F-35: Seven Years Set Aside For 'Nothing But Bug Fixing'

Dr Keith Joiner was responsible for signing off on the testing and evaluation for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for Australia -- of which 72 were ordered for a cost of more than $17 billion, starting over 14 years ago.

Now, due to numerous concerns -- among them major software issues -- Dr Joiner says "the Senate should put a dirty great big stop work order on any sign-up to any production aircraft that we've not already committed to."

Image: The Conversation

In an interview with Radio National's Background Briefing, Joiner revealed the software weaknesses of the aircraft.

"The Joint Strike Fighter is a completely software driven aircraft," Joiner said.

"Some systems like the radar control are fundamentally worse than the earlier version, which is not a good sign. You don't want your software testing going backwards. The next software version is block 4. It won't be available until 2020. So there'll be nothing but fixing bugs in the original software between 2013 and 2020."

"That's seven years with nothing but fixing bugs. That doesn't give you a lot of confidence for a completely software driven aircraft going into the future."

"It hasn't done any cyber security testing yet, the aircraft. The only system that has done cyber security, vulnerability and penetration testing is the logistics software. So ordering spares. And it didn't go very well."

"So the most software driven aircraft ever built hasn't yet been tested against cyber security and the modern cyber warfare threats."

[Radio National]

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    “It hasn’t done any cyber security testing yet, the aircraft." Why would it? It's not going to be connected to the internet. This and other comments show that this guy doesn't have much of a handle on how things work.

      It's going to be connected to a network though. And when you're communicating wirelessly it's possible for those communications to be intercepted, monitored, altered...

        That's called EW and ECM, it has been around a lot longer than "cyber security". Seriously, these guys have been doing this stuff since before computers. I think you can have reasonable confidence they have all seen at least one of the ENIGMA related films and have a firm understanding of the importance of military radio transmissions remaining secure.

          Teslas can be hacked, was it jeep? that could also be hacked. There was also the police drones that just got hacked. Target got hacked. The IRS? was it got hacked. Sony got hacked. Hospitals got hacked

          are you really assuming that just because theres no wifi and internet that these things are secure? any fault at any time allows things to be hacked. it could be the communication of the helmet to the navigation system that then gies access to the main ECU

          HELL!! russias electricity grid (with the same system used by the US) got hacked!

          anything that is made with sotware can be broken with software.. Thats the first rule of software and hardware!

            As I said, the military have been at it far, far longer than anyone else. They wrote the book on secure communications. It's built into the way they do everything, not something they think about later. Actual hacking probably isn't even as important to them as simply not having their communications intercepted in the first place.

            How do you intercept a communication aboard an aircraft, your farcical helmet example, traveling at a thousand miles an hour when the signal strength only has to be enough to propagate two feet (assuming it is even wireless, which seems unlikely)? You'd have to be hiding in the (unpressurised) weapons bay. And if you can't intercept the communication, you can't hack it.

            Why do you think the area they have concentrated on is spare parts? Clearly that's because it is an area where communications can be intercepted and hacked.

              Every person I've worked with, who are ex military, couldn't get their own shit into a toilet, let alone provide logistical support for anything, other than getting beer into their mouths.

          As a senior Russian military spokesman said when questioned about the 'alleged' overloading/jamming of an entire Aegis warship radar system in the Black Sea by a solitary SU-24 back in 2014 - "The more complicated the Americans make it, the easier it is to shut it down".

            You have to remember that the report came from Russian radio. They can know that the jamming system was deployed but they have no way to know what effect it had on the US warship. It was pure speculation. One thing you can be sure of, though, is that if it had worked and they knew it, they'd be using it more and more, yet we see no evidence of that.

              'Khibiny' - Who is this 'We' you speak off?

      Military drones are on the same military networks and they got hacked with a basic signal reciever and a video decoding software for years before the exploit was found that could give anyone unencrypted access to the live video feeds.

      Never heard of WiFi..?

      Last edited 07/03/16 3:13 pm

      Its constantly connected to its support AWACS for advanced targeting, the other F35s to avoid friendly fire and the refueling tanker for the fuel stop on the way home.

    The Australian Government should've spent the money on buying the Su-35 instead of the F-35..
    It was a big mistake to buy the F-35, what a waste of tax payer money.

      Russia thanks you for your support communist infiltrator.

      jibe aside; F-22's please, you wont even know their up your tail pipe. (tho the missiles will do jack-all)...

      Last edited 07/03/16 2:18 pm

        The F-22's does have a bit of air superiority over the Su-35's... Its a lot stealthier and can fly higher than the Su-35. But the Su-35 is certainly way better, than the F-35...

          no argument the su-35 have superior manoeuvrability but manoeuvrability means jack all to a faster stealth aircraft. Its the bogeyman vs rally car.

            The Su-35 has fancy airshow maneuvers while unladen, but even then it loses all airspeed doing them, even a battle config Super Hornet can perform its extreme angle of attack maneuvers and maintain combat speed, let alone an F-22.

          Way better how? The Su-35 is built on an airframe that pre-dates the F/A-18s it would replace. It is buying the past, F-35 is buying the future. It's 2016, not 1916 and manoeuvrability is not of any great significance when you can engage and destroy your enemy beyond visual range.

            The F-35 is a waste of money. On paper it looks good, but in the air, its a gigantic piece of metal, that can't perform any of its role well at all. Personally, I would not spend a single cent on it, its simply worthless.

            Its got way too many problems, has cost the DOD way too much money, doesn't deliver any of its promises... It can't even do self diagnostics or fire its gun properly.... So why would you want to spend money on it?

            The Su-35 cost way less than the F35 and performs without any issues.....

            Last edited 09/03/16 3:36 pm

        I don't think the Australian Miltary could afford the maintenance on F-22s to be honest.

      And we could have bought 10 Su-35's for every F-35, lol.

      Anyone who suggests we should be buying our weapons from the same people who will sell it to our enemies is an idiot, plain and simple. How would we go about deploying in situations like our Super Hornets are in Syria today? We rely completely on the US support infrastructure for all our maintenance. If we had to set up our own, it would likely quadruple the cost of the deployment.

    it dont help that abbout singed us up for more of the useless junk

      I love well informed, thoughtful and grammatically correct comment.
      None to see here though.

    this plane sound like another Bradley Fighting Vehicle fiasco, trying to do too much with the one vehicle, and doing it all poorly.

      Or the Mitsubishi 3000GT

        Owch bro i owned one of those.. and it was without doubt a weapon.. best car i ever drove.

      The US learned from their mistakes - there are three variations of fiasco.
      This is in no way like vaporware. They promise.

      Actually, it reminds me of the F-111, which turned out to be one of the greatest strike aircraft of all time.

    The infuriating thing is that at the end of the day, Australia is simply standing by the F-35 for nothing more than political reasons. It would be an embarrassment for our own politicians to pull out now after so much money and time has been invested, and it would be a slap in the face to our ally, America, who we rely so heavily on for geo security.

      Let 'em be embarrassed, we'll keep the money and either buy something more practical or put it into infrastructure like bases in the north. Hell, even a spaceport would be far better value.

      Last edited 07/03/16 3:13 pm

      Australia is standing by the decision because it is the best decision for Australia. AFAIK, we have only committed $140million so far, so we could easily pull out if there was a viable alternative. But there isn't, so we don't.

        In the meantime we had to upgrade the Hornets to the Super Hornets, didn't we? I'm actually not sure on that one. I know we certainly upgraded to the Super Hornets, but I'm not sure if that had to be done as a stop gap measure due to delays with the F-35 program, or whether the Super Hornets were part of the original plan.

    really we should of just invested in upgrading the f111 as the F111 had the thing we care about the most and that is RANGE and multi role capabilies. its even worse that we are not getting the VTOL capable F-35s either as they could of been able to land on our helicopter carriers

    They are not allowed to land on out helli-carriers, they would burn holes in the deck.

      Would have thought they could use a high heat section for them to land on, not that it matters, they won't be buying them anyway.

    Expected costs include another $7 billion on top of that, and the Canadians dropped their purchase already when they got wind of another budget blowout last year. 72 jets At $333 million a piece

    We should abonden it and invest in next generation drone flyers like the X-47B which had a short and great development and testing phase... and a lot of long range recon drones for the pacific region.

    You can buy 800 Current Generation Military Drones for the price of those 72 jets.

    Yet more evidence the Australian public is not being told the truth about the fiasco that is inferior F35.

    I sometimes wonder if our politicians have even been told the truth by the Australian military.

    All fighter jets suffer from long delays and over budget issues, as a Brit we had something of the same situation with the Typhoon, but we are glad we have them right now
    I think this is the most complicated of all fighter jets to have ever been built and it's being built under the most media/internet/instant information period of any plane, which is why we all hear so much about it's failures
    We've commited to 138 of these planes and I'm convinced that when all the tweaking is done they will be immense
    The biggest issue I have, and probably the most damaging issue for Lockheed's image, is selling unfinished planes that will need expensive fixes to get the cash in right now, rather than selling finished product

    This is a "one size fits none" piece of junk. In some ways, it's a remarkable feat of engineering, but it's performance specs for dog fighting are dog sh*t, and the aircraft relies primarily on stealth. Once it forgoes stealth, they start talking exchange ratios. We should build more F-22's and upgrade the Hell out of those. That would be a nice contract that would employ many engineers, and one F-22 could take six of these junkers out with extreme prejudice.

    This is a "one size fits none" piece of junk. In some ways, it's a remarkable feat of engineering, but it's performance specs for dog fighting are dog sh*t, and the aircraft relies primarily on stealth. Once it forgoes stealth, they start talking exchange ratios. We should build more F-22's and upgrade the Hell out of those. That would be a nice contract that would employ many engineers, and one F-22 could take six of these junkers out with extreme prejudice.

    How do you know? you have top secret knowledge and and hear in the pentagon?. no ... you watch the same crap people of no knowledge keep spouting, in truth...none of us know how this plane performs, or will do with future upgrades, so pipe down, and complain when you have facts

    It's a massive headline for the papers, "brand new plane beaten by 40 year old jet"
    40 year old jet that's undergone 39 years of improvement lol, and the brand new jet missing almost all of it's flight control software so they can test the airframe in it's purest form

    f-35 will be just fine

    "the military have been at it far, far longer than anyone else. They wrote the book on secure communications" -hahaha

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