Software test problems could set F-35 initial operational capability back more than a year, according to a Government Accountability Office report released March 24. “Delays in software delivery, limited capability in the software when delivered, and the need to fix problems and retest multiple software versions” could delay IOC as much as 13 months, according to the report’s executive summary. “Delays of this magnitude will likely limit the warfighting capabilities” of the F-35 by the planned IOC date. Furthermore, “it is not clear what those specific capabilities will be,” given the fact the software is still in testing, GAO stated. Flight testing is comprised of both the software and flight dynamic testing, which GAO reported is going much more smoothly and is achieving all test points to date. GAO warned that the Pentagon must “increase funds steeply” to an average $12.6 billion annually to keep the program on track, posing a budgetary risk.
While U.S. military leaders worry about China as a near-peer threat, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has doubts has serious doubts about the PLA’s political reliability, leadership, and ability to mobilize, fight, and win wars, according to a new report.