06 August 2016

Combat Ready My Ass

The US Air Force has declared that its first squadron of F-35s is combat ready:
The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday declared an initial squadron of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35A fighter jets ready for combat, marking a major milestone for a program that has faced cost overruns and delays.


"The U.S. Air Force decision to make the 15 F-35As ... combat ready sends a simple and powerful message to America's friends and foes alike - the F-35 can do its mission," the program's chief, Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, said in a statement.
Not so much:
Dan Grazier, a fellow of the Project On Government Oversight, said, however, "This is nothing but a public relations stunt." He added that it would not be possible to know if the F-35 jets were ready for combat until after initial operational testing.
That's putting it mildly.

As the folks at The Register note. "It's got dodgy radar, relies on an insecure database, boasts a buggy operating system, and a laser targeting system that can't be used for training in the UK, but the United States Air Force is satisfied that the F-35A fighter is ready for combat."

Also: its ejection seat can injure smaller (less than 165 lb) pilots, and its cannon cannot be fired.

This is a statement that is intended for the consumption of the Pentagon and Congress, and not reflective of the maturity of the program.


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