Fiscal hawks are fighting to reform costly government spending programs and trim a bloated bureaucracy and the F-35 program is becoming an exorbitant Pentagon failure. The most expensive military program in history is getting a free pass from otherwise fiscally responsible lawmakers.
The F-35 fighter jet program looks increasingly like a failure, and many politicians in Washington D.C. don’t want to admit it. The extravagant military program is hitting one obstacle after another in its development; from failing to meet testing benchmarks to ballooning costs. A report by Stars and Stripes reveals that although it is supposed to replace the F-15, F-16, and F-18, and the A-10 Warthog, the F-35 does not appear up to the task.
In its latest testing, the supposed zenith of military aviation was outmaneuvered by the very F-16 it is supposed to replace. The simulated dogfight resulted in numerous disappointing encounters with the older jet–the Lightning’s lack of energy maneuverability – a qualitative engineering method used to calculate an aircraft’s capabilities – being the most important shortcoming. The report goes on to state that “Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement.”
Not only does it prove inferior to older U.S. air crafts, but the F-35 is also under-performing in face-offs against foreign style jets, Russian or Chinese. It is noted in a report by military.com that “the 5th generation jet [F-35], will be outmaneuvered in dogfights with current Russian and Chinese jets as well as the U.S. aircraft it is slated to replace.” Such disappointing results point to a compromised national defense.
Construction costs stand at $400 billion at the moment, almost twice the initial estimate. In a time of budgetary restraints and cutting back, the federal government insists on sinking $1.45 trillion over the next 50 years on a plane that is proving itself to be a lemon. Considering the estimate was only at $1 trillion in 2011, the $450 billion increase in required funds indicates that the $1.45 trillion will likely increase further.
The U.S. atomic bomb Manhattan Project cost $26 billion in its entirety measured in today’s dollars. To put it in perspective, the F-35 program costs grew by “approximately one Manhattan Project every three weeks between 2011 and 2012.”
A Stars & Stripes report indicates that if the F-35 program continues this course, it “may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American air power at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives.”
If conservative fiscal hawks and defense hawks want to regain their credibility of handling the nation’s finance, while securing for the national defense, they need to address government waste on all fronts, including Pentagon and the military.
Americans for Tax Reform supports a strong national defense and a strong military, but that should not allow careless waste of U.S. tax payer money.