After almost $2 trillion of taxpayers money has been flushed down the toilet already America's latest all singing, all dancing (but unfortunately non - flying superplane, the F-35, Britain's committment to buy these junk heaps (I almost typed 'flying junk heaps' but that would be a misrepresentation,) the project may turn out to be an even bigger waste of money for Britain than 40 years of EU membership.
The first F-35 Lightning to land in the UK triggered a storm of controversy over why we were taking delivery of a hugely expensive aircraft that has shown in trials it is not fit for purpose, but also having been in development for over twenty years already looks very dated against the latest Russian and Chinese warplanes. Questions surrounding the safety and ability of an aircraft that has already cost US and British taxpayers over $1.5 trillion with recent estimates indicating that the total program cost will creep up to $2 trillion due to an embarrassing array of mishaps since the effort began to construct the jet in 2001 are no nearer to being resolved even now.
The fighter jet has been slammed by military aircraft experts in recent years as the cost continues to rise. The F-35 comes in at a cost of $150 million (£ 100 million) per aircraft, but has been saddled with continuous delays, system malfunctions, and safety issues.
This week it was reported that the aircraft’s ejection seats would snap the neck of any pilot weighing under 135 pounds while those between the weight of 135-160 pounds are considered to be highly susceptible to immediate death on ejecting.
Combat testing for the fighter jet has also been delayed for an additional year due to a persistent software glitch that causes the plane to suddenly shutdown in flight. The fleet was grounded recently when an overheating problem raised fears fears that its engine could catch fire. The fighter jets guns have also proven defective and completely unable to fire forcing a reworking of the weapons system which will not be complete until 2019.
Most concerning is that even if defense contractor Lockheed Martin and the partners of the fighter jet program are able to work past the bevy of growing system defects, glitches, and safety hazards the F-35 has consistently underperformed in flight simulations losing repeatedly to the 40 year old F-16 fighter jet in combat exercises. The F-16 costs roughly 1/10 as much as the F-35 to produce per unit. Royal Air Force flyers are using similarly venerable Jaguar fighters and Harrier Vertical Take Off Aircraft.
So the American's can seek answers from their own government, we in Britain have to ask our Ministry Of Defence Chiefs WTF they thought they were doing ordering a fighter
Russian Sukhoi SU35 demonstrates that it can actually fly (Image source)
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