USAF Sees No Major Hurdles To F-35 IOC
As the F-35 makes its international debut in the United Kingdom this week, a top U.S. Air Force general says there are no major hurdles to the service declaring the F-35A operational close to its target date of Aug. 1.
Lockheed Martin and program officials have been saying for months that the Air Force jets were about 60 days behind schedule, estimating the service would declare initial operational capability (IOC) around October. But Gen. Herbert Carlisle, chief of Air Combat Command, said July 7 the Air Force will be able to declare IOC toward the beginning of the promised window from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31.
“If you talk to the men and women at Hill [Air Force Base, Utah], August 1 is their plan,” Carlisle said July 7 at RAF Fairford. “I personally believe that we are going to be able to declare IOC at the leading edge of that window.”
After months of work to fix software bugs and improve the latest version of the jet’s integrated logistics system, the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), there are no more major obstacles to declaring IOC, Carlisle said.
“Nothing is really yellow or red,” Carlisle said, including ALIS.
The Air Force’s recent deployment to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, proved the Air Force could use a deployable version of ALIS—one of the requirements for IOC—in a remote location removed from any purpose-built F-35 infrastructure. The deployed aircraft successfully completed all 88 scheduled sorties, with no software glitches or stability issues.