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Crucial F-35 Combat Test Risks a Delay to 2022, Five Years Late

  • Jet’s simulator test had been originally scheduled for 2017
  • $398 billion F-35 has been plagued by delays over two decades
Two F-35 fighter jets.
Two F-35 fighter jets.Source: U.S. Air Force

The stealthy F-35 jet may not complete its most critical stage of combat testing until about September 2022, the latest in a series of delays that has set America’s most expensive weapons program back by years, Pentagon officials were told last month.

The rigorous testing in the $398 billion program that was once planned for 2017 was most recently scheduled for December. But the Defense Department’s F-35 program office has now projected the target date for the monthlong simulator testing as August 2022, according to a briefing chart used in a mid-March review.