The F-35 program has been moving quickly to fix hundreds of deficiencies but is only seeing a minor decrease in the overall number. As fixes are being made, new deficiencies are being found. An annual assessment by Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, says “software changes, intended to introduce new capabilities or fix deficiencies, often introduced stability problems and adversely affected other functionality.” One of the most notable deficiencies is in the F-35A accuracy of its GAU-22A gun, which the director of the Pentagon’s Operational Test & Evaluation office considers unacceptable. Investigations have revealed misalignments and cracking near the gun muzzle and have restricted gun use to combat only for production Lot 9 and newer aircraft. Anthony Capaccio of Bloomberg writes:
Add a gun that can’t shoot straight to the problems that dog Lockheed Martin Corp.’s $428 billion F-35 program, including more than 800 software flaws.
The 25mm gun on Air Force models of the Joint Strike Fighter has “unacceptable” accuracy in hitting ground targets and is mounted in housing that’s cracking, the Pentagon’s test office said in its latest assessment of the costliest U.S. weapons system.
The annual assessment by Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, doesn’t disclose any major new failings in the plane’s flying capabilities. But it flags a long list of issues that his office said should be resolved — including 13 described as Category 1 “must-fix” items that affect safety or combat capability — before the F-35’s upcoming $22 billion Block 4 phase.
The number of software deficiencies totaled 873 as of November, according to the report obtained by Bloomberg News in advance of its release as soon as Friday. That’s down from 917 in September 2018, when the jet entered the intense combat testing required before full production, including 15 Category 1 items. What was to be a year of testing has now been extended another year until at least October.
“Although the program office is working to fix deficiencies, new discoveries are still being made, resulting in only a minor decrease in the overall number” and leaving “many significant‘’ ones to address, the assessment said….
Video – How Powerful is the GAU-22/A Gatling Gun: