via Defense Aerospace.
The Marine Corps declared Initial Operational Capability of their Lockheed F-35B fighter last July despite a number of deficiencies “that preclude aircraft mission readiness in support of …. initial operating capabilities.”Read the entire article here.
That admission, contained in a May 12 contract announcement (see below), contradicts most statements made at the time, and since, by the Marine Corps, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) and prime contractor Lockheed Martin claiming that IOC meant the F-35B was ready for “worldwide deployment” and combat.
While this was generally accepted as a public relations exercise with no real foundation in fact, the Pentagon’s admission, albeit indirect, that the aircraft were so deficient they did not meet IOC standards should be a major embarrassment for the Corps, JPO and Lockheed Martin, as well as other senior Pentagon officials who at the time madeenthusiastic statements which today seem wildly excessive.
Furthermore, the fact that the Pentagon must now pay Lockheed $10.5 million to fix those deficiencies should also raise eyebrows, as it is the first time that deficiencies in IOC aircraft are disclosed.
There has been no word from the Marine Corps or the JPO to suggest that the aircraft in the IOC squadron had any deficiencies, and the various Congressional committees briefed on the F-35 program were apparently not informed of them.
The deficiencies are apparently substantial in both number and complexity.
The contract announcement states that Lockheed will supply “61 retrofit kits to correct deficiencies,” implying that each IOC aircraft has an average of 6.1 deficiencies since the IOC squadron, VMFA-121, operates ten F-35Bs.
We have been lied to. We knew the IOC was a public relations exercise but for the Marine Corps this is becoming a crisis.
Senior Marine Corps officers either didn't know enough about this program and were deceived by the contractor or they participated in the lie. We've seen people fired for "loss of confidence" for less. Additionally if it can be proven that these Senior Marine Corps officers knowingly lied to the public and Congress....