DoD report: Value of F-35 student training is limited (DOCUMENT)

Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM.

The program

The Defense Department’s Department of Testing and Evaluation had recommended the Air Force delay its evaluation of the training program until the F-35 possesses combat capability, the DoD report states. The Air Force went ahead with it and the Testing and Evaluation Department was tasked with reviewing its findings for its recent analysis, which was released in February.

It shows a snapshot of a program still in its infancy, only one-third of the way through development, the report states.

The F-35, which has variants for the Air Force, Marines and Navy, is going through development, production, training and testing at the same time, a process dubbed concurrency that the jet’s developer Lockheed Martin originally touted as a way to save money and time.

The first years of the program have instead been plagued by cost overruns and delays.

A report released last week from the Government Accountability Office states the program has made significant developments in the past year and seems to be getting back on track, but rising long-term costs remain a major concern.

Acquisition of 2,457 jets was estimated to cost $395.7 billion in March 2012. That’s up from the $233 billion for 2,866 jets that was estimated in 2001 when the program was conceived, according to the GAO report.

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