The last time I remember writing
something about the long overdue and over-budget F-35 fighter
plane, it was July 2013 and it was
another short bit about how the Department of Defense was going
to buy even more of a plane that is already costing at least 70
percent much as originally advertised but, well, you know, shit
Last February, The Fiscal Times wrote a daming expose on
Pentagon’s Incredible $1.5 Trillion Mistake“:
Equally impossible to ignore is the $1.5 trillion price tag for
one of the biggest failures in Pentagon history. $1.5 trillion is
the cost of operating the air craft for 55 years, an amount that
has been consistently increased as the program drags on. It’s the
most expensive weapons system the Pentagon has ever commissioned.
And as problems mount, there are growing concerns that the
F-35 will never fly a combat mission.
Now Reuters is reporting that
The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built
components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392
billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on
track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern
about China’s espionage and military buildup.
According to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters, chief U.S.
arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers, Northrop
Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc, to use
Chinese magnets for the new warplane’s radar system, landing gears
and other hardware. Without the waivers, both companies could have
faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program
could have faced further delays.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will
release a report on the matter in March.
Another fun fact: If the Pentagon gets all the F-35s it wants,
it will possess
15 times the number of planes that China has. Assuming at least
some of those rustbuckets work (and aren’t carrying Chi-Com
hardware that is beaming info back to Beijing), we should be pretty
safe from that air war over the Pacific everyone is predicting to
commence any minute now.
Oh yeah, and while we wait for the GAO report to hit the
suck on this: The United States already accounts for fully 40
percent of the planet’s spending on military and defense spending
rose by 80 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2001 and
2012. And somewhere in Arizona is a military aircraft graveyard
packe with over $35 billion (with a
b!) in never-used and nearly-new planes.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/03/biggest-defense-boondoggle-ever-f-35-fig