The fact that the F-35 Lightning II isn’t making an appearance at the Farnborough International Airshow is the latest in a never-ending string of disappointments that have marked the plane’s controversial history. From past challenges with tail hooks and tires to engine cracks and engine fires, life has never been easy for the F-35, which has even had to confront an embarrassing vulnerability to its namesake weather phenomenon.
Such setbacks might be acceptable — and expected — in a nascent experimental program, but the F-35 has already been in production for 8 years. Indeed, largely due to concurrent testing and production, an approach that Under Secretary of Defense for AT&L Frank Kendall memorably referred to as "acquisition malpractice" (and one that hopefully will not be replicated any time soon), DOD will spend $1.65 billion merely to bring early-production jets up to standard. Total program acquisition costs will reach $398.6 billion, with 55-year life-cycle costs surpassing the stratospheric $1 trillion mark, thus solidifying the F-35’s legacy as the most expensive weapons program in history.
Read the full post on Foreign Policy's Best Defense blog.
More from CNAS
PodcastU.S And 25 Other Nations To Participate In Huge Joint Training Exercise
Last year the pandemic derailed large-scale war gaming – this year it's back with a vengeance. The U.S. military is taking part in a massive joint training exercise across Eur...
By Becca Wasser & Jay Price
ReportsMaking Sense of Cents
Executive Summary This report contextualizes the Biden administration’s discretionary funding request for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in fiscal year (FY) 2022, referr...
By Stacie Pettyjohn & Becca Wasser
CommentarySharper: The Next 100 Days
As the administration marks its 100th day in office, what lies ahead?...
By Anna Pederson & Chris Estep
CommentaryAmerica’s Military Risks Losing Its Edge
Much about the way the Pentagon operates continues to reflect business as usual, which is inadequate to meet the growing threats posed by a rising China and a revisionist Russ...
By Michèle Flournoy