The Pentagon has stuck with the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter program despite dozens of technical problems and delays, strategic concerns, and massive cost overruns that have nearly doubled the initial cost estimate, raising the cost of building the planes to around $US400 billion with a lifetime cost of up to $US1.5 trillion.
One reason why the project has become such a boondoggle is that many states and countries are significantly invested in the plane, relying on its production for income and jobs.
Every U.S. state but Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Wyoming has economic ties to the F-35, with 18 states counting on the project for $US100 million or more in economic activity, according to primary contractor Lockheed Martin. All told, the project is supposedly responsible for 32,500 jobs in the U.S. Globally, another nine countries have major ties to the F-35.
One way or another, America’s multirole fifth generation fighter is coming — though it was most recently delayed to September 2017.
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