Is the $400 billion F-35’s ‘brain’ broken?

Updated 6:19 AM EDT, Thu April 21, 2016
Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing. As the future of Marine Corps aviation, the F-35B will eventually replace all aircraft from three legacy Marine Corps platforms; the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler. The aircraft are stationed with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Beaufort, South Carolina and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/USMC
Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing. As the future of Marine Corps aviation, the F-35B will eventually replace all aircraft from three legacy Marine Corps platforms; the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler. The aircraft are stationed with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Beaufort, South Carolina and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
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Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly above Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Feb. 2, 2018. The F-22 is an air superiority fighter that incorporates the latest technological advances in reduced observables, avionics, engine performance and aerodynamic design. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott)
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Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly above Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Feb. 2, 2018. The F-22 is an air superiority fighter that incorporates the latest technological advances in reduced observables, avionics, engine performance and aerodynamic design. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott)
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ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 21, 2016) The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016 with the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of DDG 1000, the future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) May 20, 2016. Following a crew certification period and October commissioning ceremony in Baltimore, Zumwalt will transit to its homeport in San Diego for a Post Delivery Availability and Mission Systems Activation. DDG 1000 is the lead ship of the Zumwalt-class destroyers, next-generation, multi-mission surface combatants, tailored for land attack and littoral dominance. (U.S. Navy/Released)
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160421-N-YE579-005 ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 21, 2016) The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016 with the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of DDG 1000, the future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) May 20, 2016. Following a crew certification period and October commissioning ceremony in Baltimore, Zumwalt will transit to its homeport in San Diego for a Post Delivery Availability and Mission Systems Activation. DDG 1000 is the lead ship of the Zumwalt-class destroyers, next-generation, multi-mission surface combatants, tailored for land attack and littoral dominance. (U.S. Navy/Released)
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160613-N-DN943-001 ATLANTIC OCEAN (June 10, 2016) The littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) successfully completes the first of three scheduled full-ship shock trials June 10, 2016. The shock trials are designed to demonstrate the ship's ability to withstand the effects of nearby underwater explosion and retain required capability. Jackson is currently ported at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., for required inspections and preparation for the second full-ship shock trial scheduled for later this month. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Bevan/Released)
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HELME, ESTONIA - MAY 19:  An F-16 fighter plane of the Royal Danish Air Force simulates an attack during a demonstration while participating in the NATO "Spring Storm" military exercises on May 19, 2014 near Helme, Estonia. The annual exercises, in which Estonian, Latvian, Lithuainian, U.S., British, Polish, Belgian and Danish troops are participating, are underway as sporadic fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian separatists continues in eastern Ukraine.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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title: Future USS Detroit (LCS 7) Successfully Completes Acceptance Trials duration: 00:01:53 site: Youtube author: null published: Fri Jul 22 2016 13:42:50 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) intervention: no description: The future littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) successfully concluded its acceptance trial July 15. The next milestone for Detroit is its delivery to the U.S. Navy. During trials, the ship successfully performed launch and recovery operations of the 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat, conducted surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises, and demonstrated the ship's maneuverability.
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title: Future USS Detroit (LCS 7) Successfully Completes Acceptance Trials duration: 00:01:53 site: Youtube author: null published: Fri Jul 22 2016 13:42:50 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) intervention: no description: The future littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) successfully concluded its acceptance trial July 15. The next milestone for Detroit is its delivery to the U.S. Navy. During trials, the ship successfully performed launch and recovery operations of the 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat, conducted surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises, and demonstrated the ship's maneuverability.
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An F-22 Raptor from the Hawaii Air National Guard 199th Fighter Squadron increases altitude shortly after takeoff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 6, 2015. F-22 pilots from the 199th FS and 19th FS teamed up with maintenance Airmen from the 154th Wing and 15th Maintenance Group to launch and recover 62 Raptors that day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich)
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Story highlights

F-35 fleet supported by single location logistics software system

Federal watchdogs worry problems with system could ground entire fleet

Pentagon plans for fleet of 2,457 F-35s across Air Force, Navy, Marines

CNN —  

Almost 2,500 of the world’s most advanced warplanes, with a total price tag of $400 billion, and they may not have a “brain” in the bunch?

That’s the fear of federal watchdogs who say problems with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s complex logistics software system could lead to a grounding of the entire fleet, not to mention future cost increases and schedule delays.

Documenting risks to the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System, which Department of Defense officials have described as the “brains” of the fifth-generation fighter, an April 14 Government Accountability Office report says a failure “could take the entire fleet offline,” in part, due to the lack of a backup system.

The report also outlines concerns related to the lack of testing done to ensure the software will work properly by the time the Air Force plans to declare its version of the aircraft ready for deployment this August and the Navy reaches that milestone in 2018.

The Marine Corps declared the first squadron of its F-35 variant ready for combat in July 2015, with the intention of upgrading and resolving the software issues before its first planned deployment in 2017.