COVID-19 and Technical Issues: F-35 Jet’s Mass Production Delayed… Again

The development of the fifth-generation American stealth jet has been hit with delays and overspending from the beginning, and yet the jet is apparently still not ready for the final trial testing of both its capabilities and reliability.

The US Department of Defence once again delayed the combat testing of the F-35 stealth fighter jet, which is required for the Pentagon to give a green light to the start of the aircraft’s mass production. This testing was supposed to happen back in 2017, but has since been postponed repeatedly. The latest date had been set for December, before being moved again to an undetermined date. A new date for combat testing will be announced “based on an independent technical review”, a Pentagon representative stated.

Should the trials of F-35 combat worthiness have taken place on schedule, the mass production of the Lockheed Martin’s jet would have started no later than March 2021. However, the Defence Department’s undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, Ellen Lord scrapped those plans due to testing being delayed again. The two main reasons for the latter are the COVID-19 pandemic and “technical challenges”, Lord’s spokeswoman explained.

The DoD faced technical issues during the preparation of a simulation facility, where the jet’s virtual testing is supposed to take place. The trial is held to prove that the fighter, the development of which had cost almost $400 billion, is capable of adequately dealing with and respond to modern…

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