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The Joint Strike Fighter Is Killing the Pentagon's Budget

on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:49

A few weeks ago I posted on how the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is fast becoming the biggest boondogle in this nation's history.  The primary reason for this being that (and I quote):

"The JSF program features $164 billion (give or take a few hundred million) in cost overruns over its original estimates, will deliver over 400 fewer aircraft than initially proposed, doing so years - if not decades - later than originally budgeted for, and in spite of all this the head of the program still doesn't have a clue when the aircraft will reach initial operational capability.  Moreover, there are serious questions about the aircraft's ability to survive in airspace dominated by the world's top air superiority fighters, no less those it will face if it ever reaches operational status..."

What's more the same post went on to lament the fact that the JSF is potentially undermining one of the biggest procurement successes the US Navy has had in recent history: the Virginia class attack submarine program.

As of today I would like to amend the previous statements "fast becoming the biggest boondogle in this nation's history" and "potentially undermining one of the biggest procurement successes". Without a shadow of a doubt the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is the biggest waste of money in the history of weapons acquisitions, and is not only undermining the Virginia class attack submarine program; but is also eating alive the Department of Defense's entire acquisitions budget. According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Joint Strike Fighter is not only the biggest weapons procurement program in the DOD (or the world for that matter), but is bigger than the total cost of purchasing the next fifteen largest weapons programs.  But don't just believe me on this - actually look at the GAO report - with Figure two on page 20 representing the money shot.

That's right the JSF is costing the United States Government more than the combined price of the following programs (to name just a few): The Virginia Class Attack Submarine, Littoral Combat Ship (a highly questionable purchase in its own right), the P-8A Poseidon, CH-53K Helicopter, CVN-78 Class Aircraft Carrier (yes, you read that right - the JSF is more expensive than the carriers one of its versions is meant to fly off of), Black Hawk helicopter, V-22 Osprey, DDG-51 Destroyer, Apache Helicopter, and more... The JSF is eating up 38% of the entire weapons budget! This bears repeating; 38% of the entire weapons budget. What's more, need I remind you that this is an aircraft that is slower, less maneuverable, shorter ranged, and lacks the service ceiling of a considerable number of fully operational fourth generation jet fighters fielded at a fraction of the JSF's cost. Finally, when JSF test flight performance milestones are compared to the documented performance capabilities of today's most modern 4+ and 5th Generation aircraft (many of which are not only fully operational but also battle tested) the JSF falls even further behind its ostensible peers  - regardless of the JSF's "stealth attributes" that are already far from the best in the world, or, for that matter, its "networking" attributes that are not exactly as unique as some claim.

What an absolute mess...


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