F-35 Delayed Until 2019 Due to Software Issues

Problems with the F-35 are nothing new, with countless issues continuing to plague the jet fighter throughout its development. Now, as if to make matters worse, it has suffered another delay in its rollout, with the US House Armed Services Committee being informed that the new multirole jet won’t be ready before at least 2019.

When it was originally conceived as the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 was intended to reinforce the air power of a number of countries worldwide, including the US and the UK, now it is possibly the most expensive joke in the world. The issues with the F-35 range from simple code crashes and bugs to more amusing issues such as the radar requiring pilots to hard restart it in flight and even major security flaws.In a recent review of the jet by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, it was reported that the F-35’s latest operating system version contained 931 open, documented deficiencies, of which 158 are considered Category 1, posing risks death, severe injury or illness.

In a recent review of the jet by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, it was reported that the F-35’s latest operating system version contained 931 open, documented deficiencies, of which 158 are considered Category 1, posing risks death, severe injury or illness. Gilmore also reported that even with limited and incomplete testing, the F-35’s cyber security has deficiencies that “cannot be ignored. Currently, 60% of all F-35s already produced are grounded due to software issues, giving an example of a four-plane exercise that had to be aborted “due to avionics stability problems during startup” in two of the aircraft. Obviously, this is a major deficiency for the most software dependent warplane ever made.

It’s not just software issues that the F-35 has either, for example, pilots under 136 lb will be unable to fly the plane due to the ejection mechanism, which also has “serious” problems for those weighing over 165 pounds. Even for those in the ideal weight range for the F-35, which makes up 27% of pilots, there is still a 23% chance of death on ejection and the odds of “some level of injury resulting from neck extension to be 100 per cent,” figures which are contested by General Chris Bogdan.

Even the annual cost of the F-35 falling is not enough to save it either, with the jet estimated to cost the US government alone $379bn between now and 2038, which is $12.7bn annually, for 2,457 planes.

It is almost a wonder that the Joint Strike Fighter program is yet to be cancelled in the face of so many flaws with the F-35. At this point, though, whether they give up or carry on, the cost isn’t going to be cheap and those air forces ordering it would need a new replacement. I’m sure Lockheed Martin are hoping that they can have the F-35 ready by 2019 though I’m sure many expect the ill-fated warplane will continue to disappoint.

F-35 Radar Glitch Requires Pilots to Turn it Off and On Again!

At this point in its development, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is almost infamous due to the countless problems that have caused huge delays and taking it vastly over budget. Now another problem has been found with the software used for the F-35’s radar. The solution to this problem? Just turn it off and back on again!

In modern air battles, combat takes place beyond the visual range of the pilots, requiring extensive use of radar in order to locate and evade or attack enemy targets. As a result, in an aircraft touted as the most advanced jet fighter ever built, a flaw in its radar would put it at a huge disadvantage against vastly less developed jets. US Air Force Major General Harrigian spoke to analyst firm IHS Jane’s, telling them “What would happen is they’d get a signal that says either a radar degrade or a radar fail – something that would force us to restart the radar.”

Thankfully Lockheed Martin has discovered the cause of the glitch and are working towards a solution to the problem as well as running it through the software testing labs. The fixes are expected to be delivered to the US Air Force by the end of the month, however, this new problem has caused countries such as Australia to reconsider their orders of the plane. Keith Joiner, the one responsible for evaluating the plane’s performance for the Australian defence force said in a discussion with Radio National Background Briefing: “Some systems like the radar control are fundamentally worse than the earlier version, which is not a good sign.” With the next major software version for the plane, Block 4, not due until 2020, all development of the plane’s software since 2013 has been bug fixes, which hardly instills confidence in the original quality of the code. According to Joiner, the plane does not even have competent cyber security in place, with the only system that has undergone such testing being the logistics software, which did not have promising results.

With each F-35 jet approximately priced at about £100m, it is no wonder that nations are starting to lose faith in the 15-year long project. Each new flaw discovered in the F-35 just adds to a laundry list of past issues making other offerings seem far more attractive to the armed forces. The HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier is expected to take on a complement of 36 F-35 jets by 2018, but whether this ever comes to pass seems less likely with every new flaw and delay.