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DoD’s Michael Gilmore: JPO’s F-35 Software Development Deadline ‘Not Realistic’

Michael Gilmore
Michael Gilmore

A weapons testing official at the Defense Department has said the Joint Program Office’s plan to complete software development work on the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 aircraft by July 31, 2017 seems unrealistic, Defense News reported Saturday.

Lara Seligman writes Michael Gilmore, DoD’s director of operational test and evaluation, said in a Dec. 11 memo that he is concerned that JPO might rush tests on the fighter jet’s Block 3F software in order to meet the July 2017 deadline.

Gilmore added there is a “very high risk” the software might fail the final testing phase prior to a full-rate production decision due to hasty testing schedules.

“The JPO does not intend on ‘short-cutting’ any required test points,” Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for JPO, told Defense News in an email.

DellaVedova said approximately half of all baseline flight testing points for the Block 3F software had been concluded by JPO as of Jan. 15 and that the office remains on schedule to deliver the software in the fall of 2017.

“Any critical deficiencies identified during the remainder of development flight testing and [initial operational test and evaluation] will be coordinated with key stakeholders including the services and operational test team, to determine the need for any required fixes or other follow-up actions,” DellaVedova wrote in the email.

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