Purpose other companies associated with the production are Northrop


of Study


The F35 and its Variants is
one of the largest programs by the DOD. The F35 is designed for its air
superiority, and most advanced weapon system. It’s cutting edge technology
makes it incomparable to its competitors. The programs main contractor is
Lockheed Martin, and the other companies associated with the production are Northrop
Grumman, and BAE Systems. It replaces the legacy aircraft with the fifth
generation aircraft with radar evading stealth, comprehensive integrated sensor
package of any fighter aircraft in history. 8(Lockheed Martin, 2013, para. 2)

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The F35 JSF program has by far
been one of the most time consuming and overbudgeted program in the history. It
has been through constant production delays and overbudget. The purpose of this
study is to understand why the F35 is been through constant production delay
and over budget and why Verification and validation is important in a project.
For the study, data were collected from research papers, DOD websites and government
research documents. These data revealed issues with the software, helmet
mounted display malfunctions, design flaws, maintenance issues, scheduling problems
etc.; thus all these factors where a cause in the delay of production.
Moreover, the program has been restructured four times in a period of 10 years
(2004,2007, 2010 and 2012) and other data revealed that the testing schedule
was also delayed by a long time. It was assumed that the research would also
help in determining if further delays in production or testing of the project
would affect the final schedule that is during. Critics and officials stated
that if the program is further delayed and proves to be costly, it can also lead
to termination of the project.





F-35 Lightning II

The F-35 Lightning II is a
single -seat, single engine all weather fighter plane that has been until now
one of the most expensive military operations headed by Lockheed Martin. The
F-35 is supposed to be specialized in their ground and airstrike. It is
incomparable to its rivals in terms of stealth, technology, fighter speed and
agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations. Its roots
have started from the late 1992 s and officially came into design and
manufacturing plan during 2001 and is expected to be completed by 2018. The
time duration has made questions arise and the authorities to become spectacle
if this operation should be terminated. The F35 resembles the F22 raptor which
has also been compared as a smaller version of F-35. It is a 5th
generation fighter which will replace the obsolete legacy fighters in the US
Airforce, The U. S navy, the U.S Marine 1

According to the research
conducted this operation has by far been the most expensive military weapons in
the history. Due to its expense and time duration it has been criticized by
people and the government itself. By 2014, the program was “$163 billion
over budget and seven years behind schedule”. 31. The purpose of this
study is to understand why the F35 lightning II has taken more than a decade
and has still failed to complete its production yet. Critics argue that the
plane is “plagued with design flaws”, with many blaming the procurement
process in which Lockheed was allowed “to design, test, and produce the
F-35 all at the same time, instead of… identifying and fixing defects before
firing up its production line”. 43

“In January 2015, mock combat
testing pitted the F-35 against an F-16, one of the fighters it is slated to
replace. The F-35A was flown “clean” with empty weapon bays and without any
drag-inducing and heavy externally mounted weapons or fuel tanks. The F-16D, a
heavier and somewhat less capable training version of the mainstay F-16C, was
further encumbered with two 370-gallon external wing-mounted fuel tank’s”. 2
According to other research conducted F-35A’s was less maneuverable and was
inferior to F-16D.

The F35 raptor has three variants
(F-35A, F35B, F35C) the variants differ in their mode of landing such
conventional take of landing, short takeoff and landing, carrier version
respectively. The sensor package designed for the F35 is supposed to be one of
the most advanced technology with superior
infrared and ground-looking sensors and with immense computing power which
would let the pilot give a full view on a single screen rather than flipping
between different screens for distinct functions.

specially designed helmet mounted(HMD) display for the pilots are also computed
with the sensor giving advantage for the pilots view data in front of them in
any direction they wish to view. 200. The scope of the project also included
the F35 to be super advanced in providing the pilot with information regarding
enemy detection and situational awareness like providing a warning and uninterrupted
transfer of data with the ground base or system. 300


vehicle Interface design

In the F35 the PVI is the
software and is used as a graphical user interface. The interface or software
has multiple formats that help in windowing of data and content and control
integration. This interface is not as flexible as a desktop. The PVI is the
most important part of the cockpit and it is designed in such way that the
pilot can arrange and resize the window. The PVI is designed by subject matter
experts. The challenging part of the PVI was not the design but to implement it
on the target hardware system and because of constant delay in production the
PVI design had to be redrafted, as many of the part and systems started
becoming obsolete and it required technical updates 100

The F35 Cockpit was designed
in a way to accommodate male pilots weighing around 245lb and female pilots
weighing 103lb and spaced appropriately to eject the pilot in case of emergency.



Verification and Validation

Verification is defined as “proof
of compliance with design solution specifications and descriptive documents “.it
basically means if the product or system that was build has met the
requirements that where mentioned by the customer and other stakeholders.
Validation is “proof that the product has met its intended purpose based on the
stakeholder’s expectation”. For both verification and validation, the proof of
compliance is produced by running tests, analysis, demonstrations and
modelling. Verification and validation is a crucial phase of any project as it
is during this stage that all the design flaws, uncertainties and
irregularities can be recorded and improved upon.

Verification and validation
starts with requirements that are expected by the customer to the technical requirements
needed for any system. These requirements, if not properly validated and recorded
can result in scope creep too. However perfect it may be, there is always a
change or addition of requirement in any project. So, to tackle this, proper requirement
analysis must be made using tools such as functional block diagram etc.
Requirements must be verifiable, achievable, logical, integral and definitive.

In a fighter jet, space craft
or a flight since there are many subsystems, parts, technical functionalities
to consider, the verification and validation process often becomes rigorous and
expensive. Verification and validation of models is very important in systems
engineering because it is hard to recreate, working environments in the ground
such as altitudes, freefalls etc., all these simulations are carried out by
using different models. Model validation is an objective evidence that the
models that where used for mission test and analysis where accurate and
reflected the real world, which ultimately help in making critical decisions.

Software testing is itself
another branch in the verification and validation process, it includes post
launch software check-out tests, software upgrade demonstration, differential testing,
multitasking overload etc. The objective of the software and system test phases
is to identify all the differences between the desired behavior and delivered
behavior and to document them. Verification and Validation analysis,
demonstrations, and other test results are to be documented as they are records
which are needed for future reference and acts as a checklist for which of the
negative results that existed were corrected for.  F35 Lightning II and it its variants the
verification validation and testing according to reports and articles where
delayed by 5 years (2013-2018).6


Since the official start of
program in 2001, there has been numerous setbacks and delays in the production
phase due to improper scheduling, design flaws, mechanical flaws , maintenance
issues , increase in the cost.  A
thorough review of the program was asked upon by Secretary Panetta, which
calculated four rebase line programs in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2012. The problem
to be addressed is that it is not known how constant production delays within
the F-35 JSF program could directly affect national security of the Nation.5



The F35 uses Block2B software
system and according to the pentagon testing they discovered a lot of issues
with the software. The software was supposed to make the fighter, accurate in
its weapon delivery which it failed to do so, it also showed trouble in friend
/ enemy identification, radars and electro-optical targeting. The worst
deficiencies were found in the Block 2B’s navigation and accuracy software
aspects. These software problems slowed weapons integration and flight-testing,
and with it the entire aircraft’s development. 7

“The 2BS5 software package,
which deals with sensors, also continues to run into difficulties. According to
the report, fusion of information from own-ship sensors, as well as fusion of
information from off-board sensors is still deficient. The Distributed Aperture
System continues to exhibit high false-alarm rates and false target tracks, and
poor stability performance, even in later versions of software.”7



ALIS- it
acts as a IT backbone or a IT support of the F35.The software is designed to
monitor, send and receive data between the ground personal and the pilot
regarding any issues or troubleshoots that arise with the plane.

According to the report,
“ALIS is behind schedule, has several capabilities delayed or deferred to
later builds, and has been fielded with deficiencies.” 7Some of these
deficiencies include misrepresenting the health of F-35 aircraft. The system
has gone beyond the approved size, bulk, and weight. 7



The fuel tank of the F35 B was
redesigned to prevent explosive interaction from oxygen and other gases from
mixing from the aircrafts fuel and intake tanks. During the testing phase, the
redesigned model has some discrepancies. There were some problems in aircraft
integration that would require further hardware and software modifications.7


 Other Problems

According to data collected,
the Pentagon report say that the F35 and its other variants  have many parts that require frequent maintenance
and most parts also have reliability issue with some of the parts which
included  the landing gear, thermal
management systems, ejection seat assemblies, cockpit display electronics unit,
helmet display units, and ignition spark on the turbine engine These studies
show that the maintenance of all these parts and have definitely resulted in
budget for the F35 and also loss of time. Another problem that was encountered
during the span of the mission is that some parts started to become obsolete as
the mission progressed for e.g. one of the reports said that there emerged
difficulties in firing at some angles as the flight control system degraded as
the mission life kept progressing.





Cost is an important aspect of
any project and it is the project managers and the systems engineer who analyses
the project lifecycle cost model because it can adversely affect the project.
If the estimate is too high the project can be rejected and if it is high it
can be accepted. So in the case of F35 raptor at the initial phase the systems
engineer failed to analyze the uncertainties and flaws and other maintenance
related expenditure that would be required in the future and accepted the
project and now after billions of dollars of expenditure the project has
reached a situation where it cannot be killed. According to the tables and
graphs below, a poor cost risk analyses estimate was done on the F35 project. The
National Defense Authorization act during the year 2015 has asked to GOA
(government accountability office) to consider the project and review the cost
budget and the lifecycle cost of the F35 variants. The Estimates provided by
The GAO are shown below.


F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program

According to research the baseline
total cost of estimate of the F35 raptor during the year (2001-2010) was around
$213,708.2 dollars and as per the baseline estimate of 2010-2012 it was $326,535.2
and in 2015 the total acquisition costs rose to 347 billion dollars. This
project has been sinking in billions of dollars where it could be used for
other projects. Even after spending billions and billions for its production, development
and its maintenance the F35 raptor possess many flaws and design discrepancies
and other issues which requires millions to be fixed. The program would require
an average of $12 billion per year from 2016 through 2038.This cost can only be
put down if there is a mass order of the F35.200

Table 1: Changes in Reporte

d F-35 Joint Strik

e Fighter Program Cost,

Quantity, and Deliv

eries, 2001-2015



October 2001 initial baseline

March 2012 latest baseline


Percentage Change from 2001 to 2012

Percentage Change from 2012 to 2015

Expected quantities (number of aircraft)

Developmental quantities






Procurement quantities






Total quantities






Cost estimates (then-year dollars in billions)a













Military construction






Total program acquisition






Unit cost estimates (then-year dollars in millions)a

Program acquisition






Average procurement






Estimated delivery and production dates

Initial operational capability






Full-rate production






Source: GAO analysis of
Department of Defense (DOD) data. | GAO-17-351

Note: The 2016 cost data were not
available during the time of our review.

projected cost estimates expressed in then-year dollars reflect inflation
assumptions made by a program.

the baseline was finalized, DOD had not yet identified new initial operational
capability dates for the military services.



Due to the increase in cost in
the procurement , per unit cost and development and other operation cost there
was a huge decline in the planned no. of production quantities. Initially
during 2001 total procurement quantity was 2866 and it went down to 2457
according to the estimation received during 2015. This decline is clearly
represented in the graph below by the GAO analysis of the department of






Some of the reports said that
participants in the program believed that concurrency was the main driving
factor for increasing the cost of the program













This research case study
helped to gain a deep understanding of F35 JSF program and what are the reasons
for its huge production delay. It also sought to explain how Verification and
validation is crucial for any project as it is during this phase that errors
and other issues can be found out and improved upon. Furthermore, this study
attempted to explain how this program as gone out of budget from the very start
itself and how it could cost millions of dollars more if management and
authorities take appropriate remedial measures. This case study also addresses modernization
standards that are not sustained because of constant issues such as budget
costs, technological errors, and scheduling mishaps.

The F35 JSF program has gone
through many challenges such as the budget costs, functionality and software
errors and problems related to scheduling. According to my perspective some of
the ways these could be reduced by conducting timely meetings with the project
managers or systems engineer regarding the advancement in the project in timely
intervals, making sure the project is within schedule. Scheduling problems can
be corrected by proper resource allocations, using critical path method and by
following a well-structured WBS system. There was also a huge delay in the
testing phase which was nearly 5 years. Validation of the requirements must be
done in the initial phase itself as it may lead to ambiguous requirement and
ultimately scope creep. The idea of including all the requirement for the F35
to make it the most advanced weapon system of its kind may have lead it to become
an unachievable target, and making it delay its production indefinitely.








1 1


 8  https://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/f35.html


7 http://www.businessinsider.com/here-are-all-the-problems-with-the-f-35-that-the-pentagon-found-in-a-2014-report-2015-3





6 ASSE text – Larson


1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II