F-35 May Never Be Ready for Combat

The F-35’s cannon door causes the plane to pull to one side, reducing the accuracy of the gun. (Photo by http://www.jsf.mil)

 

Testing Report Contradicts Air Force Leadership’s Rosy Pronouncements

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews. Last month the Air Force declared its variant “ready for combat,” and most press reports lauded this as a signal that the program had turned a corner. But a memo issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official, based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data, showed that the Air Force’s declaration was wildly premature.

Dr. Michael Gilmore’s latest memorandum is damning. The F-35 program has derailed to the point where it “is actually not on a path toward success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion.” The 16-page memo, first reported by Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg and then by others, details just how troubled this program is: years behind schedule and failing to deliver even the most basic capabilities taxpayers, and the men and women who will entrust their lives to it, have been told to expect.

The Pentagon’s top testing office warns that the F-35 is in no way ready for combat since it is “not effective and not suitable across the required mission areas and against currently fielded threats.” (Emphasis added) As it stands now, the F-35 would need to run away from combat and have other planes come to its rescue, since it “will need support to locate and avoid modern threats, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft due to outstanding performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two bombs and two air-to-air missiles).” In several instances, the memo rated the F-35A less capable than the aircraft we already have. Continue reading

The F-35’s Terrifying Bug List

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AP / RICK BOWMER

 

The Pentagon’s top testing official has weighed and measured the F-35 and found it wanting.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the most expensive military program in the world, is even more broken than previously thought. The jet can’t tell old parts from new ones, randomly prevents user logins, and trying to eject out of it will likely result in serious neck injury and maybe death. A Pentagon office is warning that the plane is being rushed into service. Continue reading

Report: F-35 failed ‘real-world operational’ tests for deployment

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An F-35B Lightning II conducts vertical takeoff flight operations aboard the USS Wasp in May. /U.S. Navy Photo/Spc. William Tonacchio

 

Tests of the F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter jet in May revealed serious operational deficiencies, according to a Pentagon report.

In another major setback for the $400 billion Joint Strike Fighter project, the report said that the F-35s launched from a U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault ship were unreliable and failed to carry any weapons. Continue reading