The F-35 - The Most Notorious Weapon Ever Produced? (Do Canadians Know All This?)
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.
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August 30, 2019 - by Valerie Insinna for nytimes.com
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- When people ask whether it's as big a disaster as they've heard, it's hard to know what to say
- 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.
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.
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