Nothing about the F-35 program is ever small or easy. A transition to operational status, even after an extended and over-budget developmental phase, finds most military aircraft programs returning to relative anonymity. For Lockheed Martin’s single-engine fighter, the public spotlight has shifted to a newly launched $22 billion upgrade program, ballooning sustainment costs and a geopolitical conundrum embroiling Turkey—the F-35’s third-largest customer.  In a string ...

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