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Vanity Fair: Will the F-35 Fly?

Author: Adam Ciralsky
September 16, 2013

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"Will the F-35, the U.S. Military's flaw-filled, years-overdue joint strike fighter, ever actually fly?"

The Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapons system ever developed. It is plagued by design flaws and cost overruns. It flies only in good weather. The computers that run it lack the software they need for combat. No one can say for certain when the plane will work as advertised. Until recently, the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, was operating with a free hand—paid handsomely for its own mistakes. Looking back, even the general now in charge of the program can't believe how we got to this point. In sum: all systems go!

The Joint Strike Fighter, or J.S.F., is the most expensive weapons system in American history. The idea behind it is to replace four distinct models of aging "fourth generation" military jets with a standardized fleet of state-of-the-art "fifth generation" aircraft. Over the course of its lifetime, the program will cost approximately $1.5 trillion.

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