Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II in trouble

Problems in the development of F-35 stealth fighter have raised fresh questions from Canada and many other countries. Technical glitches, high cost per unit and postponed production continue to cause problem for fighter program which is a joint venture between the United States and many countries including Canada Israel and Australia.

Recent software problem with fuel pump grounded all the 13 test units for some time. Norway pushed the year of purchase from 2016 to 2018 and there are uncertainties regarding the program in the Netherland’s coalition government. Delay in the European F-35 will effect economies in large scale and hence cost of each F-35 unit will increase.

Defence Minister of Canada Peter MacKay said the accounting problem is a “technical issue” between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin.

“We welcome the diligence, in fact, that is being exercised on the project. All the allies, including Canada, will benefit from this type of strong oversight’, he said.

“It’s not expected to have any impact on the cost for Canada, nor the delivered schedule of the 65 F-35 aircraft,” he said.

Concerns about the F-35’s performance have resulted partially from reports of simulations by RAND Corporation in which numerous Russian Sukhoi fighters defeat a handful of F-35s by denying tanker refueling. As a result of these media reports, then Australian defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon requested a formal briefing from the Australian Department of Defence  on the simulation. This briefing stated that the reports of the simulation were inaccurate and that it did not compare the F-35’s performance against that of other aircraft.

Lockheed Martin and the United States will fight hard to keep the F-35 program keep running. And these few glitches are not a major drawback and can be solved in the near future.

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