US will make an interceptor at the cost of nearly $500M each

WASHINGTON, (BM) – The United States plans to start an ambitious project in air aviation in the coming years. Bloomberg reports on a project to develop and manufacture an American interceptor fighter to deal with a possible threat from Iranian and Chinese missiles. According to the prestigious economic publication, the US Government plans to invest nearly $18 billion to implement the project.

The two largest American companies will participate in the first stage of the procedure – Lockheed Martin and Northrup Gruman. They will share approximately $ 6.5 billion for the first phase, the development of the interceptor. The winner between the two companies will receive a contract for the production of 31 interceptor fighters. This award expects to happen in almost five years – in 2026. 10 of these 31 new aircraft will be used for testing, both during production and during the other 21 aircraft operation.

According to preliminary planned costs, approximately $ 2.3 billion will be spent in the production phase. The United States plans to set aside the same amount for future long-term spending. According to the US Missile Defense Agency, the contractor planned field and air demonstrations of the next-generation interceptor fighter no later than 2028.

Joe Biden’s first significant defense project

Analysts say that this project for a new interceptor fighter of the US Air Force expects to be the first severe and extensive project of the new presidential administration in military aviation.

Interceptor fighters will have to deal successfully with the interception and destruction of missiles made in China and Iran. It is impressive that Bloomberg does not mention Russia as a possible third country.

Sources from the US State Department claim that after their production, the interceptor fighters will be located in Alaska. According to preliminary data, each one will cost $ 500 million, which is a significant amount for this type of aircraft.

The frustration called the F-35

The new interceptor fighter project poses significant risks. However, it will show whether the Americans have learned from their mistakes, one of which is the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter. This fighter has continued to be criticized for nearly two years. We remind you that one of the main functions of the F-35 was to replace the flotilla of existing F-16s completely, but this never happened, and looking at the situation at the moment, it will never happen.

Adam Smith said strong words in early March this year. According to him, Washington and the American taxpayer continue to spend on something that has “such low capabilities.” Adam Smith is not an accidental man – he is the chairman of the US Armed Forces Committee.

The prestigious American publication The Hill even called the F-35 a “broken weapon.” This symbol of American military technology had to build a small but resilient and effectively deadly fleet. But it wouldn’t.

When you are constantly upgrading a system with new technologies when you are continuously giving it higher expectations – sooner or later, it will fall to the ground, and the impact effect will affect everything around it. From 2001 until today, the F-35 is the “experienced bunny” of Lockheed Martin. And what did this lead to? High costs and delays. Since then, acquisition costs have been $ 428 billion, which should have been twice as low at about $ 240 billion.

However, these figures are too small compared to $ 1,727 trillion – estimated operating and maintenance costs. Congratulations to the winners (Lockheed Martin), and welcome to the losers’ dark zone (the American taxpayer).

The F-35 still has unresolved shortcomings

It would not be correct to think for a moment that the problems of the F-35 have arisen in the last two or three years. That is why we, the media, remind the citizens of what the politicians said, what they promised, and what they did not fulfill.

As early as April 2016, John McCain said that the F-35 was a scandalously tragic project, especially in cost, planning, and execution. Let’s go back to 2014 when Frank Kendall said the F-35 was abusing the acquisition. At the time, Kendall was not another critical senator but a Secretary of Defense.

In 2019, both we, as a media outlet and several others worldwide, published a terrible report on the fighter’s deplorable condition. 873 unresolved shortcomings? 873! Of all these 873 shortcomings, 13 were in category 1 – especially important and too severe to imagine that such a loudly advertised F-35 could have them.

And if you think that in 2019 these facts were clear, then you are sorely mistaken. A year earlier, in 2018, the figure was 917 unresolved shortcomings and 15 of category 1. I.e., in one year, the American taxpayer has given the state and the defense, respectively, billions of dollars. Still, Lockheed Martin and the military have solved only 44 shortcomings and 2 of category 1.

F-35 is like a sport Ferrari

Charles Brown, Chief of General Staff of the US Air Force said, that today the F-35 is like a sports Ferrari – you don’t go to work with it all day, but only on Sundays, and not everyone.

Whether the United States will overcome the difficulties with the F-35 and whether it will avoid the same mistakes in the creation of the new interceptor fighter remains to be seen. But we will certainly follow with interest the development of this ambitious American plan.

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