The U.S. Navy Prepares To Declare F-35C Combat-Ready In 2019

F-35C Combat-Ready In 2019

U.S. Navy Prepares To Declare F-35 Combat-Ready In 2019

The U.S. Navy is gearing up to declare its F-35C carrier variant ready for war in 2019, the director of the F-35C integration office told Aerospace DAILY in his first interview in the role.

But the Navy won’t give the Joint Strike Fighter the green light until it successfully demonstrates its full warfighting software, 3F, during the final test period, initial operational test and evaluation, Rear Adm. Dale Horan said March 29 at the Pentagon.

The Navy has set a goal of declaring initial operating capability for Lockheed Martin’s new fighter between August 2018 and February 2019, so the service can sign off early next year and still be within that window. But that window is getting tighter: Due to delays in finishing the F-35’s $60 billion development period, initial operational test and evaluation is not scheduled to begin until September 2018 at the earliest.