Lightning II a “Tough Task”:

The F-35’s lengthy development is more difficult than the traditional “marathon” analogy, said Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin general manager for the Joint Strike Fighter. The program is more akin to a triathlon, Burbage recently said at a conference in Adelaide, Australia. “We are just now coming out of the water—you could call the development phase the swim,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying. “We’re about to start the test and initial production phase, which you could describe as the bike ride … [and] then comes the higher production, sustained phase which is when the real marathon comes into play.” The Herald also reported that Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to a buy of 100 F-35s, despite a recent decision to make a stopgap purchase of 24 F/A-18 fighters.