot. All food for thought.

  • The comments seem to forget that every dollar spent on a contract replaces a dollar
    spent(?) on unemployment, welfare, and other benefits to potential employees, etc.
    So, yes we should manage them better and examine proposals better and demand
    performance, etc. etc. but everything costs money that goes to feed someone and
    their spouses and children. If we want better performance, eliminate the taxes paid by the employees and other beneficiaries of the contracts or eliminate the welfare
    payments to those who would not be employed if we did not have the contracts.

  • Troy Jones

    Every contractor should have his feet held to the fire. The taxpayer should get his money’s worth. There is no need to hurry a plane into production before it’s ready.
    Those who depend on the plane should be able to have confidence that it performs and is as safe as the Dash-1 describes. We already give away too much money to
    people who do nothing for it.

  • Deuterium2H

    The F-22 hypoxia issues have been solved. The platform is solid, and there is no other fifth generation fighter that can touch it in terms of unmatched lethality — which is a combination of superior performance, all-aspect ultra low observability, and advanced radar and sensor fusion. Yes, there are Networking and communication integration issues that the USAF would like to see implemented…but this is something that can be solved with upgrades. The bottom line is that Gates should have never canceled the F-22 program after such few numbers.

    Lockheed Martin hoodwinked the USAF by exaggerated, unrealistic claims that the F-35 would perform multi-missions, at greatly reduced cost. They essentially sold themselves out of the F-22 business…as LM convinced Gates and high ranking USAF generals that the F-35 would be “good enough” to perform deep penetration strikes in Denied Airspace, while also handling the F-22’s role of being an air superiority/air dominance fighter. We now know this was utter bullocks.

    The best solution, which I realize will NEVER happen, would be to re-start the F-22 production, and develop a bona fide ground attack/precision strike capability for the F-22. This could be accomplished at a fraction of the cost of the bottomless money pit that is the F-35. Or, re-start the F-22 line, keep it’s primary mission/purpose as a Denied Air Space penetration, air dominance / air superiority fighter (Tip of the Spear), and purchase 200-300 Boeing F-15 Silent Eagles as the second line fighter and precision ground strike platform…to come into the fray once the F-22 (and other assets) have neutralized enemy air defenses, and achieved air dominance.

    The Navy will be happy to buy upgraded F-18 Super Hornets, and they can continue their development studies on a next generation naval air superiority fighter…while also continuing to develop the UCLASS systems.

    I don’t have a good solution for the Marines, unfortunately, especially as they a dead set on having a STOVL capabiity for their LHA’s.

    • Tiger

      What is not solved is the primary weapon system is still faulty. The F-22 is not worth much if the ARRAAM missiles are still unreliable. The F-22 does not meet the role of the JSF. Buying more does not change that. Nor does telling the USN & USMC to make do for 30-40 years with what they have. A 20 year old update of a 30 year old design.

      • blight_

        AMRAAMs work well, it’s just that there was a change in supplier for the missile propulsion system resulting in faulty performance.

  • Konstantinos

    I see several mistakes being written that show total ignorance.

    1) Does anyone really believe that the A10 can survive in a high threat environment? We need a fast (to cover larger areas), stealth (to survive from AA) aircraft. Regarding the 30mm cannon let me remind you that the F35 carries a 25mm weapon and that it will engage tanks with stand off weapons)

    2) The STOVL version brings a whole new level of operational capabilities that we haven’t realized yet. We complain about the decreasing number of aircraft carriers; have you realized that with the SOTVL version we can bring aircraft carrier capabilities to the LHA/LHD fleet? Have you realized the shorter turn around time the STOVL version will bring during the amphibious operations?

    3) Have you realized that modern air superiority will be based on stealth capabilities and that legacy platforms are outdated in that aspect?

    • Mick

      What wars have you been fighting? Seems like for the last twenty-some odd years we’ve been engaged with middle eastern wars. The days of mig-alley are over! WE NEED warplanes that can fight the fight we’re in instead of some maybe war against a perhaps enemy. Mr. K is wrong on all counts with his plagiarized comments!

  • Konstantinos

    If you ask me, I believe that the Air Force should buy the STOVL variant and develop a concept of FOB bases that will have a short runway for the landing of C130 or C17s. The base will be deployed for a short period of time (hours to days) just to refuel and rearm the operating F35s near the target area.

    No need for massive air refueling operations. Much shorter turn around times that will decrease the number of airplanes needed to execute the mission.

    The fuel will be stored in inflatable tanks. The weapons will be kept inside the cargo airplanes. If the situation gets hot, the cargo airplanes take off, the fuel is ignited and in a few minutes the base is abandoned and everyone safe in the air.

  • Please excuse my naivete, but does this mean the A-10 might continue in service a bit longer? I love that plane and the thought of them being chopped up is just sad.

  • Robert

    The President should assign Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi. To over see the development and production of the F-35. They did such a great job getting Obama care passed. They read every page of the bill. To protect the interest of the American people. We need more people like them in Congress to serve the best interests of the people.

  • BlackOwl18E

    I can’t believe I missed this…

  • Fano

    DOD out of control…whats new….billions of dollars wasted….but not to worry they will get it back from us the retiree’s.

  • M1mech

    This aircraft and I use aircraft loosely, has be a flop from the beginning the first one to Edwards AFB was delayed 6 months because the engine fan blade broke and shredded the front of the plane in Texas. Last I heard can’t do more than Mach 1.3 without vibrations starting. They call this the first supersonic VSTOL, NOT TRUE, the AV8 has a supersonic engine for it and the Brits had a few but liked the slower more agile non-supersonic. Navy and Marines were forced to take this piece of junk. Why would the Navy want a single engine aircraft, they stated after A6 Shyhawk they were only getting twin engine so the aircraft would have better chance getting back to carrier if engine problem. OOPs engine problem in F35C going down no chance to limp back to carrier only 1 engine aviator in drink and billion dollar aircraft gone. Yea every aviators dream. Then even if it gets back to the carrier they still have not fixed the arresting hooks little problem of ripping off the aircraft in testing also. Air Force don’t care they are always over land.

  • Star Wars Lucas should have received contract, Air Force dreams of the millennium fighters. Lockheed depends on military cost overruns, should be a gov’t agency.

  • Robert

    No matter what the problem is. No corrections will be made until the members of congress are voted out of office who are connected to the special interests. Who have corrupted many levels of our government. Veterans vote these members out of office.

  • mitchRAvet

    Need to do maintenance and stealth on existing technologies as the IAF does. In ancient history during the 73 war the arabs had high tech soviet Jets.The IAF did not..they simply mounted rearview mirrors on them and DEFEATED the enemy!!! Assess,adapt,overcome,win!!

  • Shawn A, Simmons

    F-35 or F-22?

  • Doug

    I was never crazy about this jsf due to way better planes out there in operation right now that only need upgrades to keep up the pace. I don’t personally like the f22 either due to all the problems but at least they are getting somewhere with those due to being very minor problems even though they have cost a couple of lives. this thing is like money being poured down a very deep hole and getting nothing in return. currently the suhkoy mig 29 could whip it in any kind of manuvering capabilities. way past time to pull the plug on this one and start fresh with a different model and different materials.

  • AJ West

    This is what happens when the acquisition corps decides they know more that the late Col. John R. Boyd, USAF (Ret.) about designing and building fighter aircraft and instead insist on building multi-mission tactical aircraft, that the world can acquire and fly to their little heart’s content for a pittance. Folks not familiar with his life’s contribution and adoption by the USMC are invited to read his biography by Robert Coram.

  • x.s.charm

    Sounds like the Chinese been operating their own little STUXNETs over at Lockheed. Karma’s a

  • falconbrother

    You know, if this wasn’t national security it would be funny. Wasn’t the F-35 supposed to be a cost saver????

  • brad

    I say modify all pilot based F-35s and turn them into remotely piloted fighters with no onboard crew. This will bring an incredible weight savings, probably solve any number of structural issues, increase ordinance loads, range and maneuverability.

    Let’s dump manned fighters and start moving in the direction all this is going to take us in the event…remotely piloted fighter aircraft. It’ll cost less ultimately and save pilot lives.


    I remember when the F-100 Super Sabre couldn’t get into flight reliably and several crashed, killing the pilots. The C-17 cracked main ring frames at the landing gear when it first tried landing exercises. The first F-14A flight test jet crashed while on approach and the test pilots ejected. The list goes on and on. The F-35 program was pushed to be completed in half the time of the F-22. That didn’t work. The F-22 program was pushed to be completed in half the time of the F-15. That didn’t work. Get the point? Airplanes should be developed to engineering time, not scheduling time. Not someone idea in management as to what makes a good schedule. Pushing three variants out the door when each config is so different is fool hardy. And finally – the X-32 that was flown in competition is not the airplane Boeing proposed to build. The 2 tail surfaces were going to be changed to 4 tail surfaces. Boeing proposed a paper airplane that nearly had its engine burn through its casing. Not a good way to start, huh?

  • Mike

    And I bet the AF will continue to pour money into Lockheed Martin to fix it versus making LM pay for the ineffective aircraft.

  • CardinalII

    Shades of F-111A & B modeis! The cost overruns were justified back then because McNamara insisted that the Navy and Air Force have “common” aircraft.

    Lockeed Martin has had a TERRIBLE track reord when it comes to militay contracts. Invariably, any of their programs have ASTONOMICAL cost overuns.


    Just when we figured out how to build the better airship, the Raptor, we shut down production. What is wrong with the Brass?

  • big j

    the dam tea party is funding the f35 big j

  • Alright. Coming to the conclusion that all military procurement should be drastically curtailed until the Pentagon house is cleaned. Hagel is correct systemic ethics failures at all levels are a major military challenge

  • Andy

    America has become so corrupt is just unbelievable.

    This isn’t an airplane, it’s a wealth redistribution program.

    And in the end, we won’t have air superiority anymore.

  • Norm

    Once a contractor fails to produce what we paid for, they should be unable to bid on contracts for an extended period of time, ten years or so. No government contracts at all. After all we are their biggest buyer.

  • secone

    Find out which politicians own the majority of Lockheed stock and you will find the reasons for delay.

  • I say again, you put all your eggs in one basket and when that basket falls..all you got left is to scramble…sure, it keeps some/most costs down but to what end? what happens when you have to ground the plane during a skirmish/police action/war? all your missions are grounded…then you scramble to get other programs up or old programs back up and running…flailing all the way!! once we let Congress dictate (by way of $$) what the military should be, we lost how we should protect the country when Congress has no longer any use for HISTORY!

  • Thanks for the upsetting news. Meantime here you can have a look at some great F-35 photos:

  • Vers

    The F-35 Cracks in Tests and isn’t reliable? Tell us something we don’t know already.

    Neither the F-22 nor the F-35 will work in a real war against a competent foe. Too bad there is nothing we can do about it. Not enough competent engineers and scientists.

    We can send our religious fanatics (Christians and Catholics) around the world and advocate a freeze on weapon development though.

  • Thomas

    How many schools could we have built for $350+ billion?

  • mark

    Performance targets/requirements have been downgraded, the radar doesn’t work (it can’t acquire and track targets), distributed aperture system doesn’t work, the helmet mounted display is messed up beyond hope (lag, swimming images, useless night performance), software is too complex to have it meet expectations even in the most optimistic scenarios, etc. Russians and Chinese have already developed radars and tactics to get around stealth. What about the huge infra red signature? Net-centric performance of the plane will be eliminated by the opponents at the very beginning of any engagement (consider the Iranians tapping into the UAV some time ago). If the aerodynamic performance is then added in, the F 35 is a flying coffin.

  • Tomcat_Rider

    Hmph the damn F-4 did better than this lol

  • John

    Australia to buy additional 58 Texan-built F-35 jets The F-35 jets will replace the retiring FA-18 Hornets which will have been in service for three decades.
    That will help lockeeds bottom line.
    last time Australia bought a heap of plane helis there where lemons looks like Australia is the dumping ground for defunct technology they love to buy old tech at high prices.

  • 9er

    this jet is an over priced turd.