27 January 2018

More Mistake Jet Follies

It's supposed to dominate the skies, it's supposed to provide close air support to the troops on the ground, and it's supposed to have unparalleled reliability and availability.

Not so much:


Efforts to improve the reliability of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 are “stagnant,” undercut by problems such as aircraft sitting idle over the last year awaiting spare parts from the contractor, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The availability of the fighter jet for missions when needed -- a key metric -- remains “around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of aircraft,” Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s new director of operational testing, said in an annual report delivered Tuesday to senior Pentagon leaders and congressional committees.

The F-35 section, obtained by Bloomberg News, outlined the status of the costliest U.S. weapons system as it’s scheduled to end its 16-year-old development phase this year. Starting in September, the program is supposed to proceed to intense combat testing that’s likely to take a year, an exercise that’s at least 12 months late already. Combat testing is necessary before the plane is approved for full-rate production -- the most profitable phase for Lockheed.

Pentagon officials including Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and chief weapons buyer Ellen Lord have highlighted the need to reduce the F-35’s $406.5 billion projected acquisition cost and its estimated $1.2 trillion price tag for long-term operations and support through 2070. Still, the Defense Department is moving to accelerate contracting and production for the fighter despite the persistence of technical and reliability issues disclosed in the current phase of development testing.
16 years in development, and it still does not work.

This has all gotten so dysfunctional that I'm waiting for a horse to be appointed to the Senate.

2 comments :

marku said...

A horse would be more ethical than most senators.

Matthew Saroff said...

More sensible too.

Horse sense anyone.

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