The F-35 Lightning II stealth jet’s Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) has been put on hold as the hosting California’s Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) records four cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus infection.
The tests, if conducted, would have certified the Lockheed F-35 for full production. The Pentagon has bought numerous small batches of the F-35 under low-rate production. Over 500 F-35s comprising all of its three variants have already been built.
“As of 4 p.m. on March 25, 2020, Edwards AFB has 4 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (one active duty member and three family members); all four members reside off base,” EAFB said in a statement.
The closure has put the F-35’s evaluations on hold, possibly including development of its Joint Simulation Environment (JSE), a high-tech combat flight simulator that must become operational before the Pentagon will certify the aircraft for full production, which is expected in 2021. Pentagon testers call it the “F-35 in a Box.”
“The F-35 Test Enterprise is experiencing impacts across most major verification venues as various organizations respond to federal, state, and local COVID-19 restrictions,” Brandi Schiff, a spokesperson for the F-35 joint program office, was quoted as saying by Defense News on Wednesday.
“As of today, F-35 flight test organizations have ceased flight operations, but organizations that can continue verification activities via telework are continuing to do so,” she noted. “Additionally, select lab and ground test activities are ongoing, and aircraft limited maintenance activities are ongoing to maintain fleet readiness.”
Schiff further noted that “although certain developmental and fielding activities will likely experience delays, the F-35 teams continue to assess ways of furthering efforts while protecting and preserving our workforce’s health and safety.”
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord, however, said that she “can’t comment on the full rate production decision.”
“What I will tell you is we are moving forward. While we have COVID-19 we still have normal operations executing on our programs,” Lord stated.
Australian based Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) has secured a contract to produce and export ammunition for the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme. RNM will begin production of 25mm Frangible Armoured Piercing (FAP) projectiles at the federal government-owned Benalla plant in Victoria
Indonesia is still mulling over its procurement project in which Russias Su-35 is being pitted against US F-35, and has not yet rejected the former as reported in the media. “Russia has not received official notification of termination of Indonesian contract where it was to supply 11 Su-35 fighters to the country,” sources ffrom Russias aviation industry were quoted as saying by
Indonesia has made a case for purchasing US-made F-35 fighter jets instead of Russian Su-35 aircraft, the countrys Deputy Defence Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono said. However, the Su-35 deal had not been canceled and Jakarta is under no pressure from Washington to walk away from the deal, Trenggono said today in comments made to CNN Indonesia
The Pentagon has awarded Pratt & Whitney $320 million to supply 32 F135 engines to power F-35 stealth jets of the US Air Force, US Navy and Japan. “United Technologies Corp
Pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF)'s Avro transport aircraft carrying COVID-19 supplies managed to land the plane safely at Agra air base after one of its engines caught fire mid-air. The incident that occurred Tuesday took place soon after the aircraft took off from the air base at an altitude of around 250 feet, Indian media reported citing IAF sources on Wednesday
Eurosatory in Paris, the worlds biggest defense exhibition with some 1800 exhibitors registered, finally pulled the plug on the 2020 event owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. "The current situation no longer makes Eurosatory possible in 2020
The US Navy's USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier is heading for a possible quarantine into Guam following the positive testing for COVID-19 virus of three sailors and possible infections of dozens more. According to the US media, the number of positive COVID-19 cases on the warship, that had 5,000 personnel on board, spiked to 23
Airbus has announced resumption of production and assembly activities at wing plants located in Spain, France and other European countries amid COVID-19 pandemic. “Airbus partially resumed production and assembly work in France and Spain on 23 March following a four-day pause
Estonia Receives 128 Raytheon Javelin Anti-tank Missiles
Saab to Supply Water-bombing Aircraft to Sweden
Boeing Preparing KC-46 Aerial Tanker for Autonomous Refueling
US Navy Orders 3 More Boeing MQ-25 Stingray Aerial Refueling Drones
Chinese Military Docs Develop Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine
Russia’s Buk-M3 Air Defense System to Debut at Victory Day Parade
China Replaces Russian Engine in J-10C Jet With Locally-made WS-10 Taihang
Venezuelan Maritime Patrol Boat Sinks After Collision With Portuguese Cruise Ship
After laying to rest its pacifist post-World War II posture since the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to...
China is pulling off the impossible- selling arms to nations it is in conflict with over its claim in the...
Several joint production and direct procurement programs could be halted if the US and Europe carry through with their threat...
Sanctions-hit Iran has found ingenious ways to develop military hardware
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating the defence industry to aid and improve human decision-making
Upgrade of Russias Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to equip them with armaments, radar, sensors and engines from the more powerful Su-35...