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Is the Joint Strike Fighter worth it?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Feb 1, 2010
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Is the Joint Strike Fighter worth it?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Feb 1, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Within the president’s new budget is more than $700 billion in military spending. Among the items being included in that budget, the controversial Joint Strike Fighter from Lockheed Martin. Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer reports there are concerns the aircraft won’t live up to its billing.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: The Joint Strike Fighter is being touted as the new “it” plane, designed for all branches of the military.

Winslow Wheeler is a defense industry analyst at the Center for Defense Information. He’s also one of the plane’s most vocal critics. He says the Joint Strike Fighter is just too complicated and expensive, and the whole $300 billion program should be scrapped.

Winslow Wheeler: It’s the most complex avionics ever devised by mankind. The writing of the software is not even complete, let alone the testing.

John Pike is director of globalsecurity.org. He says the Joint Strike Fighter is just experiencing normal growing pains.

John Pike: Airplanes are sort of like kids growing up. They go through phases in which they don’t look very promising and they look like they’re more trouble than they’re worth. But usually they tend to grow up and straighten out and fly right.

There is one thing Wheeler and Pike agree on: the plane’s cost was wildly underestimated. They say that’s because lawmakers wouldn’t have approved the Joint Strike Fighter if they knew its true cost.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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