June 1, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch
From Aviation Week:
The U.S. Air Force, by far the largest presumed user of the F-35 fighter, has agreed to declare initial operational capability with a much more limited software and weapons capability that initially planned, according to a report sent to Congress May 31.
The Air Force now plans to declare initial operational capability (IOC) with 12 F-35As (and trained pilots and maintainers) in December 2016, before the long-awaited 3F software package is fully tested. The service previously planned to wait for the 3F package because it allows for an expanded engagement envelope and more diverse weapons.