The software, identified by its Block number, has so far been through tens of iterations, with Block 3F – the latest version – having been through more than 30 versions by autumn last year.

“As of late October 2017, the program was preparing a second version of Block 3FR6.3 (3FR6.32), the 31st version of Block 3F, software as it continues work to resolve key remaining deficiencies,” said DOTE in its annual report, which was published late last week.

“The [F-35] program is using test point data from older versions of software to sign off capability specifications and justify baseline test point deletions, even though the old data may no longer be representative of the latest version of Block 3F software.”

The DOTE report continued: “The ‘final’ Block 3FR6.3 software for SDD was released in October 2017, but this planned final version has already been superseded by two additional software updates; more software patches will likely be needed as the program continues to work ongoing problems with weapons and avionics.”

Can’t talk to bombs, can’t properly use decades-old missiles

Britain’s 14 F-35Bs are all thought to be running Block 3F software of various sub-versions.

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