The Pentagon has decided to postpone full-scale production of fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bombers indefinitely, Bloomberg reported.
The agency is not yet ready to indicate when they will be ready for combat tests, which were postponed from 2017.
Tests were scheduled for December 2020, and a decision on mass production was to be made no later than March. According to the press secretary of the deputy head of the Pentagon Ellen Lord, the reason for the cancellation was “technical problems and the impact of COVID-19.” A new date will be appointed based on an independent technical examination.
Bloomberg notes that after testing, it will take another two to three months to analyze the data, and then draw up a final report for the Pentagon and Congress.
On December 28, the military-industrial corporation Lockheed Martin, which produces the F-35, announced that 123 fighters were delivered to the Pentagon and foreign customers in 2020 instead of the planned 141. The reason was the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The US Armed Forces received 74 aircraft, 31 fighters were supplied to the countries participating in the program for its creation, and another 18 – to foreign buyers.