Software Upgrades Lead to Delay in F-35 Operational Testing

By Rich Abbott | September 14, 2018
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F-35C. (Lockheed Martin)


Last month the Defense Department independent weapon tester delayed the start of F-35 operational testing by two months while it waits for the newest versions of software to be delivered.

Robert Behler, the director of operational test and evaluation (DOT&E), said in an Aug. 24 memo obtained by the Project on Government Oversight that the start of initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) for the F-35 is waiting until it gets software version 30R02.

The DOT&E office approved the current operationally-representative software version 30R00 for Pre-IOT&E Increment 2 test activities earlier this year because it was “adequate and relevant” to evaluating ship-ship missions involving lower end threats, the memo said.

However, Behler said version 30R02 provides “the next instantiation of operationally relevant and production-representative aircraft software” that better supports the required testing to adequately address the remaining mission areas. These includes strategic attack/air interdiction, offensive counter air, destruction and/or suppression of enemy air defenses, and electronic attack.

An F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) spokesperson said in an email that the JPO expects an operational test readiness certification in October, with the start of formal IOT&E expected in November. Under this timeline, IOT&E will be finished by next summer.

Read the full story on Defense Daily, a sister publication to Avionics

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