The F-35 has finally started formal Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), which is designed to measure the effectiveness, suitability, lethality, survivability and overall mission capability.
The Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team (JOTT), under the oversight of the independent Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), will undertake formal IOT&E with international partner participation from the UK, Australia and the Netherlands. The JOTT began some pre-IOT&E events such as cold weather operations, weapons demonstrations, suitability deployments, and lower threat missions earlier in 2018. Formal IOT&E is all about high-end missions sets and is expected to be complete late summer of 2019.
‘The start of formal operational testing is a milestone more than 18 years in the making,’ said VADM Mat Winter, F35 Program Executive Officer. ‘It is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the joint government and industry team who completed the most comprehensive, rigorous and the safest developmental flight test program in aviation history. While aircraft are in operational test, the F-35 Joint Program Office will continue to support the delivery of phased capability improvements and modernization of the air system.’