What happens now?
Report: Navy and Marine F-35 Fighters Become ‘Erratic’ While Performing Air Combat Maneuvers
Early in June 2019, the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin struck a deal in which the former agreed to purchase 478 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters for $34 billion. This could open the door for the sophisticated but controversial new stealth fighter to begin a 76 percent faster “full-rate” production status after eighteen years of troubled development and cost overruns.
Lockheed eventually hopes to sell over 2,400 F-35s to the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and over a thousand more to foreign operators. Already, over four hundred F-35s have been delivered under so-called “Low Rate of Initial Production,” many lacking the fixes and improvements implemented in later models. Theoretically, full-rate production should only be authorized once all major deficiencies being resolved.
However, on June 12, 2019, Valerie Insinna, Aaron Mehta and David B. Larter of Defense News published a series of articles based on newly acquired documents detailing thirteen Category-1B deficiencies impacting the ability of the Pentagon’s brand-new F-35 to perform their missions.