F-35 fighter program delayed due to software shortcoming
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
AFP photoA F-35 stealth fighter jet program that involves the United States, Turkey and others will be delayed for one year due to several technical shortfalls, including problems with radar software, a Pentagon tester said March 23.
“My estimate is the program won’t be ready to begin IOT&E [Initial Operational Test and Evaluation] until mid-2018 at the earliest,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, told the House Armed Services Committee.
More than 300 planes would have been produced by the end of the 2017 fiscal year if the testing that is now due had started on time, according to Gilmore.
The senior official told lawmakers that “mission system stability including the radar” is still a significant problem, as is the fusion of information from sensors on the same aircraft or among different aircraft.
“There are shortfalls in electronic warfare, electronic attack, shortfalls in the performance of distributed aperture system and other issues that are classified,” he added.
The F-35 Lightning II, with its fifth-generation advanced stealth and firepower technology, is one of the costliest military projects of the U.S. Defense Department, alongside 12 partner countries including Turkey, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy, South Korea, Canada, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Japan.
The projected cost is about $380 billion, according to Michael Sullivan, director of acquisition and sourcing management issues at the Governmental Accountability Office, who spoke at the same panel.
Partner countries will share the costs proportionate to their aircraft order.