The much-troubled F-35A fighter jet will not take part in the Farnborough Air Show this summer in England, according to the US Air Force. The fifth generation Lockheed Martin aircraft will be represented instead by the F-35B Marine Corps version, that features short-takeoff and vertical landing.
The F-35A fighter jets were scheduled to take part in the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) military show this July. They will instead take part in a heritage flyby and be on static display, said Air Force spokesman Captain Mark Graff.
After the RIAT the F-35A will return to the US due, according to the official report, to a lack of hangar space at Farnborough.
"The F-35 program will be well-represented at Farnborough by the Marine Corps and our F-35 program industry partners," said an Air Force spokesperson.
This is the second time an F-35A has failed to make it to the Farnborough show. In 2014 the entire F-35 (both Air Force and Marines) fleet was grounded after an engine fire in one of the aircraft.
The jet fighter, with development costs estimated at over $56 billion, and likely to rise to about $1.5 trillion over its intended 55-year lifespan, has suffered numerous software failures causing various systems, including engines, to shut down mid-flight, threatening the aircraft and the pilot.
Other notable and ongoing problems with the high-tech aircraft include flaws in its fuel and hydraulic systems, poor cockpit visibility, software glitches and freezes, faulty radar and ejection seats that do not work.
In addition, the aircraft features a networking system which, according to GAO report, could render the entire fleet offline if one link in the networking chain fails.
The Pentagon acknowledged that the F-35 fighter jet will not be ready for its final test phase until 2018, while the Project On Government Oversight made a more pessimistic estimation of 2022, by which time many of its systems may be obsolete.