Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is set to begin later this month a long series of operational test and evaluation flights needed to prove the program is ready to enter full-rate production in fiscal year 2020, the Joint Program Office (JPO) confirmed to Aerospace Daily Dec. 4.
The approval ends a 16-month delay to the start of the formal initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) program, although the JPO launched a series of “pre-IOT&E” events earlier this year.
“Formal (IOT&E) will start later this month,” a JPO spokesman said. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: During the summer, the F-35 JPO was still insisting that IOT&E would begin in mid-November. While it now appears to have been rescheduled to late December, neither JPO nor Lockheed, manufacturer of the F-35, have yet issued any statements on the subject.