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Sat, Sep 23, 2023

F-35 Delivery Dates Slip into 2024

Upgraded Lightnings Won’t Be In USAF Hands This Year After All

Lockheed Martin says that the expected, upgraded F-35 Lightning II’s slated for delivery this year will have to be delayed until 2024, pushing back the introduction of the Tech Refresh 3 (TR-3) package.

The change cuts into the expected F-35 fleet quite a bit, with 97 TR-2 aircraft on tap for delivery this year, about 20 fewer than they had planned. Overall, the TR-3 software development process is, in typical F-35 fashion, delayed. Earlier admissions of prolonged development had already pushed 2023 deliveries from 147 to 153 aircraft down to 100 to 120. Lockheed has targeted a rate of about156 annual deliveries as a goal, now promising that it will be achieved in 2025.

Lockheed points the finger at “suppliers”, a wide-ranging group of international partners required to bring the F-35 to fruition. This time, company personnel backed up the assertion to reporters, plopping the blame on L3Harris’ desk. They said the firm’s INtegrated Core Processor had caused most delays due to “unexpected challenges” associated with… well, everything. Challenges with “hardware, software, system qualification testing, system integration testing, and component integration. The TR-3 upgrade essentially depends entirely on the L3Harris module. In order to put the spur to the horse’s ribs, the Lockheed staffer said that they had deployed company personnel to L3Harris to help “expedite hardware delivery”. 

L3Harris, not to be the only one given a public wedgie over the TR-3 problem, was quick to clarify that they had tendered a “fully qualifiable Integrated Core Processor well over a year ago”, admitting only that the company “overcame some early design challenges”. 

FMI: www.lockheedmartin.com

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