F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Slower Than Expected Progress in Software Testing May Limit Initial Warfighting Capabilities

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Delays in developmental flight testing of the F-35's critical software may hinder delivery of the warfighting capabilities the military services expect. F-35 developmental flight testing comprises two key areas: mission systems and flight sciences. Mission systems testing verifies that the software-intensive systems that provide critical warfighting capabilities function properly and meet requirements, while flight sciences testing verifies the aircraft's basic flying capabilities. Challenges in development and testing of mission systems software continued through 2013, due largely to delays in software delivery, limited capability in the software when delivered, ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 26, 2014.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Delays in developmental flight testing of the F-35's critical software may hinder delivery of the warfighting capabilities the military services expect. F-35 developmental flight testing comprises two key areas: mission systems and flight sciences. Mission systems testing verifies that the software-intensive systems that provide critical warfighting capabilities function properly and meet requirements, while flight sciences testing verifies the aircraft's basic flying capabilities. Challenges in development and testing of mission systems software continued through 2013, due largely to delays in software delivery, limited capability in the software when delivered, and the need to fix problems and retest multiple software versions. The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) predicts delivery of warfighting capabilities could be delayed by as much as 13 months. Delays of this magnitude will likely limit the warfighting capabilities that are delivered to support the military services' initial operational capabilities—the first of which is scheduled for July 2015—and at this time it is not clear what those specific capabilities will be because testing is still ongoing. In addition, delays could increase the already significant concurrency between testing and aircraft procurement and result in additional cost growth. Without a clear understanding of the specific capabilities that will initially be delivered, Congress and the military services may not be able to make fully informed resource allocation decisions. Flight sciences testing has seen better progress, as the F-35 program has been able to accomplish nearly all of its planned test flights and test points. Testing of the aircraft's operational capabilities in a realistic threat environment is scheduled to begin in 2015. The program has continued to make progress in addressing some key technical risks."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 26, 2014

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Slower Than Expected Progress in Software Testing May Limit Initial Warfighting Capabilities, text, March 26, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302306/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.