Nothing Good Old Engineering Can’t Fix

Maturation of the F-35 strike fighter is proceeding well and the challenges facing the F-35 program aren’t inherently different from those of past fighter development programs, said Vice Adm. David Venlet, F-35 program executive officer. “Every issue that we have in view today is very much in the category of normal development for fighter tactical aircraft,” Venlet told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s airland panel May 8. He added, “Good old-fashioned engineering is going to take care of every one of those.” While there’s still risk in the program, “I have confidence in the resilience of the [development] plan to absorb expected further learning discovery and stay on track,” said Venlet. He noted that his observations and assessments over the past year lead him to believe that “the basic aircraft and engine designs are sound.” In fact, the “engines are doing very well,” he said. (Venlet’s written testimony)