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How Much Does an F-35 Really Cost?

F-35 575

The Pentagon plans to spend $400 billion on designing and buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the military’s newest fighter jet and the most expensive weapons program in history. But how much does a single F-35 actually cost?

Winslow Wheeler, a long-time defense analyst now with the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project On Government Oversight, is tackling that question this week with a five-part series in TIME’s Battleland.

In part one, published today, Wheeler outlines the new era of good feelings around the F-35 that have helped it avoid budget cuts even in the face of sequestration.

The F-35 also appears to be emerging more or less unscathed from the cuts the Defense Department is required to make under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Due to the widely-dreaded sequester, various F-35 accounts would be in line for significant cuts. But Pentagon witnesses at that April 24 Senate hearing made clear that any reductions in the F-35 program will be held to an absolute minimum. Other programs may even be called on to transfer money to it through the reprogramming process.

Read more at Battleland, and check back for updates every day this week.

Image by Flickr user CherryPoint.

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, F-35, Joint Strike Fighter

Authors: Andre Francisco

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