The UK's F-35 fighter jets cannot transmit data to the Royal Navy's ships and older aircraft without revealing its position, putting a question mark over its 'stealth' capabilities, an investigation by the Times newspaper has found.
In addition, the plane's software system is vulnerable to cyber attack and cannot be tested independently by the UK. The weak broadband on the Royal Navy's principal aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is also hampering the jet's abilities.
Some of the planes are expected to be too heavy to safely conduct a vertical landing - a key function which the jet had been designed to carry out.
The real cost of the planes delivered this year will be more than £150 million each to cover 'extras' such as software upgrades and spare parts, The Times Said.
And there are concerns shortcomings in the technical systems. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin has said the jets will cost the UK between £77 million and £100 million each.
"The real virtue of the joint strike fighter is it's a stealthy information platform which happens to shoot down aircraft and bomb." General Sir Richard Barrons, who was in charge of the military's information networks until last year, was quote by the newspaper as saying.
It was 'utterly pathetic' that Britain had prioritised 'metal and platforms' over 'warfare in the information age', Barrons added.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said all the issues raised had been reported in the past and were under 'active management' by the Joint Strike Fighter joint programme office and the MoD.
The defense ministry said the programme remained 'wholly with its cost approval' and that it did not recognise the £150 million cost figure that newspaper has cited.
The US officials briefed German military on the F-35 fighter jets to this week. Berlin had requested for a classified briefing on the aircraft in May
Lockheed Martin is being awarded a $5.5 billion modification F-35 Lightning II low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 11 advance acquisition contract
Pratt & Whitney has been awarded an additional $339 million to a previous contract to build engines for the Department of Defenses (DoD) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft program. The company has been contracted to build spare engines, spare modules and spare parks to support the terms of the existing contract, according to a DoD release Wednesday
The Pentagon has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth more than $50 million to produce simulation software for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. "Lockheed Martin Corp
The Pentagon has awarded multiple contracts worth over $73 million to Lockheed Martin to support production of the F-35B Lightning II aircraft for the US and Japan air forces. The first contract awarded is worth $43 million for long-lead time materials, parts, components, and effort for production of five F-35s
Lockheed Martin is being awarded a $3.6 billion low-rate initial production Lot 11 F-35 Lightning II advance acquisition contract to manufacture 50 aircraft for international partners and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers
F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft fleet recently exceeded 100,000 flight hours while the F-35 Integrated Test Force teams are completing the remaining requirements in the program's System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase. The remaining development flight testing includes validating the final release of 3F software, F-35B ski jump testing, F-35B austere site operations, high-Mach Loads testing for both the F-35B and F-35C and completion of the remaining weapons delivery accuracy tests, A Lockheed Martin release said
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