F-35 Lightning II Started IOT&E

WASHINGTON, the United States (BulgarianMilitary.com) – The F-35 Joint Program Office announced on 6th December 2018 that Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II has started IOT&E (Initial Operational Test and Evaluation) under the supervision of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), learned BulgarianMilitary.com

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The Initial Operational Test and Evaluation process will assess the suitability, effectiveness, lethality, survivability and overall mission capability of the aircraft as reported by the F-35 Joint Program Office.

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The F-35 Lightning II of Lockheed Martin is a family of single-seat, single-engined, all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is developed for ground-attack and air-superiority missions. Its main models are three: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) variant.

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All three versions of the F-35 will be field tested under realistic combat conditions in late summer next year. This is needed for determining the operational effectiveness and suitability of the stealth fighter for combat.

“The F-35 enterprise will work together to understand and holistically address any findings. Following the evaluation and the DOT&E report provided to Congress, the US Government will have data to inform its ‘Milestone C’ decision, leading to formal entry into full rate production,” commented from the Joint Program Office.

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The plans of the Pentagon include the purchase of some 2,456 copies of the F-35. But before that, the IOT&E shall be completed in order the Department of Defense to be legally allowed to start full-rate production for acquiring the F-35 in large batches. When a full-rate production is started it would guarantee multi-year orders to Lockheed Martin.

It shall be reminded that in November Lockheed Martin won a $22.7 billion contract from the Joint Program Office to deliver 255 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters to the three branches of the U.S. armed services and international operators.

Read more: Lockheed Martin Received a $22.7 Billion F-35 Supply Contract

More than 340 F-35s are already operating from 15 bases all over the world, for the U.S. military branches and international partner nations. The U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B also made its combat debut in September this year in Afghanistan.

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Source: FlightGlobal, Defense News, Wikipedia