August 22, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - Any new fighter jet program can expect delays and according to an article in Jane's Defense Weekly, Brigadier General Charles Davis has confirmed that the first flight of the F-35 Lightning II has been delayed, possibly until December.
The first part for the first F-35 JSF aircraft was cut on 10 November 2003. Since then, thousands of parts have been coming together as the team works to complete the first F-35.
Other published reports indicate that the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are considering pushing back procurement of F-35s for an additional year in an attempt to redirect funding for that year to other projects. According to many sources, a one year delay in F-35 production could add up to $5 million to the cost of each jet, reducing available funding for production later in the program.
The F-35 Lightning II is an international project which is being led by Lockheed Martin and is scheduled to replace several aircraft including the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Sea Harrier in the next decade.