Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Junk F-35, Says POGO Director Amid Pricing, Underperformance Issues

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter aircraft is an under-performing plane, according to Winslow Wheeler, Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight.

      According to Wheeler, the F-35 is a mediocre aircraft because its “varied requirements force it to make compromises” and says that the aircraft should be boxed.

      Wheeler alleges that “manufacturer Lockheed Martin used a pricing vocabulary that masked the exorbitant costs”.

      “There is only one thing to do with the F-35: Junk it. America’s air forces deserve a much better aircraft, and the taxpayers deserve a much cheaper one. The dustbin awaits,” he told news website Foreign Policy.

      While not as expensive as F-22 Raptors, which cost upwards of $678 million apiece, the F-35 is the most expensive weapons program, with the total cost to buy and operate all F-35’s estimated to be more than $1.5 trillion, according to Foreign Policy.

      Meanwhile, ally Canada will have to rely on the U.S and other allies for air-to-air refueling of its F-35 aircraft because of the incompatibility between stealth fighters and Canada’s current refueling aircraft.

      According to reports, this highly critical move will make the Canadian Military heavily dependent on third parties to realize the full potential of the fighter aircraft.

      In 2011, Defence Minister Peter MacKay informed Parliament that the F-35 could handle different types of refueling systems, including the one currently used by the Canadian forces. This was also corroborated by Lockheed Martin when the contract was initially signed.

      But subsequent defense department documents revealed that the F-35 was, in fact, incompatible with Canada’s existing fleet of refueling aircraft.

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