F-35 Stealth Jet At Risk Of Falling Behind China And Russia Defenses, Panel Says

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Sep 17, 2021 - 02:10 AM

The House Armed Services Committee warned that Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet, the world's most expensive weapons system, may underperform against Chinese and Russian air defense systems, according to Bloomberg. The panel also pointed out the fighter's exorbitant program costs. 

The defense committee called into question "overly aggressive development and production schedules" that for more than two decades have resulted "in longer schedules and much higher costs than planned to realize less than full warfighting capabilities required by the Department of Defense."

It said adversaries pose "near-peer" challenges that could threaten the F-35s existence on the modern battlefield. It warned it's "uncertain as to whether or not the F-35 aircraft can sufficiently evolve to meet the future expected threat in certain geographical areas of operations in which combat operations could occur." 

No adversaries were named, but we're assuming the committee is pointing to China and Russia as they quickly advance radar systems, fifth-generation fighter jets, and hypersonic weapons. 

The committee also expressed that the F-35 has yet to prove dominance against simulated Russian and Chinese air defense systems. The simulation has yet to be completed and was delayed last December, initially planned for 2017. 

We pointed out the stealth jet has 871 software and hardware flaws that could affect combat operations. Ten out of those issues are considered potentially serious issues. 

Even though the F-35 is wired with problems, the committee continues to support the nearly $400 billion acquisition program in its latest version of the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill. Taxpayers can expect to pay upwards of $1.5 trillion over the plane's total lifetime (through 2070). 

Norm Singleton via The Mises Institute called the F-35 program a terrible investment as it makes "America less safe by spending us into bankruptcy:" 

The F-35 program is expected to cost well over $1 trillion when it is fully operational and deployed. That massive investment will serve to enrich government contractors while giving interventionist politicians an offensive weapon of war. This program was created as a "too big to fail" scheme where once the government starts the process of making these fighter jets, they will have spent so much money that they can't back away. The F-35 program is a bad deal for the taxpayer while promoting a policy that will make these same taxpayers less safe.

The main takeaway is that America's global air dominance is whittling away due to bad investments.