from the flushing-your-tax-dollars dept.
The F-35 multirole fighter won't be close to ready before 2019, the US House Armed Services Committee was told on Wednesday. The aircraft, which is supposed to reinvigorate the American military's air power, is suffering numerous problems, largely down to flaws in the F-35's operating system. These include straightforward code crashes, having to reboot the radar every four hours, and serious security holes in the code.
Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation, reported that the latest F-35 operating system has 931 open, documented deficiencies, 158 of which are Category 1 – classified as those that could cause death, severe injury, or severe illness. "The limited and incomplete F-35 cybersecurity testing accomplished to date has nonetheless revealed deficiencies that cannot be ignored," Gilmore said in his testimony [PDF]. "Cybersecurity testing on the next increment of ALIS [Autonomic Logistics Information System] – version 2.0.2 – is planned for this fall, but may need to be delayed because the program may not be able to resolve some key deficiencies and complete content development and fielding as scheduled."
He reported that around 60 per cent of aircraft used for testing were grounded due to software problems. He cited one four-aircraft exercise that had to be cancelled after two of the four aircraft aborted "due to avionics stability problems during startup."
Overall fleet-wide monthly availability rates remain around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of new aircraft. One notable trend is an increase in the percentage of the fleet that cannot fly while awaiting replacement parts – indicated by the Not Mission Capable due to Supply rate.
[...] Total acquisition costs for Lockheed Martin Corp.'s next-generation fighter may rise about 7 percent to $406.5 billion, according to figures in a document known as a Selected Acquisition Report. That's a reversal after several years of estimates that had declined to $379 billion recently from a previous high of $398.5 billion in early 2014.
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