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Thu Sep 19, 2019, 06:40 PM

The Most Notorious Weapon Ever Produced?

The Most Notorious Weapon Ever Produced?

There are no simple answers for fixing the F-35 program, as tempting as it is to look for a single root cause for its problems.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/magazine/f-35-joint-strike-fighter.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article®ion=Footer

By Valerie Insinna

Published Aug. 23, 2019
Updated Aug. 24, 2019



What is there left to say about the F-35 joint strike fighter? It’s the most expensive program in the Pentagon’s history and potentially its most ambitious, and it’s arguably the most notorious weapon ever produced. This week for At War, I wrote about its troubled history and the challenges the Defense Department is still facing.

As an air-warfare reporter, I’ve covered the minutiae of the F-35 program and the aircraft’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, for the past five years. When people ask whether it’s as big a disaster as they’ve heard, it’s hard to know what to say. I can’t help respecting the ambition of an effort that has tried to solve so many problems and has overcome technical and bureaucratic hurdles that would have killed another program, resulting in a plane that pilots seem to love and say is desperately needed. At the same time, it’s frustrating to watch the continued struggles knowing that American taxpayers will sink more than $1 trillion into an effort that has been poorly managed and resulted in so much waste.

Some officials in the Pentagon feel the same. This year, the Pentagon’s inspector general investigated Patrick Shanahan, then the acting defense secretary, over accusations of favoritism toward Boeing, Shanahan’s previous employer. One accusation derived from a Politico report in which a former senior Defense Department official said Shanahan had called the F-35 “[expletive] up” and suggested that Boeing would have done a better job running the program.

When the inspector general interviewed Shanahan about his comments, he said the capabilities of the F-35 were “awesome” but acknowledged that he criticized the program over having “insufficient spare parts in the inventory, the cost per flight-hour not decreasing fast enough and the logistics support system not having the functionality that the war fighters need to sustain the aircraft.” Military leaders from the F-35 program office, the Navy and the Air Force have publicly made similar complaints. In the end, the inspector general concluded that Shanahan had not crossed any lines.


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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2019, 06:50 PM

1. And the defense contractors are racking up historic cost overruns.



The carrier USS Gerald R Ford can't be delivered because the $13 Billion ship
won't work as designed. No problem. Just throw some more money at it.

Link: https://www.businessinsider.com/ford-aircraft-carrier-weapons-elevators-wont-work-anytime-soon-2019-5

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Response to lpbk2713 (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 19, 2019, 07:15 PM

3. At $200,000 that money would pay for 65,000 homes. WTF is wrong with our priorities.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2019, 06:59 PM

2. Ah

The F-35 Flying Pig. Your tax dollars at work.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2019, 07:31 PM

4. I still can't figure out why they can't simply create new airframes of a tried-and-true design

like the F-14, F-15, F-16, and FA-18.

Then install the latest technology in the airframes, and voila! capable, reliable strike fighters!

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2019, 08:06 PM

5. The planning for the manufacture of the F-35 was ingenious. They spread the jobs around many, many

The planning for the manufacture of the F-35 was ingenious.

They spread the jobs around many, many Congressional districts.

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