The Pentagon has decided to postpone mass production of the F-35 fifth-generation fighter-bombers indefinitely. According to Bloomberg, officials have yet to indicate when the fighter jet will be ready for combat testing, which has been repeatedly postponed since 2017.
Tests were scheduled for December 2020, and a decision on mass production under the $398 billion program was to be made no later than March. Jessica Maxwell, a spokeswoman for U.S. Undersecretary of Defense, explained that technical problems and the impact of COVID-19 were the reasons for the cancellation.
The new date will be set after an independent technical review.
In October, Popular Mechanics magazine reported that the Lockheed Martin Corporation and the Pentagon agreed to delay the production of the F-35 Lightning II, as the military insists on verification of the final design of the serial machine on the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE). It was clarified that testing in a near-real environment would be too time-consuming and costly.
The family of multipurpose fifth generation fighters F-35 Lightning II has been produced since 2001 by the largest military-industrial corporation in the world Lockheed Martin. The aircraft is offered in three basic versions: A (for the Air Force), B (short takeoff and vertical landing) and C (deck). Unification in components of the three modifications reaches 70-90 percent.