The U.S. military's growing fleet of F-35 stealth fighters will fall short of the 80 percent readiness goal that former Defense Secretary James Mattis instituted before quitting in protest of President Donald Trump's foreign policy in January 2019.
Former Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, who is Trump's nominee to replace Mattis, in mid-July 2019 told a Senate committee the roughly 300-strong fleet of F-35s belonging to the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps "is not expected" to meet Mattis's readiness goal.
Esper blamed the F-35's canopy, or "transparency."
"Transparency supply shortages continue to be the main obstacle to achieving this," Esper told the committee. "We are seeking additional sources to fix unserviceable canopies."
America's most expensive weapon — Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter — is still struggling with a number of serious problems, such as destructive chain reactions triggered by a flat tire, a weird green glow on the helmet display that makes it difficult to land on aircraft carriers, and a loss of stealth at supersonic speeds.
Documents obtained by Defense News indicate that the U.S. military's fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighters continue to suffer from more than a dozen issues that could potentially put pilots at risk or jeopardize a mission.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Department of Defense has a "handshake" agreement with Lockheed Martin Co to cut 8.8 percent from the price of its latest order of F-35A fighter jet, shaving a year from the time frame in which each aircraft will cost less than $80 million, a Pentagon official said on Monday.
The Pentagon said over three years the agreement will be worth $34 billion for 478 F-35 fighter jets. It is preliminary and a final deal is expected to be sealed in August for the 12th batch of jets, one of the most expensive aircraft ever produced.
(JASDF's 3rd Air Wing, 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron)
The F-35 that went missing in April crashed after the pilot lost his spatial awareness and slammed the fighter into the Pacific Ocean at almost 700 mph, the Japanese defense ministry said Monday, according to multiple reports.
A Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A Joint Strike Fighter piloted by Maj. Akinori Hosomi of the 3rd Air Wing's 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron mysteriously vanished from radar on April 9 about 85 miles east of Misawa Air Base.
The U.S and Japan dispatched military assets to assist in search and rescue operations. The U.S. ended its search in May, but the Japanese military kept going until last week.