Even as a critic of the program I didn't think we'd be seeing news like this. A serious gamble is being placed on the defense of the West with this airplane and if they're off by even a little (and I think they're off by alot) then the budget ramifications of this will be felt for the next 20 years. via TribLive...
Tests of how Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 will perform in combat won't begin until at least August 2018, a year later than planned, and more than 500 of the fighter jets may be built before the assessment is complete, according to the Pentagon's test office.That is an eye opening statement. If you've been paying attention then you realize the budget juggling that the Marine Corps has been involved in for at least the last 10 years. We've seen MUCH needed upgrades and procurement projects delayed all to fund the F-35 in particular and the Wing in general.
“These aircraft will require a still-to-be-determined list of modifications” to be fully capable, Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's top weapons tester, said in his annual report on major programs. “However, these modifications may be unaffordable for the services as they consider the cost of upgrading these early lots of aircraft while the program continues to increase production rates in a fiscally constrained environment.”
Instead of it being solved, we see that even more Ju-Jitsu will be required in the future to make it all balance out. Worse for the defense hawks is the two-fer that's headed their way. First the American people are beyond tired of foreign interventions. They want America to come first. A bigger defense budget is not in the cards. But even if by some miracle they somehow rig the game and get something passed, the plane will let them down. How much will the Marine Corps pay to upgrade all the planes its buying now? How much will the USAF?
They're faced with the worst of all possible worlds with concurrency. They need to up production to get the price down, but the more they produce now, the more mistake jets they're getting which means that they're useless.
If that isn't bad enough then check this out from the same article.
Gilmore, whose full weapons report will be posted on his office's website Monday, said the delay in testing stems from flaws in the “3F” software that gives the F-35 its full combat capability. Testing of the software isn't likely to be completed until at least January 2018, or 15 months behind the October 2016 date set when the program was reorganized in 2012, he said.So what does the USMC have in its so called "squadron of combat capable F-35's"?
Maintenance hogs and mistake jets that will cost a fortune to upgrade and they won't be ready for the real world till at least (and probably later) 2018.
The Deputy Commandant for Aviation needs to resign. He didn't push hard for a capability for the USMC. He screwed the Corps because he was guided by faith instead of doing the hard thing and properly assessing a weapons system.