F-35 Progress Still Lagging

Although flight testing on the F-35 strike fighter ramped up “significantly” in Fiscal 2010, the F-35 program’s overall progress continues to lag, said Michael Sullivan, director of acquisition and sourcing management at the Government Accountability Office. “Software development—essential for achieving about 80 percent of [F-35] functionality—is significantly behind schedule as [the program] enters its most challenging phase,” Sullivan told members of the House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces panel Tuesday. Further, only four percent of the F-35’s capabilities have been fully verified through flight tests and/or lab results, he said. Sullivan characterized the Pentagon’s F-35 restructure as “positive, substantial actions that should lead to more achievable and predictable outcomes.” However, as a result, the aircraft’s development “is now estimated at $56.4 billion to complete in 2018, a 26 percent cost increase and a five-year schedule slip,” he said. (Sullivan’s prepared remarks)