PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Criticism of the American stealth fighter of the fifth-generation F-35 does not stop -on international and local level. The future is unclear, but analysts say the F-35 is becoming an unsalvageable project.
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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.” Of course, back in 1990, this was not the idea of the US military. They wanted a plane to replace the tired F-16 and A-10 horses – the symbol of the American struggle during the Cold War with the USSR. The F-35 had to be low-end with high strategic efficiency. 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 continually 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.
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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).
History remembers, but people are silent
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.
“Cul-de-sac” or No exit road
Charles Brown, Chief of General Staff of the US Air Force, 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.
The problems of the F-35 are complex. But the main problem is upgrading technology during production. I.e., when a problem is identified, the manufacturer must return those already manufactured to correct the problem, which significantly exceeds the maintenance costs of the aircraft itself. But you can’t leave an already manufactured aircraft with an existing issue discovered during the production of a new version.
The worst is not over – it is coming. Although the plane showed poor results, despite all the problems known to be criticized, “killing these flocks” is impossible. Why? The lobby.
Hawaii and North Dakota are the only states that do not have senators lobbying on Lockheed Martin’s behalf. You don’t cut the branch you’re sitting on, do you?
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