The 5th generation fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning II has faced many technical issues and cost overruns in the last one and half decade since the times Lockheed Martin first secured its production contract. It seems that difficult times are over for the company. Recently, the US Air Force (USAF) has declared that the F-35A (the version with conventional takeoff capability) is officially ready for combat.
The 34th Fighter Squadron will be the first one to get planes at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base and would be able to deploy it on real-world missions if necessary.
The Wall Street Journal’s Jon Ostrower notes that it won’t really be capable until “at least” October this year. The fighter’s current software stops it from making full use of its operational capabilities, for example: launching certain weapons.
The F-35 comes in three major types, to be used by different military branches. The Marine Corps said its F-35 model (the short/vertical takeoff-capable F-35B) was ready in July 2015. However, it was found glitchy and missing key functionality at that point. Similarly, the Navy’s carrier-friendly F-35C isn’t active either. Therefore, it won’t be wrong to say that it could be a long journey while before the Lightning II is groomed enough that it becomes mainstay for the USAF.
Source: Defense News