Air Combat Command opines that the conventional takeoff version of a battle ready F35A, will take to the skies sometime in 2017.
Although Lockheed Martin won the contract to build the F-35 Lightning II fighter jets fifteen years back and despite facing daunting technical problems and several cost overruns, the defense contractor has now almost reached the finish line: the USAF has official declared that the F35A is ready for combat duty.
Technically, the F35A – the conventional takeoff model of the advanced fighter aircraft, can now be deployed on real world missions, if necessary.
While the F35 is combat ready, Jon Ostrower, from the Wall Street Journal has reported that the advanced jet will not be in a position to be deployed until “at least” October, buying some time for the ISIS thugs.
As of now, the fighter’s current software prevents it from making full use of its weapons capability, including the launching of certain weapons. Air Combat Command estimates that the jets will be deployed sometime in 2017.
So essentially, the current version of the F35A has reached a milestone in the combat worthiness of its development cycle.
Incidentally, the F35B – the short/vertical takeoff and landing mode, was already ready in July 2015. However, at that time, as per the Marine Corps, its software had bugs and was missing key functionalities.
As for the F-35C, the aircraft carrier friendly version for the Navy, isn’t active as yet.
Now that this critical milestone has been reached, it is unlikely that it will be long before this advanced fighter jet becomes the mainstay for the U.S. military.