Friday, March 30, 2018

Schedule at Risk for Navy F-35C Fighters to be Combat Ready by End of Year via USNI News.

via USNI News.
It’s looking less and less likely the carrier-variants of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter will be ready for combat this year as has long been planned, but their first deployment is still expected in 2021.

For years, the Pentagon targeted initial operational capability (IOC) for the F-35C – the version designed to land on and take off from aircraft carriers – between August 2018 and February 2019, according to a June 2013 report to Congress.

This timeline was mentioned as recently as September 2017, when the Navy issued a release detailing F-35Cs testing takeoff and landing aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). According to the Navy release, “according to the F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force, the F-35C should reach its initial operational capability in 2018.”

Now signs indicate the 2018 date could be slipping to the right because of when the F-35 program can test the upgraded 3F software package in a formal Initial Operations Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). This is an F-35 enterprise testing event, not just an evaluation of the Navy’s F-35s, Rear Adm. Dale Horan told USNI News. Horan is the Navy’s director of Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration. Block 3F provides 100 percent of the software required for full warfighting capability, including data link imagery, full weapons, and embedded training, according to F-35 contractor Lockheed Martin.
Story here. 

Something tells me the Navy won't be pressing hard for the schedule to be met.  I'm also betting they won't mind a bit if the schedule for first deployment slips a bit either.

They're getting more Super Hornets than they bargained for and the refueling UAV can be accelerated if the F-35C continues to slip so this could be a blessing in disguise.

Yep.  Navy Air is probably thanking God in private for this news.

Side note.  In hindsight the JPO should have developed a two seat version out the box.  If they had done that then the Navy might be a little more enthusiastic about the plane.

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