When the Joint Strike Fighter team told Guy Norris about the jet's first run to its Mach 1.6 design speed, a couple of minor facts slipped their minds. Nobody remembered that the jet had landed (from either that sortie or another run to Mach 1.6) with "peeling and bubbling" of coatings on the horizontal tails and damage to engine thermal panels. Or that the entire test force was subsequently limited to Mach 1.0.(emphasis mine)
So, they took the aircraft to its design speed, and it melted.
In addition to this, we have (to name a few):
- The helmet mounted display that gives the pilot 360° visibility, and "makes maneuverability irrelevant," does not work, and has been replaced by a less capable system.
- The emergency fuel dump system, is likely to cause flammable accumulations of fuel next to the integrated power package (IPP) exhaust.
- The IPP itself is unreliable, and has been failing and throwing out bits that have punctured fuel tanks.
- The arrester hook for the naval version is improperly located, and simply won't work, requiring a relocation, and a major structural redesign.
- Excessive buffeting, causing control as well as fatigue issues.
So testing became validation, and every test is supposed to be a success, and this (erroneous) assumption allowed to proceed and build of systems in parallel, even though a failure of one system could (and has) cause a disastrous cascade of delays.