By Tim Starks
Just when the news seems to start going right for the F-35, it starts going wrong again.
Dave Majumdar at the Daily Beast has, in the past week, delivered a couple damaging stories on the most expensive weapons system in human history.
“New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019″ is just like it sounds. “Even though the Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35, is supposed to join frontline U.S. Marine Corps fighter squadrons next year and Air Force units in 2016, the jet’s software does not yet have the ability to shoot its 25mm cannon. But even when the jet will be able to shoot its gun, the F-35 barely carries enough ammunition to make the weapon useful,” he writes.
“Newest U.S. Stealth Fighter ‘10 Years Behind’ Older Jets” is all about its sensor system, as the sub-headline explains: “America’s $400 billion, top-of-the-line aircraft can’t see the battlefield all that well. Which means it’s actually worse than its predecessors at fighting today’s wars.”
Tyler Rogaway has some “caveats” to offer on the sensor system, although he finds the thrust of the story to be accurate. And at least the F-35 will be able to do some shooting and bombing, per the first story.
On the plus side, the F-35 “ended the year on a high note” by “meeting its principal production goal late last month with the delivery of the final F-35 Lightning II for 2014.” Perhaps that’s contingent on whether you exclude Dec. 31 from 2014, when the can’t-fire-its-gun story came out.