Lockheed Martin and the US Department of Defense are attacking the motivation behind a recent barrage of criticism aimed at the basic combat abilities of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Such “false claims” published in separate reports a few days apart have become a significant business risk for the programme, said Maj Gen Charles Davis, chief of the F-35 joint programme office.
Each of the eight international partners must make acquisition decisions for the F-35 within the next year, said Tom Burbage, a Lockheed vice president.
Some of partners, including
The frequency and timing of the published attacks, as well as their “completely” errant content, prompted
“It’s disappointing and I guess not surprising that these articles come when they do,”
More recently, a commentary written by Pierre Sprey, widely considered the conceptual father of the Lockheed F-16, claimed the F-35 would be an aerodynamic “dog” and outclassed in combat by the fighters it is replacing.
Another article appearing in the Australian press claimed the F-35 was “clubbed like a baby seal” in a classified US Air Force exercise.
“How that got translated into ‘clubbed like a baby seal’ I have no idea other than somebody used a comment made in the room or in a dinner that night and brought that back to Australia,” Davis said.