For over a decade the US military has spent $1.5 trillion dollars to create an all-purpose fighter jet that would replace their diverse fleet of warplanes. It’s a project that has been rife with criticism for being grossly over budget and delayed for years, not to mention the fact that the plane is riddled with technical flaws and lacks manoeuvrability (most recently, it was revealed that the F-35 has a faulty radar that needs to be frequently restarted). And each of these problem prone aircraft cost 3 to 5 times as much to manufacture as older fighter jets, like the F-15 and F-16.

Now officials with the Pentagon are admitting that this massive boondoggle is a total bust. One official admitted that to replace the Air Force’s entire fleet, which was the original intention of the F-35 program, they would have eliminate a fifth of their squadrons to afford it. Two generals said that the whole idea of an all-purpose aircraft was flawed from the start, and the Pentagon is already planning a 6th generation fighter jet to replace the F-35.

To maintain any semblance of air superiority, the military will be forced to maintain their older weapon systems alongside the F-35 until a replacement is made, which is the ultimate proof that the concept of an all-purpose fighter jet is a complete failure. By the time the next generation fighter is in production, which is expected by the year 2040, our fleet of F-15s and F-16s will be 70 years old and completely outclassed by Chinese and Russian aircraft.

What’s worse is that even though the military hates this plane, they can’t scrap the project. Too much money has been spent to back out now, which you might recognize as the same logical fallacy that keeps compulsive gamblers from walking away from slot machines.

In addition to this, over 1,300 suppliers employing 133,000 people in 45 states, are responsible for building the F-35. This means that most members of Congress will be unwilling to vote down the project, for fear of killing jobs in their districts. So for the next few decades, the military is stuck with this faulty aircraft, and the taxpayers are stuck with the bill.

Australia knowingly buys faulty planes

Government backbencher Dennis Jensen has condemned the Prime Minister’s $12.4 billion plan to buy 58 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets as a “great national scandal” and “worse than a disgrace”.

In an extraordinary broadside in Parliament on Monday night, Dr Jensen warned that Australia’s national security was being corrupted by an “industrial-military complex” interested in promoting the global arms trade.

Fairfax revealed on Monday that Australia was now the seventh-largest importer of large-scale military materiel in the world, and also the biggest customer of the world’s largest weapons producer, the United States. Australia buys 10 per cent of all American weapons exports.

Australian purchases of major arms – such as warships, fighter planes, and tanks – increased by 83 per cent from 2004-08 to 2009-13.

In April, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the government would buy an additional 58 F-35 Join Strike Fighter jets at a cost of $12.4 billion. It will cost another $12 billion to keep the fighters operational over their active lifetime. The 58 aircraft are an addition to the 14 F-35s Australia already had on order.

Mr Abbott described the F-35 as the most advanced fighter in production anywhere in the world. “The F-35 will provide a major boost to the Australian Defence Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” he said.

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