It seems a fair question given this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, "US official confident no cuts for fighter jets". Dan Oakes reports:
The troubled Joint Strike Fighter project is unlikely to be hit by any more massive cost or schedule overruns, according to a senior US defence official visiting Australia.
I wonder what she thinks of this?
I think there are more problems. In a Bloomberg Business News piece (subscription) by Tony Capaccio, "Pentagon Urged To Consider Slowing Lockheed F-35 Purchase Plan", it piles on to add more context to what was stated by the U.S. F-35 DOD program office boss the other day.
Capaccio reports on an internal DOD document dated toward the end of November that has a lot of woe in it.
The assessment, obtained by Bloomberg News, concluded that its lack of design confidence in conjunction with required fixes “supports serious reconsideration of procurement and production planning.”
For instance the USAF and USN find the fuel dumping process on the F-35 unacceptable because it leaves fuel on the skin surface of the aircraft, risking fire. This is something you do not want on a carrier after a jet traps. This will require redesign of the system.
The tail hook on the carrier variant failed all of its tests and needs a redesign.
The reliability of the integrated power pack (IPP) which grounded the program earlier in the year is very low.
The helmet display is still a large problem.
One of the issues mentioned is classified, but one can probably guess. For example, the Bloomberg article states that the hook redesign (this includes of course airframe redesign) could also have a negative effect on radar signature (survivability against high-end threats not a strong point with the F-35).
There is a lot more in the article.
In other news, Inside Defense (also subscription) reports that the start of pilot training may see more delay.
Air Force Secretary Agrees JSF Not Ready For Training; 'No Pressure' To Begin Prematurely
The Air Force's senior civilian has confirmed that there are still "outstanding risks associated with the Joint Strike Fighter flight training" at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, a sign of concurrence with the Pentagon's top weapons tester that the F-35 is not yet ready for unmonitored flight or formal training.
Starting training is "premature"? It is actually several years late.