Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet has faced more delays in initial operational testing and will not come any sooner than 2018, a US government official says.
US Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program chief, said Tuesday that the delay was taking place in order to install the final software on the 23 airplanes needed for testing.
The mostly software-driven aircraft, in the works since 2001, has yet to achieve full combat capability due to its many deficiencies.
Defense Acquisition Chief Frank Kendall told reporters that the fifth-generation stealth aircraft was supposed to enter the testing phase in the second half of 2017, months behind the October 2016 schedule that was set in 2012, when the program was reorganized.
Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester, says that the final phase of testing should be delayed as the current timeline was unrealistic.
Earlier in May, Gilmore told Congress that a software…