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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

Submitted by Daveyl at: January 31, 2014
You folks resemble Rush Limbaugh, as he huffs and puffs about liberals while their elected and appointed ranks swell within our government, then they enact tyranny out in the open with no defense against these despots. If POGO had ANY effect at all, the B-2 would be little more than an artist's conception drawing. The F-22 would be parked in some museum as the sole surviving prototype. Now this disaster. This aircraft was evaluated against line fighters which most likely will engage the F-35. The result was a quip by the aggressor pilots that their ease of downing the JSF was tantamount to "Clubbing Baby Seals". For Christ's Sake!! These people are bankrupting us! We have to watch them salute the flag with a tear in their eye and our money stuffing their pockets. If just ONE boondoggle was halted before we paid the hideous costs for these machines, I would erect a shrine to POGO.
Submitted by Dfens at: June 4, 2013
What difference does it make what it costs? What is the alternative? POGO keeps promising us that the next program will be cheaper, but it never is. The next program is always worse than the last, not better. So if you don't have a solution, what is your point in bringing up the problem? I have a solution. I've been working in the aerospace industry for 30 years. I can tell you for certain that if you stop paying contractors more to do a bad job than you pay them to do a good job, they'll do a good job. They did in the past when the current incentives were not in place. When is POGO going to get on board with that solution? If we fix the way the DoD buys weapons, then we can say with some confidence that things will get better. Until then we just keep doing the same thing over and over, each time hoping for a different result. How's that going for you?

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