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The US Plans to Buy 500 Fighter Jets That Don't Work

The F-35 is a $400 billion (and counting) flying nightmare. And the Pentagon wants to buy hundreds of them — 'tests' and 'modifications' can come later.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

What can you do with hundreds of billions of dollars? If you're the wealthiest nation on earth with a 20% child poverty rate, the answer is beyond obvious: Let's spend all that money on a fancy airplane that we don't need and doesn't work. (The money will eventually "trickle down" to America's evaporating middle class, right? At the very least it will pay for no less than one week of blow and hookers for Lockheed's best and brightest.)

Feast your eyes upon this level of wholesale grift and piss-poor engineering:

<figcaption>'Russian radar will never detect all this money being flushed down the toilet'</figcaption>
'Russian radar will never detect all this money being flushed down the toilet'

Tests of how Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 will perform in combat won’t begin until at least August 2018, a year later than planned, and more than 500 of the fighter jets may be built before the assessment is complete, according to the Pentagon’s test office.

“These aircraft will require a still-to-be-determined list of modifications” to be fully capable, Michael Gilmore, the U.S. Defense Department’s top weapons tester, said in his annual report on major programs. “However, these modifications may be unaffordable for the services as they consider the cost of upgrading these early lots of aircraft while the program continues to increase production rates in a fiscally constrained environment.

In layman's terms: "We already know this aircraft has major problems, but we will buy hundreds of them anyway. By the way, we probably can't afford the necessary modifications to make them operational. So it goes."

The F-35 "project" has already cost American taxpayers some $391 billion (other estimates put the total at nearly $1.4 trillion), and even though everyone agrees that the plane is fatally flawed, production continues without interruption — a strategy a top Pentagon official once called “acquisition malpractice.” And the malpractice is staggering. Here's a list of some of the more notable problems with the F-35, compiled by the U.S Defense Department's top weapons tester:

  • A fuel system deficiency on all three models of the plane that limits their maneuverability when carrying a full load of gas.
  • A diagnostic system, called “ALIS,” that continues “to demonstrate poor accuracy and a high false alarm rate.”
  • Cracks in wing spars discovered in October on the Navy version of the F-35 and “damage to a significant number of fasteners and grommets” found during testing of the Marine Corps model.
  • A lack of high-fidelity simulators to rehearse combat missions and specialized data for each major geographic area that pilots will use to test sensors and track enemy radar.
  • A pilot escape system that could kill ejecting pilots who weigh 136 pounds or less by breaking their necks. DellaVedova said the program office plans improvements by November to fix the neck-stress issue.

It's already been widely reported that the F-35 has serious maneuvering problems, and missiles that can be easily neutralized. Heck, the F-35 can probably be shot down by old-timey MiGs — all for the low price of 23 years of free college for every American.

What's next? A "state-of-the-art" Navy fleet that doesn't float?



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