The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is possibly one of the most useless jets and biggest waste of taxpayer money ever conceived by the US military. In fact, according to Pierre Sprey, one of the three men that created the F-16, the point of this plane is “to spend money.” He clarifies, “that is the mission of the airplane, is for the US Congress to send money to Lockheed [Martin].”
Last summer, F-35 program officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said the F-35’s logistics system was “the brains and blood of operating this weapons system.”
Despite many fixes, the aircraft’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is so flawed that government auditors believe the computer system may not be deployable. These problems may also delay the Air Force’s declaration of Initial Operational Capability. And now, in a surprising twist, Bogdan is saying ALIS is not really critical after all, insisting the F-35 can fly without it for 30 days. Continue reading
“This modernization effort is like a new program with estimated costs of about $3 billion over the next six years,” Michael Sullivan, director of acquisition and sourcing management issues at GAO, told the House Armed Services Committee on March 23. “That price alone would qualify it as a major defense acquisition program in it own right and it should be managed as such.”
Not only would the F-35 take off from land bases like most conventional fighters do—it would also be able to launch from aircraft carriers and lift off vertically from smaller assault ships.
To do all these things today, the Pentagon possesses no fewer than eight different types of fighters. Dogfighting F-15s and F-16s. Hard-hitting A-10 ground-attack planes. Several kinds of carrier-launched F/A-18s. Vertical-takeoff Harriers. Continue reading
The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) recently released a scathing assessment of the F-35 program as part of his annual report. Buried inside 48 pages of highly technical language is a gripping story of mismanagement, delayed tests, serious safety issues, a software nightmare, and maintenance problems crippling half the fleet at any given time.
The report makes clear just how far the F-35 program still has to go in the development process. Some of the technical challenges facing the program will take years to correct, and as a result, the F-35’s operationally demonstrated suitability for combat will not be known until 2022 at the earliest. While rumors that the program office would ask for a block buy of nearly 500 aircraft in the FY 2017 budget proposal did not pan out, officials have indicated they may make such a request next year. The DOT&E report clearly shows any such block commitments before 2022 are premature. Continue reading