WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Miller acknowledged that the F-35C jet still has to complete "system development and demonstration, initial operations test and evaluation and initial operational capability."
"The fiscal year 2017 president’s budget supports a timeline that transitions squadrons for the first operational deployment on USS Carl Vinson in 2021," Miller told the House Armed Services Committee.
He noted that in tests aboard the aircraft carrier George Washington, the F-35C underwent 132 take offs and arrested landings without incident.
Meanwhile, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said in a congressional hearing that the US will establish 14 new operating locations worldwide for the F-35 Lighting II combat jets within a three-year period.
"We will also be adding 14 new operation locations around the world in the next three years making F-35 weapon system a truly global capability," Bogdan told the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
Bogdan explained the United States is building a capability to globally maintain and repair F-35 jets in the Pacific, European and North American regions.
The F-35 program has Navy, Air Force and Marine variants of the fifth generation aircraft. The program is the most expensive weapon system in the history of the Defense Department.