F-35 Deliveries Resume Following Checks for Readiness

DOD stopped delivery of the fighters and their F135 engines amid an investigation into a hard landing at a Texas military base late last year.

Deliveries of F-35 fighters have resumed after defense and industry officials determined they were ready for service. [Credit: Shutterstock]

The Defense Contract Management Agency and F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) have resumed acceptance of F-35s from Lockheed Martin and are working to deliver the fighters to their units with U.S. military services and other customers.

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense halted delivery of F-35s and their F135 engines amid a Navy investigation of an incident in which a pilot ejected from an F-35B following a hard landing at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas.

Before the recent acceptance, officials said, the F-35 passed a number of checks ensuring they are ready to re-enter regular operations with their units.

“The Government and industry team worked tirelessly on this effort and their work demonstrates true professionalism and a devotion to accomplish complex missions with stringent ingenuity,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, program executive officer, F-35 Joint Program Office. “The safety of our warfighters is always our highest priority.”

“Resuming acceptance and flight operations was the culmination of two and a half months of exceptionally strong partnerships with the JPO and industry teams. That work allowed us to confidently resume operations safely and deliver quality jets to our warfighter customers,” said Air Force Col. Joe Wimmer, commander of Defense Contract Management Agency Lockheed Martin Fort Worth.

Bridget Lauderdale, F-35 vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin, said, “Collaboration and partnership have been on full display as the joint team determined solutions and resumed F-35 deliveries. We are committed to equipping the warfighter to safely and effectively operate the unrivaled 5th Generation capabilities of the F-35.”

Defense officials said the F-35 remains the “premier air system of choice” for three of the U.S. Services, seven international partners, and an increasing number of foreign military customers.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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