We as simple readers love to criticize big corporations for failing mega defense projects, but in reality even these failures require a tremendous amount of competence to even get so far in such projects.
Some of us "simple readers" have worked on large, complex systems-of-systems projects for big corporations, sometimes in a lead role, and can issue criticism from a position of experience.
When these complex projects fail, it's frequently from a failure to manage that complexity, starting with a failure to push back on specifications, continuing with a failure to protect the project from shifting specifications, and culminating with a failure to apply methodologies which minimize, isolate and/or stage that complexity.
From what little we can see of the F-35 project, it fell afoul of each and every one of these kinds of failings. That it was pushed to completion anyway testifies to the dogged determination of everyone involved, and that is commendable. Ultimately, projects fail when people give up on them (be it for good reasons or bad ones).
Determination won't make up for shoddy management and methodology, though, and asserting an unreasonable R&D schedule does nothing to address these shortcomings.
Edited by TTK Ciar, 20 September 2019 - 1435 PM.