WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The squadron’s operational deployment test "will clear the way for ten operational jets from the first combat-coded squadron, which will follow this summer," the report added.
"The six test aircraft are flying training sorties alongside locally housed Fairchild Republic A-10s and Boeing F-15E Strike Eagles at a nearby weapons range," the article, which originally appeared on the aviation news website Flightglobal, stated.
Problems have included flaws in its fuel and hydraulic systems, poor cockpit visibility, faulty radar and ejection seats that do not work. The entire fleet was grounded in 2014 after an engine caught fire as a test pilot prepared to take off.
The F-35 fighter will be the most expensive military aircraft ever developed, with an estimated final cost of $400 billion, twice the original estimate. It will also be the most advanced, combining radar-evading and radar-jamming capabilities, supersonic speed, tight maneuvering and a helmet that gives pilots 360-degree vision.