Software Delays Could Slow F-35B Delivery

F-35BThe initial operating capability date for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter short-take-off-and-landing variant may be delayed by several months due to software problems, Marine Corps leaders told lawmakers at a Senate budget hearing April 2.

“We are tentatively behind schedule. The IOC is forecasted for July 2015. We have every expectation that could be delayed by several months. It will continue to be conditions based,” Gen. John Paxton, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps told the Senate Subcommittee on Seapower.

The software issues were delineated in a March 24 Government Accountability Office report on the Joint Strike Fighter which found that delays in flight testing of critical software could stall delivery of F-35 capabilities.

“Challenges in development and testing of mission systems software continued through 2013, due largely to delays in software delivery, limited capability in the software when delivered, and the need to fix problems and re-test multiple software version,” the report states.

Mission systems testing verifies that the software-intensive systems that provide critical warfighting capabilities function properly, the report says. The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation predicts delivery of warfighting capabilities could be delayed by as much as 13 months, according to the report.

In addition, the report says delays could increase the already significant concurrency between testing and aircraft procurement and result in additional cost growth.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., questioned Corps leaders about the report, asking if the software problems could have a lasting impact on the Joint Strike Fighter program.

“The GAO has been consistently correct on the problems with the F-35 they have not been wrong a single time. Do you think these software challenges could impact the F-35’s ability to be fully combat ready ?”

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, Command General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told McCain that the Corps would not declare IOC until the software is developed to meet the requirement.

The JSF program developmental strategy is, in part, grounded upon a series of incremental software “drops” — each one adding new capability to the platform. In total, there are more than 10 billion individual lines of code for the system, broken down into increments and “blocks,” F-35 program office officials explain.

Software Block 2B, while still short of the full final 3F software configuration, can provide data link capabilities and early fused sensor integration, program officials have said.

Block 2B you can provide basic close air support and fire an AMRAAM [Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile], JDAM [Joint Direct Attack Munition] or GBU 12 [laser-guided aerial bomb], JSF program officials said.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • Lance

    That piece of junk delayed…. again…. Im shocked shocked!!!

  • Peter

    Just one question. How many F-18’s or Eurofighters (OK, may not be your choice but they’re flying and working!) could the cost of this dragged out project have bought?

  • Big-Dean

    Hey Lockhead
    how’s that outsourced software development to India (but Chinese owned) working out for you.
    I hear that they promise to not leak any more code to their Chinese masters.
    I also hear that they promise to reduce coding errors to only a single error for every 5 lines of code
    I also hear that they promise that the code will compile by the year 2026
    Lastly, I hear that they promise to not change any more of the specs and to stop saying “yes sir, yes sir” all of the time

    • DDL

      Perhaps LM should increase the pay rate for those Indians programmers.

      Anyway, it would be a miracle if the software could be delivered in full (not including upgrades) within 10 years. Right now the plane is useless without adequate target acquisition and firing control software, and I’m not even counting the various mechanical and electronic problems currently plaguing the F-35.

    • meandyou

      actually its a english firm

    • themmeyou

      oh and yes is no is Hindi

    • guest

      Yeah, I was a developer in San Diego and these greedy money grubbing defense contractors didn’t want to pay us Americans a living wage in San Diego, they want all profit for their stock price. No wonder the drones are getting taken by Iran.

  • hibeam

    I hear the Chinese code is much further along. Try a reverse hack attack.

  • Delta

    Maybe they should consider outsourcing to whoever knows how to do this.
    And did it 20 years ago.
    And still does it.
    Just sayin’…

  • bud

    its not all lockheed’s fault when you have congress and senate all wanting a piece of the manufacturing pork barrel. I’m sure it would’ve gone a lot more smoother if they didn’t have to buy nuts in arizona and bolts in maine. just sayn’

    • oblatt22

      Nonsense its Lockheed’s idea to corrupt the procurement process.

  • larrieer


    • Daniel George


  • tee

    The ” Junk Strike Fighter ” the program that just keeps on running, no matter how much it cost the taxpayers and how bad it is. No matter how many times they have to lower the requirements so it can just barely pass.

    • William_C1

      You mean the one time? Two if you could a 50 foot increase in short takeoff distance requirements for a loaded F-35B, although at last it was reported on it required less than half of that extra margin?

  • Steve B.

    Popcorn is in the microwave…..

  • Tiger

    Software by the same guys who did

    • uktous

      canadian / english, whats the difference

  • Richard Dietzen MD

    The reason we needed bad healthcare reform to throw granny under the bus is that the imperial wars are so expensive, and we are so broke. Of course, anyone that afford $2millon for a congressman or $6 million for a senator sets the agenda. That would be the insurance, health care and defense industries, not the public or active military.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    Repeated relaxations of the aerodynamic requirements for the F-35 are public knowledge. I wonder if the requirements for the aircraft’s software systems are similarly being relaxed, out of public view? As for a delay of “several months, based on program history, I translate that as “another year, if we’re lucky.”

  • hawounce

    Im from maine and we build better fighters in the garage out back in one winter drinking beer and big ol bottles of black eye. dont you evah evah evah think maine cant make nuts and bolts, i defficate nuts and bolts way beyond the industry standards. if maine was given billions to build a fighter we would git er done. We would hire anonomous to write code, hire a vietcong,iraqi,and a lage older african american to develope warfighting capabilities. It would be capable off sitting i hole for months till it flys out of the bushes as silent as a mouse breaking wind, slitting your jugular.All while purchasing the land next to yours, just
    so it can call NSA and have your family set to abu ghraib for making shoe bombs with “supossed” known al qaeda affiliates, followed with a beating from ritas huge 1960’s purple purse containing three items, a pack of kools with 3 hand rolled cigarettes squished inside with a crumbled up cellophane spilling spilling scrids rita’s gra4dson left after using a stolen beer can to smoke the sour diesel med marijuana he needs for the hurniatediscd caused by April’s teloscopic baton for looking similar to the mugger in a news stories she watched at age 6. Distriributed to all the soccer moms via weapons-universe April started,using time between eric’s pianno lesson and sally’s ballet recital. Years later when joe, the creepy 3rd cousin. last item in the 1960’s large purple puse is a coppy of the old testimate. Years later creepy 3rd cousin joe, exhiled from the family because eric and sally frequently woke up to joe standing guard with his knock off samurai sword, because the sally and eriks elf on the shelf told him krampus was lives in the closet. After waiting 30min for the internet to buffer the video of the fighter jet built in maine. Joe said “i keep telling the elf on the shelf to hire a mainer to take care of crampus” joe realized the mainers we able to build a fighter jet Without missles, that was able to stalk prey, use americas fear of shoe bombs, because its scary to have your face on a deck of cards. finally it was clear the older black womans program had the jet to find childhood fear of the target. the jet found found a large pupurple 1960s pocket book, it found a the diary the victim wrote about being locked in a large purple 1960s pocket book. The jet thengot a copy of the old testimate to convert radical muslums. without the three hand roled cigarettes and scids of sour diesel. the bums would have left him in the ally

  • dubweiser101

    Yet another delay… why am I not surprised?!

    Cut funding for the F-35 in half or get the other member countries to pay their fair share to make up the difference. I’m looking at you Israel…

    Anyway the savings could be put into into restarting the F/B-22 project now that the F-22A kinks have been worked out.

  • Charles James Haas

    OK guys. You are seriously off base here. Looks, the South Koreans just ponied up for the F-35 over the Silent Eagle and the Eurofighter. Now, besides the recently killed F-22, there are no other fighters in production better than ththe Silent Eagle (not actually in production) and the Eurofighter. I am not actually aware of a country that has rejected the F-35 when offered it. (I know that some have lowered their buys, but none has backed out.) Then consider that all the three main countries not buying the F-35 are all building stealth aircraft (Russian and India building the T-50, and China building the J-20 and J-31 - which will be a poor copy of the F-35). None of these planes comes close to the software capabilities of the F-35.

  • Vsshooter

    Must be the same techies that wrote the code for Obamacare!

  • Hitch Hiker

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

  • BlackOwl18E

    Someway some how this program is going to end, and when it does it will go down in history books as one of the biggest cluster****s ever made.

  • SMSgt Mac

    Heh. I’ve let the fish run but it’s time to reel them in.
    This ‘article’ is so poorly written, its almost as if it were designer troll food for the lesser habitués of DT. Occam’s Razor suggests it’s just incompetence, but the ‘guy’ that wrote it should know better. Ostensibly, he’s been a ‘defense’ correspondent for years - but you can’t tell it from the article. The author needs to read Colin Clark about Mods being the IOC driver now. All the news,,,,last week. the first thing that should give a reader pause is the ‘billions’ of lines of total code?
    Generals at the top rarely have the latest information in their hands when they get called up on the hill, but I suspect the testimony was clearer than the article. Note that nothing in the article supports the headline without the reader assuming the delays are now caused by software delays. The author repeats old data in a report that predates the testimony.
    Current data? Per LM: “As of March 2014, more than 88 percent of the required F-35 software is currently flying. Approximately 97 percent of the required software has been coded. This equates to about 200,000 lines of code that remain to be written.”
    Prove LM’s lying or y’all better start developing some coping skills.

  • Jim

    Such envy! Deep in their hearts, every one of these negative commenters wish they could fly or work on the F-35 program.

  • Mark

    Change The Missle Design Should Address Some Of The Weight Issues Of All Of The Fighters’ Design For Starters, Might Even Permit More Load Of Missles And Still Address Some Of The Weight Malformaties. Take The Rest From The Engine And Internal Hardwares (3-D Printing, A Burnless Fiberglass Engine???) And Put The Necessary Into Fighter Frame… OPTIMISTIC About Software EFFICIENCY And EFFEFCTIVENESS In PRINCIPLE.

  • Mark

    2. So, If / As You Do The Software And Internal Weight Capacities Right, LOGICA, Light Weight, Burnless, Conductable Materials, Then The External Frame Will Be The Subjective To The Terrain If I May, In Which, The F-35, etc As Well, As INNOVATIVE Versions Of Many Of Your Favorite Fighters Can Be Brought Back To Perform Their Unique (Terrain) Tasks… Because When It’s All Said And Done, Terrain Should Be The Only Uniqueness That These Fighters Abilities Differ At.

    1. Change The Missle Design Should Address Some Of The Weight Issues Of All Of The Fighters’ Design For Starters, Might Even Permit More Load Of Missles And Still Address Some Of The Weight Malformaties. Take The Rest From The Engine And Internal Hardwares (3-D Printing, A Burnless Fiberglass Engine???) And Put The Necessary Into Fighter Frame… OPTIMISTIC About Software EFFICIENCY And EFFEFCTIVENESS In PRINCIPLE.

    • Richard Dietzen

      There’s a good nugget. I’m no expert, but hasn’t the bomb bay been designed around existing missile technology? Missile design should eventually become complementary to the Gen 5 platform.

  • Arthur Moss

    One of the big problems with the F-35 is how much “Very New” Equipment and weapons are required to work together. It has become the “Fighter Pilots Dream”. Total integration of all the electronics is a big challange.

  • @E_L_P

    The F-35 is only a “fifth-generation-fighter” when flying on a PowerPoint slide.

  • parsecwalker

    While there are software issues that may delay the operational timeline for the F-35; the US DoD has no choice except to continue buying the F-35 because of the time required to build the aircraft. The software is modular in design which means the F-35 will be capable of doing some things and will need to wait until the rest of the code is perfected; but the DoD knew this about the jet prior to picking it.

  • Maybell

    Hey there just wanted to give yoou a qquick heads up annd let
    you know a few of tthe pictures aren’t loadimg properly.
    I’m not surfe why but I think its a linking
    issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.