Defense Department acquisition chief Frank Kendall has said the F-35 fighter aircraft will likely be ready for a final operational test and evaluation in 2018 at the earliest, Defense News reported Wednesday.
Lara Seligman quoted Kendall as saying DoD officials reached consensus on an OT&E timeline after the department reviewed the status of current F-35 operational test plans.
“The target was the middle of 2017, but it’s clear we’re not going to make that,” he said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
Seligman writes Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, head of the F-35 Joint Program Office, told reporters Tuesday the office’s planned initial OT&E was pushed back from August or September 2017 to January or February 2018.
Kendall added DoD and F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin are in the final stage of contract negotiations for the low-rate initial production lot nine fighters.