F-35s will have faulty insulation fixed but still lack combat readiness

Israel and Japan are likely to get their first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters on schedule, and the Air Force‘s operational F-35s should be flying by the end of this year without faulty insulation in fuel pipes that could damage the aircraft, the F-35 Joint Program Office says.

“Rapid progress is being made in fixing 15 operational F-35A aircraft needing modifications to repair non-compliant Polyalphaolefin (PAO) coolant tubes,” the JPO said in a statement. “Modifications started 7 October on the first four aircraft and the work takes about three weeks to complete. All 15 aircraft are expected to fly again by the end of the year.”

The F-35 still has a lack of combat readiness

A 16 page defense department memo states that the F35 is not combat ready and is not on track for combat readiness. It was a memo for the undersecretary of the department of defense and was issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official. It based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data and showed that the declarations of combat readiness were wildly premature.

– F35 is NOT effective for missions and currently fielded threats
– F-35s are flying only one sortie every five days
– software is crashing in general under 8 hours of flight time
– cannot properly track and accurately shoot targets
– limited numbers of weapons
– high fuel burn rate, so has short duration time for missions
– sensor fusion problems can cause pilots to see double and see false objects

The Air Force and the Joint Program Office want to ramp up production and simultaneously slow-rolling future testing of the F-35. Gilmore reports that “plans and support for preparing for adequate IOT and E have stagnated.” The US will buy more planes and not put the resources, time or money to make them fully combat ready.

The F-35 program has derailed to the point where it “is actually not on a path toward success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion.”

The F-35 would need to run away from combat and have other planes come to its rescue, since it “will need support to locate and avoid modern threats, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft due to outstanding performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two bombs and two air-to-air missiles).”

The Block 3i aircraft lacks the ability to employ its cannon because the software needed for it is a Block 3F development and has yet to be completed.

The internal cannon sits behind a small door that opens when the cannon is fired. Ppening the small door causes the plane to turn slightly because of the door’s drag, possibly enough to cause the cannon to miss.

SOURCES -Defense Dept Operational Test and Evaluation, War is Boring