New technology often has an initial period of time where the creators must work out the bugs.
It's sobering to think about, but the reality is, when a new model rolls off the assembly line, it often has a few kinks.
In the cell phone world, one just uploads a new upgrade, and the problem is solved. Apple is the perfect example of that. They've had several updates to their popular iPhone to repair or correct a variety of issues that have come up once millions of users tried their hand at it.
In the automotive world, it's a recall. Something doesn't work quite right, so the company recalls it to fix the issue and keep drivers safe.
The same rule applies to aircraft … in this case, the F-35 Lightning II.
The F-35 is new to the Marine Corps flight arsenal, so new that it's only currently located at four bases in the U.S. – in test and development at Patuxent River Naval Air Station and Edwards Air Force Base, and in operational fleets at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
Fortunately, safety is the top priority, which means as problems arise with these brand-new aircraft, the powers-that-be ground the F-35s until the issues are resolved.
The timing, however, has been unfortunate. The U.S. military is facing budget cuts due to sequestration. The F-35 has been plagued by budget overruns and technical issues, which could make it a target in the sequestration process. In fact, according to the New York Times, sequestration could force the Pentagon to delay buying three of the approximately 30 F-35s it planned to order this year.
However, the U.S. military needs a viable solution for an aging air fleet. The F-35 is a state-of-the-art solution that will unify the nation's military branches and will eventually take the U.S. military to a new level of prowess. And it is providing a huge boost to Yuma's economy as well, which is vital to our region's financial well-being. Hopefully, the government recognizes the F-35's value, and the project is spared deep cuts in the coming weeks.
More delays may occur as the F-35s take to the skies, both in Yuma and elsewhere, and the aircraft's project leaders will continue to work out the kinks.
While some may view the delays as problematic, they are essential to making sure the F-35 is safe and ready for flight.