Wild Blue Squander

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F-35: Headed for a hard landing?

There is not another nation on Earth that comes close to packing the aerial wallop of the U.S. Air Force. Or the U.S. Navy. Or even the U.S. Marine Corps, for that matter. So why are those three services so hell-bent on spending $382 billion for 2,457 new Joint Strike Fighter F-35 warplanes? It’s not like we’re on the verge of being overtaken by the al Qaeda air force.

“We want it, but it has to be affordable,” Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday. “At the moment in its projections, it’s not.” Brand new data contained in a Government Accountability Office report confirms Carter’s assessment, and then some. It’s  breath-takingly bad for taxpayers and anyone interested in smart procurement:

— The design is so fluid an additional 10,000 changes in its blueprints are predicted even after it has entered production, compared to a 2007 estimate.

— Its testing is falling far short of where it was predicted to be only four years ago.

— Costs have reached the stratosphere.

Once again: why the heck the rush?

Here are the a few of the GAO’s charts illustrating the plunder: