F-35 program gets some good news and some bad news

One of original selling points of the F-35 fighter program was that it be cheaper to acquire since multiple countries would purchase the aircraft, making the cost per unit lower than it would be if one country footed the bill alone. Over the years as the program has been delayed, some countries have backed out or reduced the number of aircraft they want to purchase. This in turn has caused the costs for the program to increase.
Thankfully, there was recently some good news to report with the program -- South Korea chose the F-35 Lightning II as its next generation fighter aircraft. South Korea has agreed to buy 40 F-35A aircraft, with delivery of the first batch of jets scheduled for 2018.
South Korea had been deciding between the F-35, F-15SE, and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The agreement makes South Korea the third foreign military sales customer for the aircraft joining in with Israel and Japan.
While the South Korean orders are definitely good news, some bad news also surfaced this week. We’ve learned that more software delays may slow the operational capability for the F-35.

Lockheed F-35B
“However, persistent software problems have slowed progress in mission systems flight testing, which is critical to delivering the warfighting capabilities expected by the military services,” General Accounting Office (GAO) inspectors concluded.
“These persistent delays put the program’s development cost and schedule at risk. [I]f software testing continues to be delayed, if funding falls short of expectations, or if unit cost targets cannot be met, DoD may have to make decisions about whether to proceed with production as planned with less capable aircraft or to alter the production rate.”
Special deployment of the problem-plagued F-35B STOVL version of the aircraft to be used by the U.S. Marines could be delayed by another 13 months if software development doesn't remain on track. 

Sources: Defense News, Defense News

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