The Costly F-35 Fighter: Positive Angle of Attack

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The F-35 Lightning II fighter program has struggled recently: then-defense secretary Robert Gates put the Marine version on “probation” for two years, before new defense chief Leon Panetta let it off a year early – apparently something to do with good flying behavior. Such positive news has led to this video, complete with the stirring brass-drums-strings-cymbals-end-of-Sgt.-Pepper kind of music that leads Battleland to want to double the buy.

A more balanced assessment of the program, recently issued by the Pentagon’s top weapons-tester, can be found here. Or this, from a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday, which pegs the cost of flying an F-35 for one hour at $23,557. That’s nearly $400 a minute — $6.54 a second. In 2002 dollars (which means today’s number is higher). Better pray for a short war.