Why the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter might not stink

April 7, 2016

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PARTICIPANTS: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Andrea Shalal

This week on War College, we’re diving into the weeds on how weapons systems come into existence, from the officer who first sees the need to the bureaucrat who gets it done.

Andrea Shalal, Reuters’ longtime aerospace correspondent, takes us through the steps. She also gives a counterpoint to the show’s very first episode, which focused on the flaws of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter plane and program. In a discussion that may surprise to some listeners, she describes a program that’s back on track, despite its possible trillion-dollar price tag.

Related episodes of War College

America’s Joint Strike Fighter flies into a world of trouble

Why in the world is the 60-year-old B-52 still flying?


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The U.S. government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years, according to a Pentagon document obtained by Reuters. (March 29, 2012)

The need for reassurance that this epic boondoggle “might” actually work someday is so absurd that I am left speechless.

Posted by Alljack | Report as abusive

Yes, let’s cancel this and give ANOTHER TRILLION to ILLEGAL ALIENS, people still spreading AIDS with the sodomite practices and those who don’t work yet continue having kids they don’t support.

Posted by UgoneHearMe | Report as abusive

UgoneHearMe, you sound really smart. You must have gone to trump University.

I’m going to venture a guess…. that you live south of the Mason-Dixon line. And you got some married cousins in the woodpile. What ever floats your boat.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

i swear some of you folks want the F-35 to fail. i tip my cap to those involved, for pulling off a very challenging program. way to go!

Posted by spartyb | Report as abusive

I bet Lockheed bosses got their hefty bonuses, but the engineers did an amazing job with F-35!

Posted by UauS | Report as abusive

For all the discussions about military aircraft, I never see any discussion about pilots. The simple fact of the matter is that the F-35 and F-22 are ridiculously overpriced and unnecessary because our pilots smoke all our potential enemies in what they already have, at a quarter of the price. While Russian pilots are picking rutabagas, and Chinese pilots are being politically indoctrinated, our pilots (and our allies) are in the classroom, the simulator and the cockpit. We do not need to throw money at new toys. We need to keep throwing money at our pilots.

Posted by MikRay | Report as abusive

Meanwhile in other news, the airforce is deploying its ‘powerful’ B-52 bombers in the fight against Islamic State. You know, those ‘powerful’ airplanes that they used to build in the 1950’s. Apparently they don’t make them like that anymore. It’s a lost art???

Posted by nose2066 | Report as abusive

And in other news, the first drone attack fighters which don’t need space for those biologics on board, land on US Aircraft carrier showing the way to increase performance while decreasing political risks and costs of deployment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw3m7bqr Q64

Better finish getting those trillion dollar weapon systems in place guys before the machines take over.

Posted by Peritaxi | Report as abusive