The New York Times and Retro Report have a new video discussing the many problems bedeviling the Pentagon's $1 trillion F-35 program, the plane that ate the Pentagon. "The original idea was this fabulous package, a sort of fancy Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," said Project On Government Oversight Executive Director Danielle Brian in the video. "But as time went on it turned out that that was just not functionally possible.”
The video and accompanying article review a number of recent challenges confronted by the program, including how a leaked test report found the F-35 was consistently outmatched by an aging F-16 in a series of dogfights. Many F-35 issues remain unresolved, and the program office’s efforts to circumvent necessary operational testing increase the likelihood that it will deliver F-35s that aren’t ready for combat.
This latest story comes on the heels of news a troubling memo from the Department of Defense’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, first reported by Bill Sweetman at Aviation Week, warning that the program’s software problems are so significant that they cannot be resolved without shortcuts that “constitute a very high risk of failing Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E).” Failing IOT&E would mean the program failed the final phase of testing before a full-rate production decision.