How did the Pentagon’s F-35 fighter jet program, which was originally thought up as a way to cut costs, end up becoming the most expensive weapons program in history?
Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says policymakers boxed themselves into this expensive fighter jet. “By canceling the F-22 air superiority fighter,” Eaglen said, “it made the F-35 fighter the only fighter option available to the Pentagon.”
Eaglen says the original concept behind the JSF program—that creating a single, unified aircraft for all branches of the military would lower costs—has been discredited. “It’s never truly joint; these are fraternal twins,” Eaglen said.
Ben FitzGerald, Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, says today the debate all centers around one question: “how do we manage the cost.”
Canceling the F-35 is no longer an option, he said, because the Pentagon has put all its eggs in one basket.