Pentagon Grounds All F-35s After Routine Inspection
Posted on Feb 22, 2013
The $400 billion boondoggle known as the Joint Strike Fighter suffered another setback Friday when the Pentagon grounded the first 51 of 2,400 desired jets.
The F-35 was already a tough sell in a post-Cold War world more interested in drones than manned aircraft. Delays and overruns have continued to drive up the price of each aircraft and the planes, which first flew in 2006, are still being tested. It’s a good thing too. At somewhere close to $300 million a pop, you don’t want cracked engine blades turning up. But that’s exactly what the government found during an inspection at Edwards Air Force Base in the California desert.
The Associated Press:
A watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight, said the grounding is not likely to mean a significant delay in the effort to field the stealthy aircraft.
“The F-35 is a huge problem because of its growing, already unaffordable, cost and its gigantically disappointing performance,” the group’s Winslow Wheeler said. “That performance would be unacceptable even if the aircraft met its far-too-modest requirements, but it is not.”
The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program at a total estimated cost of nearly $400 billion. The Pentagon envisions buying more than 2,400 F-35s, but some members of Congress are balking at the price tag.
—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer. Follow him on Twitter: @peesch.