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Here’s What 60 Minutes Didn’t Tell You About the F-35


The millions of viewers who tuned into 60 Minutes Sunday may have gotten the impression that, despite being billions over budget and almost a decade behind schedule, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is ultimately necessary to maintain U.S. air superiority. That’s an unsurprising conclusion, given that all of the individuals interviewed in the story work either for the federal government or for Lockheed Martin, the primary contractor for the F-35. 60 Minutes’ producers broke a basic lesson of Journalism 101 when they failed to interview anyone who would tell the other side of the F-35 story.

Fortunately, a new video from Brave New Films does just that. The Jet that Ate the Pentagon, released along with a new website, explains how the F-35 became a $1.5 trillion burden on American taxpayers. Winslow Wheeler, the director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project On Government Oversight, is featured in the video. He answered a few of our questions about how and why the F-35 program got so out of control.

POGO: Why are you focused on informing the public about the F35?

Winslow Wheeler, Director, Straus Military Reform Project, Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight

Winslow Wheeler

Wheeler: It is essential that the public be aware of the many serious and fundamental problems in the F-35 program because the Pentagon, the White House and Congress have all failed to do their jobs. 

In the 1990s the Pentagon’s aviation bureaucracy in the Clinton administration put together a plan for the Joint Strike Fighter that was bound to fail at great cost. The building’s senior leadership—Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, acquisition Czar William Perry and others--failed to recognize the fundamental problems in both the physical design of the F-35 and its buy-first, test-later acquisition plan.  In fact, they willfully advocated those horrendous ideas.  Then, both the White House and Congress did nothing but cheer the whole thing on.  They were warned by some experts, and they ignored the warnings.

Because the people who claim to be our national security leadership failed so miserably in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations to recognize the problems, let alone take any appropriate action, it became necessary in the mid-2000s to raise the volume of the complaints and make the public aware. 

In a functioning democratic system, public pressure on the politicians in the Pentagon, the White House and Congress should force them to find a solution.  It remains to be seen, however, just how functional our system is: the public now is far more fully aware of the many and serious problems in the F-35, but there is no sign yet that any real action will be taken by the national security decision-makers.  I fear that Congress is too fixated on the pork the F-35 brings to states and congressional districts; the White House is scared of the tough-minded politics needed to reverse course on the F-35, and most, but not all, Pentagon managers are too happy to keep on drinking—and passing out—the F-35 Kool Aid.

Nonetheless, making the public aware of the issues and its complaining to decision makers in Washington is our only viable way to bring this disaster to an end.

POGO: What are some of the F35s most shocking failures?

Wheeler: The most stunning failure in the F-35 is the level of complexity and contradiction in the basic design.  Starting out as a plan to make a short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft supersonic (two inherently contradictory design characteristics), it only went further downhill after that.  They then made it a multi-role aircraft, piling on the additional contradictory characteristics of an air to air fighter and an air to ground bomber; then they made it “stealth” making even fatter the aerodynamic design and making it all more complex by an order of magnitude.  And finally, they made it multi-service adding further contradictory complexities demanded separately by the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.  All this insanity made high cost inherent to the design, just as it also made low performance (performing many roles, all of them poorly) intrinsic.

Thus, the most shocking thing is that some think the solution is to cancel the Marine Corps and or the Navy’s version of this aircraft, but not the Air Force’s: ignoring all the basic characteristics of all three versions, these faux critics opt for a politically convenient non-solution which will mean that our Air Force and any remaining foreign purchasers will be strapped with an incompetent design of an astoundingly expensive aircraft. 

That to me is the most shocking thing of all: after all the lessons, some of those pretending to be critics, simply don’t, or refuse to, get it. 

POGO: Do you think the story of the F35 is a paradigm of larger issues in the American government?

Wheeler: Absolutely yes! The obsessive complexity of the physical design and the buy-it-then-fly-it acquisition plan are absolutely typical of American weapons acquisition.  Those characteristics don’t occur by accident.   Technologists who consider combat lessons an afterthought control the beginning design, and advocates in industry, Congress and the Pentagon seek to commit the entire government to the program by spending $billions and $billions before any empirical data becomes available from testing to show what the actual cost and performance are.  They call it “concurrency,” but it is really bait and switch political engineering.  Chuck Spinney has written about this many times, especially in “Defense Power Games.”

POGO: How has Lockheed Martin been able to continue with the program, despite the cost overruns and delays?

Wheeler: Lockheed-Martin cannot design effectively performing, affordable combat aircraft, but they are without peer in designing a greasy plan to foist the aircraft on the US and multiple foreign buyers.  I am in awe of their skill in doing that; they successfully convince otherwise rational people to ignore empirical data, to believe that press releases spout biblical truth and to embrace new promises in the face of scores of broken ones.  Those are awesome powers.

POGO: What do you hope the video will add to the F35 conversation?

Wheeler: The video covers a lot of territory in just a few minutes, but people who want to check the data behind the many statements in the video will find there are piles of evidence to back them up.  I hope people do exactly that: check on the facts.  Then, armed with the data, they may want to make noise—however they so choose—to give the politicians in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon a choice: Do the right thing on the F-35 or be replaced.

See the video from Brave New Films below.

Image from the U.S. Marine Corps.

By: Avery Kleinman
Beth Daley Impact Fellow, POGO

Avery Kleinman Avery Kleinman is the Beth Daley Impact Fellow for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: National Security

Related Content: Budget, Joint Strike Fighter, Interviews, F-35, DOD Oversight, Straus, Media Criticism, Defense, Videos, Waste, Wasteful Defense Spending

Authors: Avery Kleinman

Submitted by THX at: August 20, 2014
Still would rather the government spend money creating jobs and technology than welfare.
Submitted by Andre at: August 18, 2014
Hello Pete, Here is a good primer on the problems with the F-35. And here are numerous other articles from the Straus Military Reform Project on the F-35.
Submitted by Pete at: August 17, 2014
I don't understand, you haven't mentioned a single piece of information about what is seriously wrong with the plane. All you've said is that it is trying to be too many things at once. Okay, what if it just works out? Seriously, we all know the Obama administration already fired the most competent people in the US Military so, how do we know we can believe those still in? Anyway, maybe there are serious issues with the Jet but, you need to do a better job of hitting on them.
Submitted by Daedilous at: August 14, 2014
Kelly Johnson is spinning in his grave, and the Chinese are building a non vertical takeoff version from stolen plans which will kick its butt. Drone on, that's the future, manned combat flight is obsolete.
Submitted by Richwood7 at: August 10, 2014
The F-35 will probably go down in history as one of the great fighter/bombers/attach planes in the world. Of course there are problems, it is not and old design it is new, with new technology. It like saying we should build more battleships because they worked 60 years ago just fine. Our new destroyers cost more than most nations entire defense budget and they could wipe out a battleship. Their mission are different. We now have attack subs to hunt enemy subs, destroyers are more in keeping with coastal defense and fleet protection from cruise missiles, enemy planes. According to reports we are already working on the next generation bomber. I assume we are also working on the F-22 and F-35 replacements. I am sure China and Russia are. Working on their next generation
Submitted by Educated and Intelligent at: August 9, 2014
Still quite biased and skewed. That $1.5T is so mind boggling and half informative. We expect to have spent $1.5T over the next 50 years, after the very last F-35 has been retired... that includes the initial purchase of the aircraft, upgrades, predicted maintenance, spare parts, training, fuel consumption, weapons (for combat and for training), simulators, hangar space, and... predicted inflation so that the $1.5T will equal $1.5T in then year dollars and NOT in today's dollars. And is it really bad Lockheed? I mean, if you look at where this plane originated and the rest of our fleet, you will see that it was NOT designed with the mission role that it is now outfitted for. Congress and our government officials changed the need after it was physically designed. Lockheed has been dealt a significantly difficult hand and just has to make changes to meet the new requirements. As far as the oxygen piece... that was the F-22. Still a wonderful bird, but plagued with government greed and cheapness. Lockheed expressed concern long ago but the price would have changed to account for different equipment. There is a problem when non engineers attempt to tell engineers what is needed and not needed, and often times it actually DOES become a problem.
Submitted by casper at: July 27, 2014
a updated f-4 phantom would be a better choice.
Submitted by Final Approach at: July 14, 2014
Aviation's comment above is correct, the nature of the aerial battlefield has changed. You cant hit what you cant see. Dog fights today are long range contests of technology, long range missiles, etc. Hitting your target at 50 miles. No longer are true, up close, dogfight type fighters needed. Destroy your enemy from 50 miles without them ever seeing you. This is aerial combat today. F-35 will be just fine...
Submitted by Trublu2 at: July 12, 2014
Looks like it just blewup on take off, is grounded, and orders are on hold. 1.5 trillion. Wow,
Submitted by Jobby at: July 9, 2014
It seems every ground breaking weapon-of-the-future blows its budgets, has a million problems, and everyone hates it... until they come out and work. No risk, no reward. Its far too deep into the program to bail out of it now, lets see how the thing performs in the next few years.
Submitted by Alpha at: July 3, 2014
Beautiful aircraft
Submitted by rutherford tree at: June 19, 2014
I commend Mr. Wheeler's use of our freedom of open discourse. After a brief wikiventure into the USSR's military-industrial complex, respect must be given to individuals with similar opinions, but in a population prone to disappearing. However, Mr. Wheeler's C.V. is absent of things such as optoelectronics field engineer, magnetohydrodynamics specialist, or meta-materials research scientist, etc. In order to be taken seriously by military planners, Mr. Wheeler's background must overlap with at least one of these hyper-developing STEM fields which brought us our new bird. His movie's focus should be on the credentials of those in charge of our sacrosanct tax dollars, and not with an exotic craft that the DoD has given us the privilege to observe. The baby boomer generation opened the doors to the branches of science which made the F-35 possible, and the following generations are indebted to their hard fought efforts. In my opinion, following their spirit of ingenuity, individuals like Mr. Wheeler should let America's gen-x'ers and millennials continue to fight the good fight and further push the flight envelope. Heaven forbid the F-35 creates a need for more American scientist and engineers. Yoda also seemed to have a few cracks in his blades, as well as an oxygen supply problem. Let them think the F-35 is DOA.
Submitted by Putin at: June 17, 2014
Submitted by hp at: June 3, 2014
Pilots nowadays fly glorified ground attack and stand off missions. What's an ace, again?
Submitted by hp at: June 3, 2014
The F-35 "Piltdown" Has a nice ring to it, eh?
Submitted by Jcee at: June 3, 2014
This is why I gave up watching 60 Minutes eons ago along with anything portrayed as factual reporting by the MSM. They are incapable of unbiased journalism due to their ownership.
Submitted by fyrnicesam at: June 1, 2014
I'm sorry to be so simple, but this is the deal. As a small business owner, when I bid a job, I am obliged to deliver the product as specified, by the date specified at the price quoted or I don't get paid. This is the bottom line. When you bid a product, you deliver the jet you promised to make with all the features you promised , not later than the date you promised to deliver at the agreed upon price or you don't get paid. Period end of story. if you cant do it, you dont get to bid again ever.
Submitted by Sevriano at: May 2, 2014
The F-35 from the start was a fiasco. The Navy which seems to run the military and determining it's needs for every branch wanted it's own type of fighter (Not a F-22) Lockeed had no problem with that as they were the sole company involved in the contract. The F-22 had sub-contractors which obtained portions of the profits. Why when the CEO for Lockeed had no issue having the F-22 cancelled and building up to 3000 F-35's. How do the two fighters compare ? They don't. The F-22 is by far and I do mean by far the most advanced, deadly fighter in the air. F-35's can hold their own and that's it. The public was mis-informed of the cost of a F-22. It was constantly being lowered based on performance in production. It started at 300 million per and at the end (unit 195) had lowered it's cost to 135 million, and easily would have kept coming down. Could it have been equiped for the navy as a fighter (not a STOL) Yes... But again Lockeed exec's did nothing but build up the capabilities of the F-35 in comparison to the F-22 and Congress believed every word. Sevre (22 years building F-22's)
Submitted by Ace at: May 1, 2014
The F35 will be the best fighter in the world and worth every penny.
Submitted by thursday at: April 29, 2014
in reply to "aviation"; Some of your observations are good, but i take issue with the 'if you can't see it,you can't hit it. in this the f-35 xcels"part. I believe that you CAN see it-its' not invisible. A nickel is smaller than a quarter, but offers no actual advantage in real-world conditions. Its' wishful thinking in its most distorted form.
Submitted by Benedictine at: April 29, 2014
The F-35 is the most maligned and hated weapons system program in U.S. history. How does one reconcile the haters and those folks who tout the F-35 as the most formidable, the most technologically advanced weapon system in the world. I'm so confused I think I'll start wearing my shoes on my head!
Submitted by Brendan at: April 25, 2014
Aviation, This plan is a turd. In the words of a Senior Fellow at the RAND Institute and a Veteran F-4 Phantom pilot, "The F-35 can't turn, can't climb and can't run." Why? Because the Marines and the Royal Navy have a hard on for S/VTOL planes. They had to add a giant 54" turbo fan to the center of this plane, taking up all the space where the weapons have to be housed to maintain the stealth profile. So, they had to vastly enlarge the fuselage to accommodate both. This kills the aerodynamics of the plane. In the RAND study, they ran numerous computer simulations of an air battle with China over the Formosa Strait. After initial success due to it's Stealth capabilities, the F-35 gets crushed by the Chinese. The Chinese don't do nearly as well against a fleet of Navy F/A-18s and Air Force F-22 Raptors.
Submitted by Aviation at: April 21, 2014
Calling the f-35, the junk strike fighter is cute, but a bit over the top. What all you arm chair generals don't realize is that modern warfare requires better technology than your adversary. The f-35 combines stealth technology and state of the art target acquisition that is unmatched by any current fighter aircraft. For example, the su-27, which is a formidable adversary may be able to duck and dodge really well, but the f-35 has no need for these maneuvers. The su-27 sticks out like a an elephant in a closet on f-35 radar which allows for BVR missile lock. The F-35 can fire all its missiles at varying targets at the same time. The aircraft communicate targeting info so nobody fires at the same target. So in a standoff fight the f-35 could, with double tap, hit 3-4 aircraft and then super cruise away before the few surviving aircraft could get close enough for a heat lock. There is also some super secret stuff on the f-35 that word has it can prevent a heat lock. So the su27 would have a real hard time getting any kind of missile lock on an f-35. Those fancy simulations you see on youtube videos of survivability tests, lack many of the features present on the f-35, so they give a very inaccurate picture of the true outcomes in a combat scenario. If, as some on here suggest, we continue to use the f-18, our advantage would be lost completely. The su-27 and Rafael fighters are far better in both maneuverability and low observable airframes. Meaning we would loose any fight pretty quickly. The thinking with the f-22 and f-35 is that if you cant see it, you cant shoot it. For that the f-35 excels. Now the f-35 does have some bad parts. The software needs some work. But lets be real here, the f-18 is constantly being updated to support better detection and communication equipment. So it's not as if this stuff doesn't happen to old aircraft as well. But it is a bit absurd that it's not complete. The cost is out of control for sure. But politics is a big part of that. When you build a new factory for every part on a plane instead of making it all in one location it costs more. Who would have thought? That, and Lockheed aircraft are like the BMW's of the sky. You pay allot for the name brand. I'm sure China will come up with a cheaper imitation model soon, and somehow i don't think people would complain much if they happened to fall from the sky for no apparent reason. And what about the lightning problems? Well most aircraft have antennas that hang off the wings and vertical stabilizer to draw lightning away. That stuff isn't very stealthy, so they are trying to figure out how to create something like that while retaining the aircraft's stealth profile. Right now the aircraft could take a lightning strike and most likely would survive. But I doubt anybody wants to test that theory. One thing to keep in mind when reading about the "failures" of government in the f-35 project is that the f-35 is top secret in plain sight. Meaning the outsiders giving opinions base these on limited information. The systems and technology that sold governments on the project are top secret and folks like Winslow Wheeler aren't privy to this information. The fact is, the f-35 has no match in the modern world for it's combat capability. It is a fighter from the future and will most likely be the best thing out there for decades to come.
Submitted by Taxpayer Guy at: April 13, 2014
There are plenty of lessons available from history that should facilitate designing common planes for various missions and the various services, not to mention foreign customers. Wasn't ANYTHING learned from the F-111 debacle? The only good thing that came out of that is that both the Navy and Air Force opted to design and acquire actual fighters (F-14 and F-15). While the F-111 did serve admirably as a tactical attack aircraft, electronic warfare plane, and even as a strategic bomber, it never was the 'one size fits all' that the likes of Robert McNamara fantazised about. But history also shows that some planes were successfully adapted by multiple services. The F-4 Phantom comes to mind, as does the A-7 Corsair II. Why were they so successful for both the Navy and AF? Because they were designed FOR the Navy, which means they had all sorts of equipment and requirements land based planes don't need. Carrier based planes have to be compact, and cannot exceed a certain weight. They must be able to 'fold' in ways that maximizes the limited space on and within a carrier. They need strengthened undersides and specialized gear for catapult takeoffs and arrestor wire landings. If a plane can be produced that meets the Navy's (and by extension, the Marine Corps) needs, they will probably meet those of the AF as well. That is especially true in these days of more 'joint' interoperability, and the need for ALL platforms on our side to be able to communicate and share the info that will supposedly give us the edge in future conflicts. That said, any V/STOL versions should be an altogether different matter. But let's be honest here, military systems procurement is more about the political payoffs than they are about protecting us. It's why components and parts for ships and subs and planes and everything else are farmed out across states and Congressional districts, instead of allowing the manufacturers to set up shop with all the requisite supplying entities on the premises.
Submitted by Me Too at: April 13, 2014
The F-35 JSF = Junk Strike Fighters. More F-15E and F/A-18F airframes will do a far better job and cost the taxpayers much less.... On a side note, does anybody else think that this Winslow Wheeler dude looks like Captain Kangaroo?
Submitted by Sludge at: April 4, 2014
Great false equivocation, "spartacus". Very pretentious of you to write off others criticisms to prior programs, just because you are a Flying Turd (F-35) fanboi. To all the others who claim that POGO is writing this to "enable" those corporates to make more profits by cancelling the program and pocketing the money, you are smoking crack. All POGO is trying to do is STOP THE BLEEDING at this point. US taxpayers (you, me, everyone else) WILL NOT get any of that prior money back, no matter what happens. POGO can simply try to stop these RIPOFFs as they occur, they are NOT in-charge of the purse strings of the gov't/pentagon. Finally, to counter all those "what other options" do we have bozos, I offer this. 1. Keep the Super Hornet line open and upgrade to the Advanced Super Hornet as well. 2. Re-open both the F-15 and F-16 lines, upgrade them to F-15 Silent Eagles and Block 60 Vipers, accordingly. 3. Have the USAF stop its removal of the A-10C, as it has proven itself time and again. 4. Re-open the Harrier line for the USMC. 5. Grow some balls and brains and realize that the F-35 is nothing more than a JOBS PROGRAM. If it weren't for "JOBS in 46 states", this thing would've died A LONG TIME AGO. It needs to die, so that we can spend money on manpower needs, not pie-in-the-sky stealth that is marginal at best. Later Sludge
Submitted by Yosemite at: March 5, 2014
The F-35 IF it ever and eventually does supposedly work will be nothing more than a "all/general purpose aircraft.....It can do a lot of various task to a good standard....but in a role such as CAS/CGS it cannot even come close to the USAF A-10. Air Defense.....It does not even come close to or compare to the F-15. People talk about the age of the aircraft....Look at the BUFF! The Buff is still with us and will be for the foreseeable future. No one is forcing the or talking about removing the BUFF from the USAF inventory but they are talking about removing the A-10 AGAIN! The upper Echelon USAF brass do not like or want the A-10. The A-10 has proven itself in the Sandbox Round I and II and in Afghanistan. The troops love it and it carries plenty and variety of munitions and has a long loiter time. The Mig-25 Foxbat was developed for one reason and one reason shoot down the XB-70 that never went into production. Remember when the guy defected with one in Japan? It was not very advanced as far as "Western" electronics go. Yep it could fly fast but it could stay up long. For many years ( and may still hold true) the F-15 was the only fighter in the World that could go into and maintain a straight vertical climb without having to spin. Fifth and six generation fighters/aircraft are no good if they don't work. Keep the A-10 and the F-15 for now and until the new generations of fighters actually work. Keep the A-10 anyway, since it fills a niche no other aircraft can do as well and at costs to do the job.
Submitted by Spartacus at: February 28, 2014
The depth and breadth of defense expertise on this board is breathtaking. Lamont, good comparison to the V-22... that thing's overall safety record to date is horrible, right? I mean, the number of mishaps per flight hour is HUGE compared to the airframes it replaced, right? And Lothar, excellent comparison to blimps- right on target, considering that those blimps were definitely geared to fight the next war (just like the F-35) at the dawn of the jet age, right? And I'm with warmonger: the F-15 IS the answer to the Chinese SA-N-9... we don't need advanced electronic warfare capability and stealth, we'll just fly faster, right? I loved the 80's, too. Let's fly obsolete designs from fixed air bases, too... hopefully we can negotiate the range of their missiles down to a manageable level. Mr. Sprey's designs were genius... 35 years ago. The battlefield has evolved a few more dimensions that don't involve thrust-to-weight ratios, but Gonga is right... I'm sure the masked men in Crimea aren't associated with the Russian Federation in any way, and there's nothing to worry about anywhere. The world is such a warm, inviting place these days. Maybe we should ask the pilots what they think, or what they need to win. And God Bless Winslow Wheeler, but that guy is who Teddy Roosevelt was talking about when he wrote "The Man in the Arena."
Submitted by FighterPilotMom at: February 26, 2014
I want to know why POGO is calling for the F-35 to be cancelled instead of insisting on accountability for the money that has already been spent on this program? Our pilots are older than their airplanes now and POGO has nothing to offer but cries for the cancellation of one program after another. This approach makes our defense contractors wealthy at the expense of the people who put their lives on the line for this country.
Submitted by Sky at: February 26, 2014
The F-35 if ever operational will be able to perform beyond the capabilities of the pilot. With developing technology manned aircraft will be a thing of the past. should I drone on???
Submitted by Retired WW II pilot at: February 26, 2014
Compare the F-35 with the COLD WAR F-104 that was never in combat in Europe yet killed 100's of NATO pilots just flying in America and Europe. Gen. Eisenhower in his final Presidential speech warned about the Military-Industrial-COMPLEX, USA is living in it NOW.
Submitted by Dfens at: February 26, 2014
Sure, cancel the F-35 after you've let the defense contractor take their cut of the $200 billion that's already been spent on developing this jet. Cancel it now before a single airplane is operational. That's just what the defense contractors and their stooge POGO want. Because the the system works, and the next program is always better. Just ask POGO, they're the ones who told you we'd be better off canceling the F-22 for the F-35. And if the next program isn't better, if it is as big a fiasco as F-35 or even bigger, well you people have clearly demonstrated that your memories are short and your minds are simple, so I think POGO and the defense contractors they schill for are pretty safe in betting that you won't blame them. Come on, people, say it with conviction: THE NEXT PROGRAM IS BETTER. THE NEXT PROGRAM IS ALWAYS BETTER!
Submitted by Warmonger at: February 25, 2014
The F-15 entered service in 1976 as a counter to the Mig25 Foxbat. The next generation Mig29 and SU-27 Russian fighters did not enter service until 1983 (mig29) and 1985 (su-27) . For years after entering service it was the top dog of fighters. Has a perfect war record to date and even now after all these years is still one of the best jet fighters.Having said that,pilot training is just as important as the fighter if not more so in some instances. Long story short, I pray some day we get back to designing a true war machine such as the F-15 for our pilots to use rather than a politicians unrealistic dream of an all purpose airplane fit for all the military branches such as the F-35,F-4 and F-111 .
Submitted by amarineparent at: February 24, 2014
So, you just want to complain about what we are spending? What about the billions we spent on the F15, only to discover that it was outdated by Russian technology as soon as it hit the flightline. And how many billions are we spending currently on the F22, FA18, A10,AV8B etal; that we won't be spending once the F35 becomes operational? Funny, you dont talk about that part of the budget.
Submitted by LamontCranston at: February 23, 2014
Dont forget its deadly cousin the V-22
Submitted by betsy at: February 22, 2014
what a horrible waste of human expertise and precious resources, when hundreds of thousands of human lives are at stake!
Submitted by KheSanh_vet at: February 22, 2014
The only beef I see above is from 'mxyzyptylk'. They should have written the article.
Submitted by GONGA DIN at: February 22, 2014
Why was this aircraft even conceived--to fight whom? The military industrial complex has run out of manufactured enemies. Oh well, I look forward to the next multi-trillion dollar waste basket.
Submitted by at: February 22, 2014
Single mindedness is a thing of the past...went out with the toggle switch. More complex does not mean better. The U.K. made the Harrier and it served a good purpose. We could not succeed in that race. What race are we in now? Or are we just a run away pony?
Submitted by Lothar at: February 22, 2014
Reminds me of Goodyear and Navy Blimp Commanders efforts to keep making obsolete and very expensive and fragile Blimps back in 1958
Submitted by conehed at: February 22, 2014
I thought that CBS had doubled back, pointing out the problems and costs, and then letting all supporters speak about the pluses for the program. It was a teaser issue which end didn't emphasize the magnitude of costs - to be handed over to the taxpayer.
Submitted by dan at: February 21, 2014
too bad this story reported only on some of the minor defects and development problems like the bad tires and lights and didn't mention the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation's recent report which was very critical and reported on many serious problems for which no fixes have been found. Also surprising no critics were interviewed... oh well... good thing there are other sources of information about this aircraft besides 60 Minutes
Submitted by mxyzyptylk at: February 21, 2014
The worst thing is that the plan has glaring and major faults, thus making one overlook the real pilot-killers (bad oxygen system?). Perhaps worse is that they're starting to look for combat arms to eliminate to allow them to pay for it, and the Air Force is NOT one on the kill list.

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