U.S. Air Force Eyes Future F-35 Engine and Arms Upgrades

Reuters // April 08, 2015

The U.S. Air Force is on track to declare Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet ready for initial combat use by August or September 2016, and officials are already looking at possible future upgrades to its weapons, propulsion and avionics.

Major General Jeffrey Harrigian, the two-star general named in January to oversee all things F-35 for the Air Force, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday the program was making good progress, but he was keeping close tabs on key items required to meet the target date.

Those issues include software development, modification of existing jets to incorporate design changes, further work on a complex automated logistics system called ALIS and ensuring a sufficient number of technicians are trained to service the jet.

"There's a lot of work to be done ... but from where we sit, we're on the right glide path to IOC (initial operational capability)," Harrigian said.

Read the full article from Reuters.