A $400 Billion F-35 Is A Problem Child

It would not be wrong to say if we call the F-35 as the most tormented program as the Joint Strike Fighter continues to be plagued to an extent that it is unable to pass the most basic requirements needed to fly in the combat arena regardless of soaring $ 170 billion over budget.

The F-35 remains the most expensive program in the Pentagon’s history. So far, $ 400 billion have been consumed and the Pentagon is counting. The F-35 is supposed to stand out of competition with its high-tech computer aided systems and capabilities which enable it to detect enemy aircraft at warp speed. But, major design flaws and test failures have put the whole program under scrutiny. The audit teams keep on questioning whether the plane would ever be able to get off the ground despite the fact that how much money is added into the program to address teething issues.

During last year, related military officials blamed contracts for all of the mistakes and failures. As result of that contractors claimed they had corrected the issues and that there wouldn’t be more costly problems down the road.

F-35 With STOL Capability

F-35 With STOL Capability

During an interview on 60 Minutes, Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, who is in charge of the program, said, “Long gone is the time when we will continue to pay for mistake after mistake after mistake. Lockheed Martin doesn’t get paid their profit unless each and every airplane meets each station on time with the right quality.”

Though, a new progress report from the Defense Department casts serious doubts on the progress of the program and still doubts its flawless completion.

The DOD’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation cites everything from computer system malfunctions to flaws with its basic design—it even found that the jet is vulnerable to engine fires because of the way it’s built.

A separate report from Military.com disclosed another embarrassing issue with the jet that suggests it won’t take off on time.

The “precision-guided Small Diameter Bomb II doesn’t even fit on the Marine’s version of the jet,” according to Military.com. On top of that, the software needed to operate the top close-air support bomb won’t even be operational until 2022, inspectors said.

Furthermore, the Defense Department’s report also suggested that the program’s office isn’t accurately recording the jet’s problems.

“Not all failures are counted in the calculation of mean flight hours between reliability events, but all flight hours are counted, and hence component and aircraft reliability are reported higher than if all of the failures were counted,” the report said.

The Project on Government Accountability summed up the report in an independent analysis, concluding that the program isn’t realistically going to meet its goal of being operational for the Marines by this summer.

“The F-35 is years away from being ready for initial operational capability. To send this airplane on a combat deployment, or to declare it ready to be sent, as early as the Marines’ 2015 or the Air Force’s 2016 IOC (initial operational clearance) dates, is a politically driven and irresponsible mistake. DOT&E’s report shows that the current plans for the F-35A and B should be rejected as unrealistic. Without meaningful oversight from the Department of Defense or Congress, however, these IOC declarations will go unchallenged,” POGO said on its website.

While more problems with the program are identified, the costs keep climbing.

In 2014 alone, the JSF was $4 billion over budget, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. At the same time, the program was scaled back to include fewer jets. The GAO noted the Pentagon was spending more for less.

Ref: Yahoo News

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