Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation at the Defense Department, has said that President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration should launch a comprehensive review of the F-35 program to examine “well-documented deficiencies” in the Lockheed Martin-built aircraft’s combat systems, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
Anthony Capaccio writes Gilmore told Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) in a letter that the F-35 program office does not plan to “adequately fix and verify hundreds of these deficiencies using flight testing within its currently planned schedule and resources.”
Gilmore’s annual report on F-35 says military services identified 276 combat performance issues in the aircraft’s 3F software and that less than half of the deficiencies have been addressed, Capaccio reported.
DoD’s office of independent cost analysis has estimated that it will cost up to $1.12 billion to extend F-35’s development phase to as late as 2020 from the scheduled flight test completion in September 2017.
The F-35 program office said the phase could extend to May 2018 and will require an additional $530 million to complete.
Gilmore said combat tests that are currently scheduled to start in August will more likely be concluded in 2020, according to the report.