Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer, wants to begin F-35 operational testing even though he realizes he won’t have the ’23 ready-to-go’ F-35s in the 3F configuration by August of this year. Bogdan acknowledged that the Air Force will only have 18 aircraft in that readiness status.

Bogdan has asked the Pentagon’s directorate of operational test and evaluation “to consider” starting the evaluations with the smaller number of jets at that point.

“Every month I delay” operational tests “costs me $30 million,” Bogdan said, and he’d like to get OT working with that smaller number as soon as possible, because everything they discover as a flaw “means there’s less … I have to retrofit … on the production line,” saving money and time.

“I’m not asking that they never get” the full 23 jets required, just that “they start earlier” with the jets that will be ready for testing, and take the other five as soon as they’re available, he said. – Air Force Magazine