The F-35 Fighter Jet Program Has Cost A Trillion Dollars...And It Still Has Flaws
Make no mistake, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a big initiative. The plane is meant to replace virtually every tactical jet in the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. That's a lot of planes. $1 trillion of planes, actually.
It's hard to grasp the concept of a trillion dollars, so let me give a little perspective. Our nation's GDP, the largest in the world, was about $14.5 trillion in 2010. So 7% of every dollar earned in 2010 would have gone to funding the most expensive military program in the history of the world.
But even $1 trillion hasn't bought a perfect specimen. A few test models have been under production, and reviews by a classified Pentagon panel have found that there are 13 significant design flaws on the jet, which could cost $1 billion to fix...just on the test models. The project timeline is already running seven years late, with esperts predicting a widespread adoption of the F-35 in 2018.
The flaws range from miniscule to potentially catastrophic, including, misplaced tailhooks for carrier landings, structural cracking (!), an electtrical system that's not always at 100%, and, most interestingly, a stealth design that might not be as stealth as the manufacturers (Lockheed Martin) thought.
It's likely that the project has suffered a major setback with these findings, potentially delaying the release even further. Everyone be on their best behavior until then, as we'd rather not be stuck fighting with our old planes in our next war.