Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Watchdog Slams F-35 Program for Taking Shortcuts That Could Harm Troops |

Posted by M. C. on September 3, 2018

While the open items are important to resolve, they represent no imminent impact to safety of flight or key performance parameters. … Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin and the pentagram vs the rest of the aircraft world.

It’s slow, it’s awkward, it’s heavy, it’s range is short requiring carriers to be closer to those land based carrier killer cruise missiles, the Marine version is the low wing area USAF model therefore no low speed close support.

$Billions in cost overruns.

It’s a disaster. But it keeps the MIBC pockets lined.

The Pentagon is downplaying major F-35 Joint Strike Fighter design flaws that could leave service members at risk in an effort to keep the long-scrutinized program on schedule, a watchdog group warned this week.

A military review board met in June to look at some of the F-35’s deficiencies. The group downgraded 19 serious problems without a clear plan to fix them all, according to a new report from the Project on Government Oversight, an independent nonpartisan watchdog that exposes government waste, fraud and abuse.

Before the June meeting, POGO reported, the 19 problems had been labeled Category I deficiencies, meaning they “may cause death, severe injury, or severe occupational illness; may cause loss or major damage to a weapon system; critically restrict the combat readiness capabilities of the using organization; or result in a production line stoppage.”

Some of the problems downgraded by the review board from Category I deficiencies to Category II, according to POGO, include:

  • A problem with a transponder that doesn’t automatically send an emergency signal when a pilot ejects. That means hours could pass before anyone knew a pilot had ejected and crashed.
  • A problem with the arresting tailhook on the Air Force variant of the F-35. Test engineers found the aircraft could be damaged when the tailhook was used in the event of brake failure due to a problem called “upswing.”
  • F-35 pilots firing precision-guided missiles don’t currently confirm target coordinates, which could put troops on the ground at risk of being hit by friendly fire.

No specific plans for fixes to these problems were provided during the meeting in which they were downgraded to a less-severe category, according to the report. “This is not how the development process is supposed to work,” Grazier wrote.

The F-35’s latest Block 3F software has demonstrated the capability and stability to execute all required missions and incorporates all required fixes to identified discrepancies as directed by the warfighter, DellaVedova said. “The program will continue to employ all available resources to deliver combat capability as part of its continuous development methodology.”

But Grazier said troops deserve to know more about the process of changing the aircraft’s problem categorizations. The Government Accountability Office found in January that the F-35 program had 111 Category I deficiencies. Because the meeting minutes Grazier saw addressed only 19 Category I problems, defense leaders need to explain how they dealt with the other 92, he said.

“I would want to know what else they have treated in this way,” he said. “Have [remaining problems] been addressed properly? What else don’t we know about this process?”

Mike Friedman, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, which produces the F-35, said the aircraft continues demonstrating it is the safest and most advanced fighter in the sky. With more than 150,000 flight hours, it has an “exceptional safety record,” he said, exceeding any other fighter jet’s record at this stage in their maturity.

“Current deficiencies outlined from the F-35 Joint Program Office are known, understood and on a path to resolution, and the latest 3F software has demonstrated the capability and stability to execute all required missions,” Friedman said. “While the open items are important to resolve, they represent no imminent impact to safety of flight or key performance parameters. …  Lockheed Martin is working closely with the Joint Program Office to prioritize and correct remaining areas to ensure we continue delivering the most advanced aircraft in the world.”…

Be seeing you



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