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Two official sources have now confirmed that initial operational test and evaluation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will not be completed before November 2015, 13 months later than the previous schedule. That schedule itself was adopted less than two years ago, in early 2008, so the program has now slipped two years in five since 2005, when the previous schedule was set. So much for the "four to six months" we've been hearing from Lockheed Martin. Dutch state secretary of defense Jack de Vries notified Parliament of the delay yesterday. Also, US deputy secretary of defense William Lynn told Australian audiences early this week that the program would be 13 months late. He's also reported as saying that the delay would have been 30 months - with testing dragging on until early 2017 - without the latest corrective measures, transferring money from production to development. Lynn also told the Australians that the production price had gone up, but that he could not say by how much. De Vries, meanwhile, has told Dutch lawmakers that he will get them a revised price by May, after the Pentagon releases the Selected Acquisitions Report (SAR) on the JSF - which is expected to result in a Nunn-McCurdy critical breach, which in turn will delay the contract for the next low-rate initial production batch of aircraft. Next question for the Pentagon: will the US services still hold their initial operational capability (IOC) dates? All three operators, under the new schedule, will be declaring IOC before development is completed.
ar99, jsf, Lockheed Martin
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