Would you pay $1.7 trillion for a plane that couldn’t fly? by Andrew Lautz

The F-35 jet may be the US military’s biggest procurement disaster ever. From Andrew Lautz at responsiblestatecraft.org:

According to a new GAO report the F-35 is still riddled with maintenance and performance issues, but yet Congress keeps demanding more.

If you had all the money in the world, would you pay nearly $2 trillion for a plane that couldn’t get off the ground half the time? Probably not, even if your means were endless. It may sound like an insane question, but it’s one that taxpayers and watchdogs are asking the U.S. military now after yet another nonpartisan government report found countless flaws with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

A bit of background on the F-35 for readers uninitiated to perhaps the most expensive boondoggle in the $700-billion-per-year defense budget today: the program began in the 1990s and was, according to the Congressional Research Service, or CRS, intended to be “the last fighter aircraft program that DoD [the Department of Defense] would initiate for many years… expected to shape the future of both U.S. tactical aviation and the U.S. tactical aircraft industrial base.” Lockheed Martin, today the nation’s largest private defense contractor, was selected as the primary manufacturer of the aircraft in 2001, with Pratt and Whitney tapped to make the engine.

The program has been troubled from the start, with numerous quality and safety concerns, doubts about the number of jobs promised and created by the program, trouble with the plane’s logistics software, and countless delays and design flaws. A new report from Congress’s nonpartisan taxpayer watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, sums up all these concerns while putting a fresh, updated bow on troubles with the multi-trillion-dollar project — which the Air Force Chief of Staff recently called a “Ferrari” for his service branch.

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