Donald Trump Wants to Slash the F-35 Program, But It Won’t Be Easy, by Jay Bennett.
Full-scale production of the F-35 was originally scheduled to begin eight years ago, but this proved to be an overly-optimistic estimate by 11 years—and that’s assuming full-scale production does, in fact, begin in 2019 as projected now. The F-35 will be the most expensive weapons system in history by a significant margin, exceeding $1 trillion in projected lifetime costs. Trump has targeted the program as an area to save money.
But it has so much momentum, despite failing as a military airplane:
While he is right about the fighter’s troubled and expensive past, the Joint Strike Fighter is almost certainly too big to kill. The production of parts and software for the F-35 accounts for over 100,000 jobs at over 100 contractors spread across 45 states, lending it a broad base of congressional support. The Pentagon, meanwhile, has put all its eggs in the F-35 basket, expecting the jet to be the premier fighter for all branches of the military for the next 50 years.