Investigation Shows Pentagon Is Covering Seriuos Problems With F-35

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Investigation Shows Pentagon Is Covering Seriuos Problems With F-35

An F-35A Lightning II test aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida suffered an incident upon landing. (DVIDS)

On August 29th, it was revealed that the Pentagon is allegedly attempting to cover some serious problems with the F-35 joint strike fighter jet that could endanger troops, according to an investigation released by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

The investigation discovered that in June, an oversight board that was looking at the development of the high-tech fighter jet decided to downgrade 19 of the aircraft’s most severe deficiencies without a plan to fix them. These included an emergency alert system for when pilots eject and a system for bombing coordinates that could protect troops on the ground from friendly fire. All of them were moved to Category II status. According to POGO: “This is not how the development process is supposed to work.”

As reported by POGO, in acquisition programs, a deficiency is a design flaw that affects the weapon system’s performance or safety. During the test and evaluation process, the testing personnel identify and categorize design deficiencies based on severity, breaking them down into Categories I and II, with degrees of priority within each category. Category I deficiencies “may cause death, severe injury, or severe occupational illness; may cause loss or major damage to a weapon system; critically restricts the combat readiness capabilities of the using organization; or result in a production line stoppage.”

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that, as of January 2018, the F-35 program still had 111 of these. Category II deficiencies “could impede or constrain successful mission accomplishment.” The program had 855 of these significant, though less catastrophic, design flaws.

Dan Grazier, a military fellow at POGO and long-time program watcher, said that the moves could help speed up the F-35 program, as it moves into a critical phase of development. The F-35 program is the most expensive one in the history of the Pentagon. “They want to be able to go up to Capitol Hill and say, ‘Nope, we don’t have any more Category 1 deficiencies,’” Grazier said.

According to POGO, the next big challenge before the F-35 comes on September 15th. That is the deadline for the initial test and evaluation of the aircraft. The tri-service fighters are billed as the most advanced in the world and are chock full of new military technology. As reported by Washington Examiner, the Air Force and Marine Corps variants are already in operational use. The Navy’s version is expected to be deemed ready to deploy next year. “We are obviously just three weeks away from that, so the big rush to kind of clear up these paperwork issues is to try to meet that deadline,” Grazier said. “Having these deficiencies, it actually increases the likelihood that the program will not pass IOT&E.”

However, according to POGO that can’t be further than the truth. Despite what the Pentagon claims, the average program unit cost for each F-35 has more than doubled, from $62.2 million at the program’s inception in 2001 to an average $158.4 million in 2018. It is also 12 years behind schedule. The F-35 program’s development phase will not be completed this year, or for many years in the future. As POGO’s investigation revealed “the F-35 Deficiency Review Board document reveals that F-35 Joint Program Office officials are not even attempting to deal with serious design flaws, just so they can claim to have finished this phase without busting the budget and the schedule yet again.” Instead of fixing the deficiencies, they will complete development work and fixes at a later point, with their “newly devised, amorphous “modernization” phase, free of the restrictions and accountability imposed by a budget and milestone baseline.”

Neither the Department of Defense nor Lockheed Martin responded to requests for comment on this investigation.

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  • FlorianGeyer

    US ‘exceptionalism’ at its Disneyland best.
    https://www.sott.net/image/s11/233822/full/mackay_f35.jpg

    • You can call me Al
      • FlorianGeyer

        Brilliant Al.

        On another note, have you noticed the Artificial Intelligence censoring on the Al Masdar forum site these days? Al Masdar post interesting and pertinent articles but they have struggled with several Forum operating companies and the latest one is very biased to the US viewpoint I suspect.

        • Tudor Miron

          Do you mean comments section? I’m not aware of Al Masdar forum.

          • You can call me Al
          • FlorianGeyer

            Yes Tudor, the ‘comments section’. I intentionally posted a neutral opinion about the US in Syria and the software blocked that . It seems that ‘trigger words’ in any context and even English language that is not written in a simplistic form is blocked by the AI software.

          • Tudor Miron

            I just gave up posting there. At the same time I often see direct pro isis propaganda posted there and it seems that moderators are ok with that.

          • FlorianGeyer

            I posted this today on Al Masdar News and it was instantly blocked.

            “FlorianGeyer

            The US bases in Syria look rather like ancient Bronze Age defensive settlements 🙂
            One decent missile hit in the middle and they will just be an Antiquity of the future 🙂 ”
            ‘Comment awaiting moderation’

            The ‘moderation algorithm’ is absurd I think Tudor .

        • You can call me Al

          Actually, yes I have, this morning, but I had it months back as well (Yes – true).

          To be honest, I am no lover on any of the comment’s software they have used or use as it seems to take an eternity to load my comment.

          I think most things are becoming pro-US at the moment, as the Yanks seem to be in a state of panic and running around like headless chickens.

      • putinbeater

        the left half is 4+++ generation, the right half 5th generation

        • FlorianGeyer

          Male and Female :)

          • Empire’s Frontiers

            Man and boy.

          • FlorianGeyer

            That’s very likely :)

    • as

      Actually you can thank the Lockheed and general laziness of the Israeli to actually design things in addition to it’s parasitic behavior that the Israeli technological gaps advantage diminished nowadays. They had to live with the same lemons the US had.

  • You can call me Al

    The first contracts to design what became the F-35 were handed out 20 years ago. Lockheed’s X-35 won the contract in October, 2001. Fifteen years later, the aircraft is in terrible condition — a fact driven home by the DoD’s own official report on the state of the F-35 and the bugs that continue to plague it.

    Here is the report …… http://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/uploads/2016/01/DOT&E%202015%20F-35%20Annual%20Report.pdf

    PS They are pulling it off the internet, so if you are interested it,download it or something.

  • Nigel Maund

    I wonder how many Lockheed Martin Board Members, Execs and shareholders as well as Air Force Generals and Politicians this program has greatly enriched to the impoverishment of the US taxpayer. What a fantastic little “gravy train” for the “pigs with their snouts firmly in the trough!!”, But the US taxpayer, like most around the world, just dutifully puts up with this criminal chicanery with shrug of the shoulders as their paychecks get whittled away by rampant inflation, bogus CPI figures, and yet more taxes. Mortgagees get buried under debt and students under bank loans they can never hope to repay. The global financial systems is one of systematic plunder and is doomed to fail. It’s poster child may be the F35 program as an extreme example of Government “pork barrel” projects.

    • Barba_Papa

      A consequence of the hero worship of the US soldier. Gotta support the troops! Even if the war is unjust, or unnecessary, like was eventually seen with the Iraq invasion and occupation, ‘gotta support the troops!’ kept the average American from turning against the government.

      As Congress, its members are either bought and sold by lobbyists from the defense industry, or they know better then to speak out, afraid that the defense industry will start sponsoring their opponents come the next election. How else can you explain that on any other issue there is complete gridlock between the two parties, except defense spending and Israel. Healthcare? Gridlock! Immigration? Gridlock! Education? Gridlock! Environmental protection? Gridlock! But more money for defense and Israel? Full bipartisan ‘Shut up and take our money!’

  • Barba_Papa

    >>and a system for bombing coordinates that could protect troops on the ground from friendly fire<<

    Yeah, like that has EVER been a priority with the US Chair Force.

  • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

    F-35, what a waste of time and money, and as a famous tank expert once said (on a different subject though): “Its such a good idea that only the MoD could come up with it….”

    And dont forget that an Israeli F-35 was severly damaged by an syrian S-200 system, meaning that a 40 year old AD system can see it, lock it and get a splash, meaning that the supposed stealth is useless.
    The IAF said that i hit a bird, wich does not comply with the birdstrike test the plane have supposedly passed and that the dates of the strikes and damaged plane does not match.

    And because its so super duper uber hyper 1000000th gen jet, every single scratch and damage to the frame and exterior, can only be fixed back home in the US, you know, because of… erhm… security.

    Yeah, buy an overpriced and overhyped plane that you are not allowed to fix yourself….

    • Bob

      It’s even worse than that – it’s not just that the maintenance is under US control – the aircraft software is programmed to send aircraft logistics data back to Lockheed Martin – who argue this about scheduling maintenance, but it also means every time the aircraft is used the Pentagon basically knows where, when and how. Then there is the issue of whether Lockheed Martin have installed a remote shut down or capacity restrictor within the operating software, should any major political conflict of interest arise in future with ‘allies’ equipped with export F-35’s (think current US -Turkey stand-off). That control would be some political blackmail tool to pull errant ‘allies’ back into line. For non US states this more like leasing an aircraft under strict US terms of use rather than buying an aircraft – at an exorbitant lease rate.

      • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

        I did not know that, thanks for letting me know.

  • Brother Thomas

    The F-35 program has been highly successful in what it was designed to do: transfer tax dollars to Lockheed Martin and other defence contractors.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Is that a Stealthy dollar transfer or just Money Laundering Brother Thomas :)

  • northerntruthseeker .

    Here it is in a nutshell: The F35 flying turkey…err.. Lightning II program will now cost the US tax suckers.. errr..payers.. some $2 TRILLION dollars once the program is completed… And will give the US a group of “multi-task” fighters that can neither fight or even multi-task…

    This flying POS (piece of shit) so called aircraft is an unmitigated disaster…. It is too slow, cannot maneuver, cannot fly at night, cannot fly in the rain, carries a VTOL engine that runs red hot while burning up aviation fuel at an alarming rate making the aircraft untenable for sustained combat operations, carries ONLY 4 inboard missiles making its air to air combat capabilities a joke, has a
    “sophisticated” electronics system that breaks down constantly, and to top that all off its ‘stealth’ is a joke and the biggest lie imaginable..

    WHY has the US not scrapped this entire waste of time and money? Because Lockheed Martin has some powerful lobby groups in Washington DC that have pumped billions of dollars into corrupt US Congress-critter pockets….

    I do hope that other nations are not stupid enough to buy this POS, for it will weaken their air forces for decades to come… And lo and behold but apparently the British suckers have indeed bought into this lemon that will cost the British taxpayers tens of billions of pounds as a result..

    There is an alternative to this F35 flying disaster, and it comes in the F15X program that Boeing is trying to push to the US government as the viable alternative to this disaster.. But again, thanks to Lockheed Martin controlling so many Congress-critters, there is very little being done to reopen the bidding for a proper US fighter aircraft…

  • Jim Bim

    Looks like Lockheed Martin this time and for many years to come, really got its nose deep into the taxpayers coffer. It was never ment to be delivered in time, it was ment to be with huge flaws and oversized budget…thats how you suck the buyer/governments coffer for decades to come.
    Thats why the Russians get more and better weapons, for lesser money, they build to defend their country, the US build weapon for profit.

  • James Thomas

    If you are really interested in the F-35 you should listen to this two part debate on the Aviation Week podcast:
    http://aviationweek.com/combat-aircraft/podcast-f-35-crossfire-part-1
    http://aviationweek.com/combat-aircraft/podcast-f-35-crossfire-part-2

    I like debates because they give both sides a chance for rebuttal, and you are not just getting one persons opinion. IMO, the F-35 critic wins the debate hands down. I found it much more informative than anything I have read about the F-35.

    • Brother Thomas

      Interesting debate. Thanks for the links.
      I think the difference between the two debaters was that one was dealing with facts (performance deficiencies, high cost, unnecessary complexity, delays, non-transparency in procurement) vs the other debater believing in the promise of the F-35 – a belief of performance and promise of value radiating out like rays of sunshine to 15 years in the future.

  • Jim Prendergast

    Stealth Technology used to make the F-35’s faults vanish. (these are not the droids you seek)

    • Brother Thomas

      Also comes with a cloaking device to render the true costs invisible.

  • Ma_Laoshi

    Hey bombing ground troops from a rival service branch is not a bug–it’s tradition!