A reminder for those that may have forgotten—or choose to ignore—the April 2011 report from the U.S. Government Accounting Office about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) woes. The JSF program boss Admiral Venlet and others can talk about the next contract for Low Rate Initial Production lot number 5 (LRIP-5) but the bare facts are still there. What exactly is being built?
“After more than 9 years in development and 4 in production, the JSF program has not fully demonstrated that the aircraft design is stable, manufacturing processes are mature, and the system is reliable. Engineering drawings are still being released to the manufacturing floor and design changes continue at higher rates than desired. More changes are expected as testing accelerates. Test and production aircraft cost more and are taking longer to deliver than expected. Manufacturers are improving operations and implemented 8 of 20 recommendations from an expert panel, but have not yet demonstrated a capacity to efficiently produce at higher production rates. Substantial improvements in factory throughput and the global supply chain are needed.”