F-35 Still Dogged With ‘Deficiencies’: Pentagon Report

The first two operational F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrive at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 2, 2015. (Photo by Alex R. Lloyd/US Air Force)The first two operational F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrive at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 2, 2015. (Photo by Alex R. Lloyd/US Air Force)

The U.S. military’s futuristic F-35 fighter jet remains dogged by dangerous problems sure to further complicate what is already the most expensive weapons project in history, a Pentagon report says.

The plane, which boasts a version that can take off and land vertically, is supposed to form the backbone of the military’s future fighter fleet, ensuring U.S. dominance in the skies for years to come with radar-evading technology.

The military has already taken delivery of dozens of the planes, but new batches continue to be refined and tested.

In the latest blow to the program, engineers uncovered a slew of flaws during extensive testing of the newest versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon report found, adding to a litany of issues including software bugs, technical glitches and cost overruns.

Read the rest of the story at Military.com.

  • NathanS

    It’s a testing program, and you only test something to uncover problems, so it’s only sensationalist to suggest otherwise. During testing of other planes, such as the F/A-18 whole wing or tail sections required a redesign. These is a large budget for testing, and there hasn’t been an additional dime asked from congress or allied counties in a number of years for the F-35, and I can’t see that changing.

    There are no F-35 pilots under 136lbs, although a fix is under way anyway. There’s always a risk on ejection… I know of one F-16 pilot who received a broken neck after ejection, and there have been numerous deaths over the years. It’s inherently dangerous, although you normally only eject in situations of imminent death. It’s about minimizing these risks if possible.

    Software remains the biggest risk, although last year it was claimed by the same report the 2B software would be late (although it wasn’t). The JPO claim the risk window is only 4 months on the 3i software the air force wants to IOC with by the years end. So the Pentagon report is sensationalized in this regard.

    • NathanS

      The A-10 is a fine aircraft, but only one of a number of assets used for CAS today. I would argue the funding which modernizes and greatly enhances the survivability of the AC-130 gun-ship is more of a nail in the coffin for the A-10 than anything else. The AC-130 is capable of loitering for far longer, and can pack far more fire-power than any A-10 can ever hope to. Not to mention upgrades to the venerable B-52 (and other bombers) have meant they are now extensively used on CAS missions, and again can loiter for far longer, and with more munitions to bear. Remember, CAS has nothing to do with the altitude of the aircraft; but rather the ability to prosecute an enemy in close proximity to friendlies. And not even the A-10 flies low and slow anymore now that we have munitions that can more accurately target the enemies than ever before. There has also been a definite trend in using drones for CAS, which are ever increasingly common on the battlefield, can stay aloft for up to a day at a time. And that’s not to mention other assets (including rotary aircraft), like the AH-64 Apache, which are also commonly used for CAS.

      In many respects, we’re lucky that AK-47’s is all that ISIS can bring to bear against our CAS aircraft, since if they had even a rudimentary SAM capability, the A-10 (and many others of these aircraft) cannot operate. And it’s in these situations that the F-35 will be valuable as a CAS asset.

  • F35 is a waste

    the only thing this place is evading is Congressional scrutiny.

    • PolicyWonk

      This is due to the fact that LockMart’s subcontractors are distributed across the lower 48. Hence - you’ll have a hard time finding a congressman willing to torpedo jobs in his/her district. Even, seemingly, at the expense of national security, or the taxpayer getting reamed.

  • tom english

    The real reason is that the generals and admirals need jobs after they retire and Lockheed will pay them plenty! We do not need this plane nor do we need Ford class aircraft carriers. Cut these two items out of the budget and we will save a ton of money. Our wars are with insurgents such as ISIS and Al Queda. Build more A-10’s! That plane scares the crap out of them!

  • Barry Mawson

    It’s not up to me but could those that have programs complete them as a matter of Pride and Honor and not but something on line that is not ready.

  • MikeGuy

    Over the years these jets will be altered to accommodate anti gravitic electromagnetic systems that will make them much more capable than they are now - with new configurations these jets will really be able to hover and maneuver within urban combat environments

  • citanon

    The F35 is terrible. It is the only fighter aircraft with deficiencies. No other fighter has deficiencies now or at any time in its history every. Take our legacy fighters like the F-16, the Harrier and especially the Super Hornet. They can all go any where, fight anywhere, shoot down any enemy, evade any missile, fly to the edge of space and take selfies in Putin’s back yard on a single tank of e85 corn ethanol, with perfume and fairy dust coming out the tail pipe. F35 needs to be scrapped. We need the sixth gen Grippen or maybe Pierre Sprey can seance John Boyd from the great beyond and make something reasonable, you know, like without those heavy radars and all that other fancy schmancy crap.

    • blight_

      Won’t be long before Boydians come out favoring railgun (or laser) dogfighters over missiles. High maneuverability to dodge enemy missiles while high speed railguns and lasers plink them at all ranges, from BVR to sneeze range.

    • Lon Williams

      Sir you are an idiot and obviously know nothing about aircraft design and testing. Every, and I mean every aircraft that rolls out has had and will have problems! Those are fleshed in TESTING. The AF did not want the F-16 in the beginning, the Hornet had complete redesign on tail surfaces among many other issues and the Harrier is so slow it cannot get out of its own way. In addition the Harrier is the only jet that has to have an engine change after so many flight hours which equals dollars!

      • Dr. Horrible

        Poe’s Law.

      • citanon

        Sir, I do know almost nothing about aircraft design and testing, but you may have to pick up some pointers on identifying sarcasm.

      • LPF

        All jets have to have an engine change after a specified amount of hours. Thats the most inane comment I have ever seen on this site. The Harrier may not be the fastest , but then its does not need 1000 feet of highly vulnerable runway to take off!

        And it seemed to do good enough in the falklands!

        • blight_

          Pretty sure the Harrier’s payload in vertical takeoff is severely compromised. If you want vertical takeoff, helicopters are your friend.

  • SilencedoGood

    As we already know war is big business and procurement is to. We have put to much tech in some of the new systems. Some of the programs need to be killed. Many older aircraft should be retired. DOD is not about saving money. Some of it is about legacy for senior member to gloat over when they retire. Smarter not harder works to.

  • PolicyWonk

    The F-35 remains a symbol of what happens when a nation allows its acquisition system run amok. Many years behind schedule, and far above budget, the F-35 remains unable to meet (or even get close to) its several-times-reduced mission profile(s). The complexity of the F-35 makes me wonder it’ll be obsolete by the time its really deemed complete.

  • superraptor

    The F-22 production line can be restarted, all doable with money and will.
    Or NOC could be asked to quickly build a prototype of a larger long-range F-23 followed by production within a 24 months period. There are alternatives to the F-35. Why not build a Mach 3 F-15?

  • spartan

    You are going to love this story:

    Air Force general fainted at briefing on the F-35.