U.S. Air Force eyes decision on F-35 combat readiness soon
RAF FAIRFORD, England (Reuters) – Efforts to declare an initial squadron of Lockheed Martin Corp fighter jets ready for combat are going “exceptionally well,” and a decision should be announced soon, the four-star general who will make the decision said on Thursday.
General Hawk Carlisle, commander of U.S. Air Force Combat Command, said he hoped to certify an “initial operational capability” of F-35 jets at the early end of an August to December timeframe set by the Air Force several years ago.
He said delays in completion of the latest software for the F-35’s computerized logistic system were “not a limiting factor” in his decision, since the current software worked during a recent test deployment from one Air Force base to another. The new software package is now expected to be completed in October or November, instead of August as expected.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Potter)