A US$14 billion Pentagon software upgrade for F-35 jets is being installed on aircraft that are deployed although it is “immature, deficient and insufficiently tested,” a new assessment by the military’s testing office said.
Aircraft operators “identified deficiencies in weapons, fusion, communications and navigation, cybersecurity and targeting processes that required software modification and additional time and resources, which caused delays,” the 13-page assessment in the testing office’s annual report said.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 is a flying computer, with more than 8 million lines of computer code, and the software needed to increase its capabilities has been marred by problems since deliveries of the upgrades began in 2020.
The US Department of Defense’s F-35 program office has implemented “process improvements to address software development issues,” the assessment said.
The F-35 section of the annual report, which has circulated inside the Pentagon for comment, is a combination of unclassified and “controlled, unclassified information.”
Laura Seal, spokeswoman for the defense department’s F-35 program office, said that the office would issue comments once the report is officially released.
Although the program office designed the upgrade effort around commercial “agile software” concepts, “it does not adhere to the published best practices,” and it has “consistently failed to deliver the capabilities contained in their master schedule,” said the assessment, which was conducted under the agency’s new Operational Test and Evaluation Director Nickolas Guertin.
“The program has not sufficiently funded” teams to “adequately test, analyze data or perform comprehensive” checkup analysis “to assure that unintentional deficiencies are not embedded in the software prior to delivery,” the testing office said in the assessment.
As a result, the process has resulted in frequent “discoveries of critical warfighting deficiencies after fielding to the combat units.”
Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed has delivered more than 750 of a potential 3,300 jets to the US and partners. They are in operation in nine nations, including South Korea, the UK and Israel.
The Block 4 software upgrade has a new processor to increase the computing power and memory of the F-35. The upgrade is also intended to allow the fighters to carry new AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missiles, all-weather Small Diameter Bomb II munitions, radar-killing AARGM-ER missiles, several allied-produced bombs and the B-61 nuclear bomb.
So far, it has not worked out that way.
“Although designed to introduce new capabilities or fix deficiencies, the process has often introduced stability problems and/or adversely affected” other functions, with training and military units finding deficiencies, the assessment said.
‘EATING UP SPRING’: Temperatures are 10oC to 15oC above the seasonal average and a city northwest of Madrid experienced its first ‘tropical’ May night on Friday Parts of Spain are experiencing their hottest May since records began, as a mass of hot, dry air blows in from Africa, bringing with it dusty skies and temperatures of more than 40°C. Spain’s state meteorological agency, Aemet, has warned of a weekend heat wave of an “extraordinary intensity,” with temperatures between 10°C and 15°C above the seasonal average and more akin to high summer than mid-May. “The early hours of 21 May have been extraordinarily hot for the time of year across a good part of the center and south of the peninsula,” Aemet said on Saturday. “In many places the
BUSINESS AS USUAL: Thousands of people were forcibly removed from their homes in the dead of night and all mentions of the incident were scrubbed from the Internet Thousands of COVID-19-negative Beijing residents were forcibly relocated to quarantine hotels overnight due to a handful of infections, as the Chinese capital begins to take more extreme control measures resembling virus-hit Shanghai. Beijing has been battling its worst outbreak since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 1,300 since late last month, leading city restaurants, schools and tourist attractions to be closed indefinitely. China’s strategy to achieve zero COVID-19 cases includes strict border closures, lengthy quarantines, mass testing and rapid, targeted lockdowns. More than 13,000 residents of the locked-down Nanxinyuan residential compound in southeast Beijing were
‘I’M STUNNED’: The disease is not known to be sexually transmitted, but a large outbreak might reveal previously unknown transmission routes, a virologist said Scientists who have monitored numerous outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa say they are baffled by the disease’s recent spread in Europe and North America. Cases of the smallpox-related disease have previously been seen only among people with links to central and West Africa. However, in the past week, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the US, Sweden, Canada all reported infections, mostly in young men who had not previously traveled to Africa. There are about 80 confirmed cases worldwide and 50 more suspected ones, the WHO said. France, Germany, Belgium and Australia reported their first cases on Friday. “I’m stunned by this. Every day I
INTERVENTION: A source said that a border patrol agent had rushed into the school without waiting for backup and killed the teen gunman, who was behind a barricade An 18-year-old man on Tuesday opened fire at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 children as he went from classroom to classroom, officials said. The attacker was killed by law enforcement. The death toll also included two adults, authorities said. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that one of the two was a teacher. The assault at Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a US school since a man killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. Outside the town civic center, where families were told to await news