If you’ve been keeping up on political news for the past several years, you’d undoubtedly heard of the infamous F35 Joint Strike Fighter, manufactured by military-industrial complex darling, Lockheed Martin. You also probably have heard about the colossally expensive price tag for the program that’s been projected over it’s lifetime.
However, did you also know that for the paltry sum of 100-120 million dollars EACH, only about half of the F35’s delivered are actually able to be used? I don’t mean used as in allowed by some act of Congress. I mean literally half of them cannot be used in an airborne capacity. I’m no military scientist, but a fighter jet that can’t fly seems to be a bit ironic.
According to a recent report, only 51% of the 280 aircraft delivered so far are functioning as intended and able to be used. At the top end, that’s nearly 17 billion dollars pissed away by the Pentagon, and almost no elected legislators, Democrat OR Republican seem to care at all.
As the article puts it, these non-functional aircraft will simply sit on tarmacs here and there on our military bases, doing literally nothing but occupying space until they get cannibalized and/or recycled for parts and materials. The best case is they undergo extensive retrofitting to make them able to function. Regardless of which happens, these will amount to more money spent “fixing” the problems that should never have existed.
The F35 is the most expensive failed weapons development program in history. The total costs estimated over the lifetime of the program, as of June 2017, were coming in at over 1.5 TRILLION dollars. That was before this year and new talks commenced by Lockheed to sell more garbage to the taxpayers.
Let’s imagine for a moment that we set aside 1.5 trillion dollars in future spending to be used for tuition free college in America. At an estimated 60 billion/year, that’s 25 years of tuition free college. Maybe if we had that much free college for 25 years, we could produce a person smart enough to make a plane that could fly more than 50 percent of the time.