Pentagon officials have delayed approving full-rate production of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet because combat simulation testing that’s needed before that key decision on the $398 billion program has slipped into next year.
The testing that was originally scheduled for 2017 and most recently for December has been postponed again because of difficulties finishing technical preparations. Now, both the testing and the production decision “are scheduled in 2021,” Jessica Maxwell, spokeswoman for Defense Department acquisition chief Ellen Lord, said in a statement.
If the combat testing had begun in December, it would have taken an additional two to three months after its completion to transfer and analyze the data and then draft the final report for delivery to Pentagon leaders and Congress. That would put it in March of next year.
Now both events have slipped, Maxwell said, without providing alternate dates. (end of excerpt)
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