Monday, 26 March 2012

26/3 Lockheed Martin F-35: Trillion dollar White Elephant

F-35B test aircraft BF-3
flies with weapons bay doors open March 2012.
Photo: Lockheed
Supposedly the center piece of the Pentagon future air strike arsenal, the Lockheed Martin F-35 is set to cost $1 trillion dollars to build, buy and run through to 2050. and it still does not worked. extensive wiring problems, and fact that plane puts pilots under such physical stress the pilots loose consciousness - 7 pilots have passed out in flight so far, and the plane is not in production yet.
New estimates put production back to 2018. the original production date was set to be 2010. Many believe the 2018 date to be unrealistically optimistic.

The F-35 programme is already the most expensive contention weapons programme on record.  The Navy Corps and Airforce, are count on buying 2500 F-35 aircraft.

Software for the F-35 requires 10million lines of code, compared to the F-22's 5m and the F/A-18 Super hornets 1.5m lines of code. The GAO has warned "Software providing essential JSF capability has grown in size and complexity and is taking longer to complete than expected."

Prompted by the plane's mechanical and safety problems. Program chief Admiral David Veniet has backed away from a firm schedule for the fighters front-line deployment

The programme has already cost $400 billion an is set to grow later this year when pentagon recomputes the baseline for the sixth time sine 2001. Except for reducing the purchase by 400 planes the Pentagon has opted to increase the programmes budget. Deficit constraints mean this is no longer feasible, Air force Secretary Michal Donley told congress "To the extent that there to be cost growth or challenges .... we'll have to take down the number of aircraft".

The overseeing authority for the Air Forces fighter squadrons Air Combat  Command  concurs "We cannot simply buy our way out of problems or shortfall as we have been able to do in the past.

If cuts do occur, th US will have fine company, Australia, Canada and Japan have already begun to back away from the JSF programme and the new plane has exceeded their budgets. There are a variety of alternatives, The Super Hornet, a revamped F-15. But the US military still prefers the F-35 "We[Air Combat Command] will remain committed to the long term success of the F-35 program."

Sources: The Young Turks, Wired

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