This is Sequester Day, so I thought it appropriate to examine a Defense spending boondoggle. This particular scam is called the F-35 Fighter, as the San Francisco Chronicle detailed a week ago in F-35 Fighter Too Big to Kill as Lockheed Hooks 45 States.
Instead, the Lockheed Martin Corp. aircraft has been plagued by a costly redesign, bulkhead cracks, too much weight, and delays to essential software that have helped put it seven years behind schedule and 70 percent over its initial cost estimate. At almost $400 billion, it’s the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history.
The most expensive weapons system in U.S. history. That's saying something. And it doesn't even work.
Still, the F-35 has a lot of bipartisan political support. It's not hard to see why.
It is also the defense project too big to kill. The F-35 funnels business to a global network of contractors that includes Northrop Grumman Corp. and Kongsberg Gruppen ASA of Norway. It counts 1,300 suppliers in 45 states supporting 133,000 jobs — and more in nine other countries, according to Lockheed. The F-35 is an example of how large weapons programs can plow ahead amid questions about their strategic necessity and their failure to arrive on time and on budget.
“It’s got a lot of political protection,” said Winsolw Wheeler, a director at the Project on Government Oversight's Center For Defense Information in Washington. “In that environment, very, very few members of Congress are willing to say this is an unaffordable dog and we need to get rid of it.”
The Pentagon said today it suspended all F-35 flights after a routine engine inspection of a test aircraft revealed a crack on a turbine blade. The jet is also facing scrutiny as the March 1 deadline to avert automatic U.S. budget cuts approaches.
The across-the-board reductions [the sequester] would take as much as $45 billion this year from defense programs, including the F-35.
And then there's the potential economic benefit. The United States is far and away the biggest arms dealer on Earth.
The supersonic F-35 was intended to transform military aviation. Three versions for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps would be built off a common assembly line, permitting faster production, reduced costs and compatibility among allied air forces.
About a quarter of the aircraft would be purchased by other countries. Norway, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark and the U.S. agreed in 2006 to cooperatively produce and sustain the F-35 jet. Israel and Japan later signed on to purchase jets and take part in their development...
The F-35 will probably become the dominant export fighter for the U.S. aerospace industry, Gordan Adams, who served as the senior White House official for national security and foreign policy budgets under President Bill Clinton, said in a phone interview.
“This is the last U.S. export fighter standing, and that has saved this program,” said Adams, now a foreign-policy professor at American University in Washington. “There is a huge economic element to the F-35.”
The noun "boondoggle" doesn't seem adequate to describe the F-35 fighter program. Sometimes I consult a thesaurus to help me write these posts.
There is no dearth of words to choose from. English speakers have lots of options in cases like this.
deception; falseness; untruth; imposition, inposture; fraud, deceit, guile; fraudulence, fraudulency; covin; knavery (cunning); misrepresentation (falsehood); bluff; straw-bail, straw bid [U.S.]; spoof., delusion, gullery; juggling, jugglery; slight of hand, legerdemain; prestigiation, prestidigitation; magic; conjuring, conjuriation; hocus-pocus, escamoterie, jockeyship; trickery, coggery, chicanery; supercherie, cozenage, circumvention, ingannation, collusion; treachery; practical joke., trick, cheat, wile, blind, feint, plant, bubble, fetch, catch, chicane, juggle, reach, hocus, bite; thimblerig; card sharping, artful dodge, swindle; tricks upon travelers; stratagem (artifice); confidence trick, fake, hoax; theft; ballot-box stuffing [U.S.] barney, brace game, bunko game, drop game, gum game [U.S.], panel game, shell game, skin game [U.S.]., snare, trap, pitfall, decoy, gin; springe, springle; noose, hoot; bait, decoy-duck, tub to the whale, baited trap, guet-a-pens; cobweb, net, meshes, toils, mouse trap, birdlime; dionaea, Venus's flytrap; ambush; trapdoor, sliding panel, false bottom; spring-net, spring net, spring gun, mask, masked battery; mine; flytrap; green goods [U.S.]; panel house., Cornish hug; wolf in sheep's clothing (deceiver) [more]; disguise, disguisement; false colors, masquerade, mummery, borrowed plumes; pattes de velours., mockery (imitation); copy; counterfeit, sham, make- believe, forgery, fraud; lie; "a delusion a mockery and a snare" [Denman], hollow mockery., whited sepulcher, painted sepulcher; tinsel, paste, false jewelry, scagliola, ormolu, German silver, albata, paktong, white metal, Britannia metal, paint; jerry building; man of straw., illusion (error); ignis fatuus; mirage
Take your pick!
Have a nice weekend.