DOD tester’s report: F-35 is continue to a lemon

A jet fighter its on a runway behind low metal fencing.
Enlarge / A US Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighter is displayed all through the 53rd Intercontinental Paris Air Display previous 12 months in its natural condition: on the floor. A lousy “mission able” price plagues the F-35, as nicely as cybersecurity vulnerabilities and a gun that would not shoot straight, in accordance to an approaching Pentagon report.

The latest report on the progress of the US Protection Department’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is thanks out before long from the Business office of the Secretary of Defense’s director for operational exam and evaluation (DOT&E), Robert Behler.

Last year’s report was complete of poor information. And dependent on Bloomberg Government’s Tony Capaccio’s early accessibility to the new report, we know a great deal of that terrible information is even now bad news. In reality, the only real excellent news is that there are no new significant flaws in the $428 billion aircraft program documented by Behler’s group.

But the bad is nevertheless negative. For starters, the Air Power version of the F-35 are not able to hit what it shoots its gun at.

There are a whole of 13 Category 1 “have to correct” difficulties nevertheless unresolved with the F-35 that stand among the system and final manufacturing. And even as the prolonged checklist of considerably less significant issues is addressed, new ones keep popping up. “While the program workplace is performing to take care of deficiencies,” Behler wrote in the report seen by Bloomberg, “new discoveries are however getting built, resulting in only a minor minimize in the over-all selection.” And “quite a few sizeable” issues stay to be dealt with, he famous.

The report does not include information from the present-day spherical of beat screening, so even more troubles may quickly be included to the list.

ALIS does not live right here anymore

A single of the big resources of problems with the F-35 plan is the Autonomic Logistics Information and facts Process (ALIS)—the program that drives maintenance and logistics for just about every F-35 aircraft. ALIS is supposed to intelligently drive the flow of maintenance pieces, tutorial assist crews in scheduling upkeep, and make certain the ideal parts get trapped in the correct sites. Plane wellness and servicing motion information is despatched by the ALIS program in each aircraft out to the overall distributed logistical assist community.

But ALIS has experienced some problems—including the fact that the computer software was not entire when Lockheed Martin began delivery aircraft, and each team of the 490 aircraft previously delivered arrived with a person of 6 different variations of the software package. All of them will have to have in depth software package retrofits when the seventh is full, alongside with the other 510 or so that are anticipated to have been delivered throughout the world by that issue.

There are still 873 unique problems in ALIS and other F-35 program (down from 917 in 2018).

And individuals have been a contributor to the F-35 fleet’s bad reliability. In accordance to OT&E, the general fleet of F-35s fell much brief of becoming 80-% “mission capable”—meaning that they could be utilized in at least one particular variety of beat mission. The Navy’s F-35C fleet “experienced from a significantly bad” mission-able price, the OT&E workforce stated.

In addition to just purposeful computer software difficulties, the OT&E place of work also claimed that cybersecurity difficulties that experienced been recognized in previous reports on the F-35 method had still not been fixed.

Do you even shoot, bro

When the Navy and Marine Corps variations of the F-35 may perhaps have far more availability troubles than the somewhat less-complicated Air Force F-35A, they can do at minimum a person detail better: hit what they are shooting at.

The F-35B and F-35C have externally mounted guns, while the Air Force’s 25-millimeter cannon is mounted internally. Issues with the alignment of the gun’s mount, and the reality that the mount at times cracks immediately after the gun has fired, have produced the precision of the gun “unacceptable,” according to test officers, and have designed the Air Force limit use of the gun. Whilst the F-35 plan office environment has worked on advancements of the gun mount for the F-35A, these have not yet been analyzed.

But none of this is definitely slowing down acquisition of the F-35—now the most expensive DOD weapons program in background. Thinking of that the F-35 was initially meant to be the “minimal” in the “substantial-low combine“—with the F-22 getting the much more capable aircraft—the substantial cost overruns and flaws make the F-35 look progressively like the world’s most costly lemon.

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