A question posed in Britain’s Houses of Parliament on Mar. 20 by Scottish Politician Angus Robertson highlighted the amount of time the F-35 development program has been lost due to grounding orders for the jet.
The exact question which was posed to the Secretary of State for defense was as follows: “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many days of flight testing have occurred and how many days of flight testing have been lost due to grounding of the aircraft since delivery of the first Joint Strike Fighter.”
The answer he got was very concise and quite surprising.
Philip Dunne said: “From the start of Flight Test on Jun. 11, 2008 to Feb. 27, 2013, there have been a total of 6,382 Development Flight Test days of F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft. Over this period, the equivalent of 285 days of Development Flight Test on F-35B aircraft did not take place while aircraft were grounded, or 4.5% of the maximum available flight days.”
The questions posed are done so in advance to give the British government chance to answer accurately; also known as Prime Minister’s question time this takes place on a weekly basis usually on a Wednesday in the Houses of Parliament in London.
After selecting the F-35C CV (Carrier Variant) British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Goverment reverted to the initial decision to order the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) version of the Joint Strike Fighter to equip UK’s future supercarriers.
Image credit: Lockheed Martin