Friday, March 8, 2013

Top Tester Says F-35A 'Immature' For Training; JPO Says 'Ready For Training'

Top Tester Says F-35A 'Immature' For Training; JPO Says 'Ready For Training': Is. Isn't. That about sums up the latest kerfuffle between the Pentagon's top operational tester -- who Congress watches very closely -- the Air Force and and the program office overseeing the plane's development, known as The Joint Program Office.

"Little can be learned from evaluating training in a system this immature," Michael Gilmore, director of Operational test and Evaluation wrote in "F-35A Joint Strike Fighter: Readiness for Training Operational Utility Evaluation," a Feb 15 report, one which had at least one Pentagon source sputtering with indignation and a touch of exasperation.

On the other hand, the JPO issued this statement:

"The U.S. Air Force conducted the operational utility evaluation for its F-35As and determined its training systems were ready-for-training. F-35 operational and maintenance procedures will continue to mature as the training tempo accelerates. The DOT&E report is based upon the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team report which found no effectiveness, suitability or safety response that would prohibit continuation of transitioning experienced pilots in the F-35A Block 1A.1 transition and instructor pilot syllabus."