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GAO: Pentagon Should Update F-35 Program’s Block 4 Modernization Schedule

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the Department of Defense (DoD) update the F-35 fighter jet program's schedule for the Block 4 software and hardware modernization effort in order to reflect realistic time frames.

DOD should implement tools to automate collection of data on software development performance to help inform program decisions and establish software performance target values as it initiates steps to determine additional metrics for software development, GAO said in a report published Thursday.

GAO made the recommendations after it found that the Pentagon's F-35 program “routinely underestimated the amount of work” necessary to build Block 4 capabilities, leading to additional delays.

“Unless the F-35 program accounts for historical performance in the schedule estimates, the Block 4 schedule will continue to exceed estimated time frames and stakeholders will lack reliable information on when capabilities will be delivered,” the report reads.