Report warns software problems could delay F-35

A Pentagon report warns that software and maintenance problems with the F-35 could delay Marine Corps plans to begin using the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by mid-2015, Reuters reports.

The unreleased report from the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, Michael Gilmore, faults an “unacceptable” performance of the fighter jet’s software.

Gilmore predicts a potential 13-month delay to complete testing of the Block 2B software, which is required before the Marines can begin using the jets in combat next year, according to the draft report obtained by Reuters.

The report on Pentagon weapons programs, which is due to Congress next week, said Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is less reliable and harder to maintain than expected.

F-35 program chief Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan said that the report did not reflect the efforts already underway to address the software and reliability issues.

"The basic design of the F-35 is sound, and test results underscore our confidence in the ultimate performance that the United States and its international partners and allies value so highly," Bogdan said in a statement to Reuters. "Of course, we recognize risks still exist in the program, but they are understood and manageable."