F-35: Trillion Dollar War Plane May Still Not Be Ready For Combat

H/t reader squodgy:

“Notwithstanding that the US Navy reported a less than 50% readiness for combat result in last month’s tests on carriers, and a host of other unacceptables such as high radar detection rate, poor weapons carrying capability etc, its cost reaches $1,500 Billion or one and a half million million dollars……$1,500,000,000,000…….
and the number ordered shrinks by the day to levels approaching half, because it is unaffordable….now they complain it is not Gatling Gun capable….you know the gun which they use to kill their own with.”


F-35: Trillion Dollar War Plane May Still Not Be Ready For Combat (Shadow Proof, Aufg 10, 2015):

While Congress debates cutting Social Security, the most expensive weapons program in history — with an estimated lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion — is making questionable progress.

The US Marine Corps recently announced that, after 14 years of development, the F-35 is ready to be deployed and issued a declaration of initial operating capability (IOC). The IOC means that, in theory, the F-35 is fully operational and ready for combat use.

But while the Marines now officially can use the F-35 in combat, experts continue to question whether they should. The F-35 still has a host of reported problems that could endanger pilots and other US service members in a combat zone.

Though the IOC for the F-35b comes four years late, the plane will still not have a functional Gatling gun to protect ground troops until 2019. The Marines themselves have admitted that the plane’s sensor, communication, and night vision systems are also not up to the standards they set.

A report [PDF] from the Department of Defense’s Director for Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) paints a gloomy picture of the F-35’s current state of readiness. A review from the Project on Government Oversight concluded that the report showed “the old problems are not going away, new issues are arising, and some problems may be getting worse.”

Recent test flights of the F-35 demonstrate the fighter is going to also have problems squaring off with other fighters in combat. In simulated dogfights the F-35 was continually bested by the older F-16 fighter and failed to maneuver effectively.

One thing the Pentagon did get right was political engineering. Parts for the F-35 are being manufactured in over 40 states with the US assembly area located in Forth Worth, Texas. If the F-35 program were to be killed, potential voters would lose jobs throughout the country — a clear incentive for Congress to keep the program going no matter the failures.

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