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The F-35 breaks too easily and takes too long to fix, Pentagon says
All of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants adopted across the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps "are breaking more often than planned and taking longer to fix," the Pentagon's chief weapons tester told lawmakers on Wednesday.
Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Department Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) director Robert F. Behler testified that the operational suitability of the Pentagon's F-35 fleet remains "at a level below service expectations."
"The fleet-wide monthly availability rate for U.S. aircraft, for the 12 months ending September 2019, was below the target of 65 percent," Behler said, noting that "no portion of the fleet" was close to meeting the ambitious goal of a 80 percent mission capable rate that then-Defense Secretary James Mattis set just over a year ago.
"None of the F-35 variants is meeting either the reliability or the maintainability metrics," added. "In short, for all variants, aircraft are breaking more often than planned and taking longer to fix."
This is no surprise for the perpetually-buggy aircraft. Indeed, the Pentagon's 2018 OT&E report released in February indicated that F-35's ongoing reliability issues have drastically shortened its airframe's life so far below expectations that there's "no improving trend in" available aircraft for both training and combat missions.
The following June, documented obtained by Defense News indicated that the Pentagon's F-35 variants continue to suffer from more than a dozen category 1 deficiencies that could potentially put pilots at risk during combat operations.
In July, then-defense secretary nominee Mark Esper told lawmakers that "unserviceable canopies" which an earlier GAO report had indicated "failed more frequently than expected" were preventing the DoD from reaching his predecessor's lofty readiness goal.
The Defense Department in October signed off on a $34 billion with Lockheed Martin to to purchase 478 F-35s from the defense contractor. At the moment, the Pentagon has been sending the most advnaced aircraft in modern military history into combat to blow up terrorist caves, so there's that I guess.
A former Marine arrested as he tried to enter the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May with a modified AK-47 rifle, handgun, body armor and ammunition faces federal weapons charges, officials said Friday.
There are 'thousands' of decisions to make about the new Space Force, but the military's 2nd-highest-ranking officer already knows the 'perfect partner'
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
The US military's newest service, the Space Force, is only about a month old, having been signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 20.
Military veterans from throughout Northeast Florida came together Saturday morning to honor comrades in arms who were prisoners of war or missing in action, and remember their sacrifice.
After the plane landed, Pope Army Airfield was silent on Saturday.
A chaplain prayed and a family member sobbed.
Tarah McLaughlin's fingers traced her husband's flag-draped coffin before she pressed two fingers to her lips then pressed her fingers to the coffin.
The remains of Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia, arrived back to Fort Bragg a week after he was killed Jan. 11 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, also was killed in the same incident.
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.