F-35 flights halted at Ariz. base over pilot health concerns

By Perry Vandell
June 10, 2017

The Air Force on Friday stopped flying F-35 fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale after a series of incidents in which pilots reported symptoms of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said the temporary halt followed five separate in-flight incidents since May 2. Graff said in each case, the airplane’s backup oxygen system worked as designed and the pilot was able to land the plane safely.

“The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots,” said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, 56th Fighter Wing commander at Luke. “We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents.”

Maj. Rebecca Heyse, a chief public affairs officer for Luke, said each of the five pilots’ symptoms were slightly different, from dizziness and disorientation to tingling in their extremities.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 grounded indefinitely at Luke Air Force Base over hypoxia reports

By Perry Vandell
June 12, 2017

Luke Air Force Base officials announced Monday that flight operations will be indefinitely suspended as its team of engineers and maintenance specialists continue to investigate the rash of hypoxia-like symptoms some pilots reported.

The high-priced jets were grounded Friday at the Glendale base after five separate in-flight incidents since May 2 in which pilots reported symptoms from dizziness and disorientation to tingling in their extremities.

Luke spokeswoman Maj. Rebecca Heyse said there aren’t any leads yet, but new information has streamed in as an investigative “action team” worked over the weekend.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Achieving Full Combat Capability with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is at Substantial Risk

By Michael Gilmore
August 9, 2016

Achieving Full Combat Capability with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is at Substantial Risk

While the Air Force recently declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) with “basic”
Block 3i capabilities, most of the limitations and deficiencies for the F-35A with Block 3i
discussed in my FY15 Annual Report and Congressional testimonies remain and will adversely
affect mission effectiveness and suitability. In fact, the program 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 by the scheduled end of System Development and
Demonstration (SDD) in 2018. If Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) were
conducted today on the aircraft in the Block 3i configuration – with which the Air Force recently
declared IOC -the system would likely be evaluated as not effective and not suitable across the
required mission areas and against currently fielded threats. If used in combat, the F-35 in the
Block 3i configuration, which is equivalent in capabilities to Block 2B, will need support to
locate and avoid modem 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).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Mr President, Cancel the F-35

By Mike Fredenburg
January 6, 2017

Our incoming president’s willingness to boldly challenge the status quo is arguably the main reason he was elected. And no defense project is more representative of a disastrous status quo than the 20-year-old Joint Strike Fighter program — the F-35. The F-35 program showcases all that is wrong about our military’s vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system. Unless dealt with decisively, its massive cost and its lack of capability will have a dramatically negative impact on our military’s effectiveness for decades to come. Therefore, President-elect Trump’s willingness to publicly call out this $1.5 trillion program is good news.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 is a $1.4 Trillion National Disaster

By Dan Grazier
March 31, 2017

The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual report.

The Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (DOD 2016 report)

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program Office (JPO) acknowledged in 2016 that schedule pressure exists for
completing System Development and Demonstration (SDD) and starting Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) by August 2017, the planned date in JPO’s Integrated Master Schedule. In an effort to stay on schedule, JPO plans to reduce or truncate planned developmental testing (DT) in an effort to minimize delays and close out SDD as soon as possible. However, even with this risky, schedule-driven approach, multiple problems and delays make it clear that the program will not be able to start IOT&E with full combat capability until late CY18 or early CY19, at the soonest.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it’s scarcely fit to fly

By Richard Chirgwin
April 3, 2017

Now-retired Dr Michael Gilmore, until recently the Director of Test and Evaluation for the US military, has published his final evaluation of the F-35 program, and it’s a treat.

In his parting report (PDF), deliciously dated April 1*, Gilmore details a host of issues remaining with the US$391 billion-and-counting project, with everything from its combat-readiness to its wing design under the microscope.

“The Services have designated 276 deficiencies in combat performance as “critical to correct” in Block 3F, but less than half of the critical deficiencies were addressed with attempted corrections in 3FR6”, the report states.

Even Gilmore’s most optimistic scenario regarding the aircraft’s Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) is gloomy: “the program will not be ready to start IOT&E until late CY18, at the soonest, or more likely early CY19. In fact, IOT&E could be delayed to as late as CY20, depending on the completion of required modifications to the IOT&E aircraft.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

What went wrong with Lockheed’s F-35?

By Michael Hughes
June 14, 2017

The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy — and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy — all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current — and aging — aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s marketed as a cost-effective, powerful multi-role fighter airplane significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those things.

Officially begun in 2001, with roots extending back to the late 1980s, the F-35 program is nearly a decade behind schedule, and has  failed to meet many of its original design requirements. It’s also become the most expensive defense program in world history, at about $1.5 trillion before the fighter is  phased out in 2070.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force grounds F-35 squadron after oxygen deprivation issues

By Ellen Mitchell
June 9, 2017

The Air Force has “temporarily” grounded a squadron of F-35s fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona after five pilots reported symptoms consistent with oxygen deprivation, the service said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing cancelled local flying operations for its F-35A Lightning II fighters after five incidents since May 2 where pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

In every incident the F-35’s back-up oxygen system kicked in and pilots were able to land the plane safely, the Air Force said.

The Air Force has “temporarily” grounded a squadron of F-35s fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona after five pilots reported symptoms consistent with oxygen deprivation, the service said Friday.

The 56th Fighter Wing cancelled local flying operations for its F-35A Lightning II fighters after five incidents since May 2 where pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

In every incident the F-35’s back-up oxygen system kicked in and pilots were able to land the plane safely, the Air Force said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Government watchdog: F-35 will take millions more, months longer than expected

By Alex Lockie
April 24, 2017

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Mondaywarning the Department of Defense against funding further software updates for the already $400 billion F-35 program until the current software becomes operational.

The F-35 is already operational with the Air Force and Marine Corps, but it runs a limited version of its software, called the 3i block, which only provides 89% of the code required for full warfighting potency.

[FULL ARTICLE]

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