Danger Room: Pentagon: Trillion-Dollar Jet on Brink of Budgetary Disaster

21.03.12

Categorie: Air, David Axe, Industry, Stealth, Wired |
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F-35B test aircraft BF-3 flies with weapons bay doors open in March 2012.

F-35B test aircraft BF-3 flies with weapons bay doors open in March 2012. Lockheed photo.

by DAVID AXE

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the supposed backbone of the Pentagon’s future air arsenal, could need additional years of work and billions of dollars in unplanned fixes, the Air Force and the Government Accountability Office revealed on Tuesday. Congressional testimony by Air Force and Navy leaders, plus a new report by the GAO, heaped bad news on a program that was already almost a decade late, hundreds of billions of dollars over its original budget and vexed by mismanagement, safety woes and rigged test results.

At an estimated $1 trillion to develop, purchase and support through 2050, the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 was already the most expensive conventional weapons program ever even before Tuesday’s bulletins. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are counting on buying as many as 2,500 F-35s to replace almost every tactical jet in their current inventories. More than a dozen foreign countries are lined up to acquire the stealthy, single-engine fighter, as well.

In its report the GAO reserved its most dire language for the JSF’s software, which agency expert Michael Sullivan said is “as complicated as anything on earth.” The new jet needs nearly 10 million lines of on-board code, compared to 5 million for the older F-22 and just 1.5 million for the Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet. “Software providing essential JSF capability has grown in size and complexity, and is taking longer to complete than expected,” the GAO warned.

Read the rest at Danger Room.

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One Response to “Danger Room: Pentagon: Trillion-Dollar Jet on Brink of Budgetary Disaster”

  1. Jay Perry says:

    First of all remember the byline here (Axe) literally if there is one being ground here he is usually the one doing it! Nothing, repeat NOTHING done by the government/DOD/DARPA in the last ten years has ever been done right according to Axe! From; F-22, F-18 updates, M-1 updates, Strykers, Marine amphibious vehicles, Littoral Combat Ship, National Security Cutter, have all suffered the Axe treatment and wrath. If there is someone getting drunk on the military tit is is AXE!

    Having said all of that…….the military has now built this program into one of the ‘too big to fail’ things there are no other programs to replace the aircraft in the roles that F-35 will have and it MUST be produced. While there are flaws and problems this thing was designed by committee to do everything well obviously have problems doing so initially as testing is already revealing. There is plenty of blame to be shared throughout the world on this one, but is it all as bad as the critics are really saying or is this more chicken little reporting from blogger/reporter looking for something to write (or just being their normal critical selves).
    Jay Perry USNVET

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