|Is it ready yet? ... How 'bout now?|
Here's a good write up on how the JSF program is fairing at the current moment in time.
Basically there is some good, some bad. Among the good news:
- Deliveries are now being done closer to the original schedule.
- Management has been "shaken up" to improve results.
- The F-35 managed to emerge from U.S. "sequestration" rather unscathed.
- The program as a whole is still rather safe.
The bad news:
- Software is still a big issue. Block 2B software, which marks partial combat readiness won't be ready until 2015. Block 3, the "go-to-war" status, is still a ways off.
- The Helmet Mounted Dispay (HMD) is still causing issues. A second, less ambitious helmet is in the works, just in case.
- Carrier capable F-35Cs are still experiencing tailhook issues, with a new hook design slated for testing later this year.
- Durability testing has revealed some cracks in the bulkheads and ribs of the aircraft. Strengthening will likely be done while keeping within weight limits.
No mention is made of the crack found in the F-35 engine, or the F-35A that was forced to land at a civilian airport due to a caution light.
On the sales front, Singapore is said to be very close to committing to a F-35B purchase. The United Arab Emirates is interested as well. On the flip side, Denmark has joined Canada in reaching for the "reset button" on its planned purchase.
Is the JSF program finally starting to show real progress, is it beginning its "death spiral", or is it still too early to tell?