It’s no secret that the F-35 has had severe cost and schedule issues but as the programme matures, it’s shaping up to be a very capable platform.
The F-35 programme has gone through serious teething problems, problems also experienced by the majority of complex aircraft flying today such as the F-15, Typhoon or any other modern combat jet. The biggest issue for the project continues to be the fact it is the most expensive military weapons system in history owing to the sheer scope of the programme but that being said, aircraft costs are now coming down and will soon be similar to the cost of many aircraft it’s replacing.
Today the programme is maturing rapidly, right now much of the activity around the jet is dealing with software bugs and testing to validate the software, with most of the physical testing being to do with weapons integration and the gradual scaling up of capabilities that comes with each new software block.
The F-35A and B variants have also been declared operational by US and Israeli forces with the UK following suit at the end of this year. In fact, HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently sailing to the United States to begin trials of the jet from her deck.