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F-35 programme starts formal operational testing

07 December 2018
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The F-35 programme has officially started initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), a major milestone on the path to potential full rate production. (Lockheed Martin)The F-35 programme has officially started initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), a major milestone on the path to potential full rate production. (Lockheed Martin)The Pentagon announced on 6 December that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme has started initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E).

IOT&E will measure the effectiveness, suitability, lethality, survivability, and overall mission capability of the F-35 system. The Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team (JOTT), under the oversight of the independent Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), will execute formal IOT&E with international partner participation.

The JOTT began some pre-IOT&E events, such as cold weather operations, weapons demonstrations, suitability deployments, and lower threat missions, earlier this year. The formal IOT&E will test the system and identify areas for improvement in the most stressing operationally representative environments. It is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019.

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