Re: Israeli F-35s2 weeks ago
They will have to give these away soon!
18 years in the making and looking worse every day.
"The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester said the next-generation F-35 jet continues to fall short of full combat readiness targets and, despite some progress on reliability issues, all three versions of the fighter are breaking down “more often than planned.”
None of the Air Force, Marines and Navy variants of the Lockheed Martin Corp. fighter are meeting their five key “reliability or maintainability metrics,” Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing, said in prepared remarks Wednesday before two House Armed Services Committee panels.
The House subcommittees are reviewing the $428 billion program’s status and progress recovering from years of cost overruns and production delays.
“The operational suitability of the F-35 fleet remains at a level below service expectations,” Behler said in the prepared remarks. “In short, for all variants, aircraft are breaking down more often than planned and taking longer to fix.”
His statement is a reality check just weeks after the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin announced that they finalized the largest contract in the program’s history, a deal valued at $34 billion for 478 additional aircraft. About $27 billion of F-35s have already been placed on contract even though the program hasn’t completed all its combat testing and struggles with reliability.
Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager Greg Ulmer said after the hearing that he doesn’t “necessarily agree” with Behler’s characterization. “If you look lot-over-lot, reliability and maintainability is significantly better for the airplanes delivering off the line,” he said, while acknowledging there were some outstanding issues “and we are going after them.”
The program continues in its most rigorous phase of combat testing, a stage that will stretch into next year. So far, 458 jets have been fielded out of about 3,500 planned purchases by U.S. and allies from Australia to Poland. Pentagon approval for full-rate production, delayed from December, looms for 2020.
Even with that 2020 target approaching, analysis to date shows that neither the Marine Corps nor Navy F-35 models are currently “on track” to meet their reliability metrics even as they log more hours, according to the latest assessment.
Among the key lagging metrics cited by Behler are “mean flight hours between critical failure” -- a data point that refers to the time between failures that result in the loss of capability to perform a mission-critical task, or mean time between part removals for replacement from the supply chain."