Watchdog report deals another blow to F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Hundreds of problems continue to plague the troubled Joint Strike Fighter, potentially calling into question the basic performance and reliability of the costliest weapons program in U.S. history, the Defense Department’s inspector general charges in a new report. In a 16-month investigation that began in February 2012, the inspector general’s office — an agency within the Pentagon responsible for investigating allegations of waste, fraud, security lapses and other misconduct — identified more than 360 quality “issues” with the F-35 Lightning II — with 147 of them classified as “major.” The report, which was published Monday — hours before the U.S. government shut

down because of congressional infighting — blames “ineffective” oversight by the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office and the Defense Contracts Management Agency that failed to catch lapses by chief contractor Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. and numerous subcontractors — issues it said “could adversely affect aircraft performance, reliability, maintainability and ultimately program cost.”

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