To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy of the Memorandum from the US Director of Operational Test and Evaluation to the US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, on the Director's concerns regarding progress and readiness of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Programme for initial operational test and evaluation.
The Ministry of Defence remains in regular dialogue with the US Department of Defense on all aspects of the F-35 programme. The System Development and Demonstration phase is currently progressing well.
The role of the US Director Operational Test & Evaluation (OT&E) is to provide independent analysis and make recommendations regarding the readiness of the F-35 to begin the formal phase of initial OT&E. The US Joint Program Office has reviewed his latest reports and the issues identified are being addressed. The F-35 Programme Executive Officer has recently affirmed his intent to begin initial OT&E in early 2018, and initial operating capability for the UK F-35B, at Block 3F standard, remains on schedule for the end of 2018.