Marine F-35’s Reliability Problems Persist
“The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer,” writes Bloomberg Business .
“Six F-35Bs, the most complex version of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, were available for flights only half of the time needed, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, said in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. A Marine Corps spokesman said the readiness rate was more than 65 percent.”
“That assessment raises new concerns as General Joseph Dunford, the Marine Corps commandant, is poised to decide as soon as this week whether to declare the plane ready for limited combat operations. The Marine version must make short takeoffs from ships and vertical landings like a helicopter… The declaration of ‘initial operational capability’ is five years behind the original projected date of April 2010 that was set in 2001, when the F-35 program began. Earlier delays resulted from difficulties in reducing the plane’s weight, with its propulsion system and with reliability.”