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The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built

F-35 Fighter Jet

Time magazine has a great, and lengthy, story about the F-35 fighter jet being developed for the Air Force, Navy and Marines. The price tag for the program has nearly doubled to $396 billion, plus decades of maintenance costs, making it the most expensive weapons program ever.

And according to a pilot who recently landed an F-35 for a celebratory press event, “it’s an operational squadron. The aircraft is not operational.”  

The article breaks down the problems with both the concept and execution of the F-35 program.

"We've put all our eggs in the F-35 basket," said Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn. Given that, one might think the military would have approached the aircraft's development conservatively. In fact, the Pentagon did just the opposite. It opted to build three versions of a single plane averaging $160 million each (challenge No. 1), agreed that the planes should be able to perform multiple missions (challenge No. 2), then started rolling them off the assembly line while the blueprints were still in flux--more than a decade before critical developmental testing was finished (challenge No. 3). The military has already spent $373 million to fix planes already bought; the ultimate repair bill for imperfect planes has been estimated at close to $8 billion.

Read the full article at Time.

Image by james_gordon_los_angeles

By: Andre Francisco
Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco Andre Francisco is the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: National Security

Related Content: Defense, Joint Strike Fighter, Wasteful Defense Spending

Authors: Andre Francisco

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