Mo Money, Mo Money, Mo Money

Despite the fact that the F-35 technically entered service last year, it is still not combat ready.

The block 4 upgrade is supposed to get it there (maybe) and now we discover that the price tag for this will run into the billions:

Lockheed-Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet, the world’s costliest weapons program, just got even costlier.

The estimated total price for research and procurement has increased by $22 billion in current dollars adjusted for inflation, according to the Pentagon’s latest annual cost assessment of major projects. The estimate for operating and supporting the fleet of fighters over more than six decades grew by almost $73 billion to $1.196 trillion.


Instead, the increase reflects for the first time the current cost estimates for a major set of upgrades planned in coming “Block 4” modifications, according to the report.


But the long-range cost estimate for operating the fleet from 2011 to 2077 was problematic even before the latest independent Pentagon cost projection of an increase to $1.196 trillion. By contrast, the F-35 program office’s latest estimate declined by about $8.5 billion to $1 trillion.

Block 4 is a major upgrade, and includes integrating new weapons beyond its current meager loadout, (including European weapons and the short range Sidewinder), adding electronic warfare capabilities, and adding the ability for the F-35 to communicate with legacy aircraft.

Note that even with this upgrade, the cannon will still not work properly, and the vaunted ALIS maintenance program is still (at best) marginally operational, so the term “combat ready” is a bit of a stretch.

For only a few tens of billions of dollars, which could otherwise be used to rebuild aging infrastructure, educate citizens, and provide healthcare.

The F-35 is an exercise in what James Tiberius Kirk would call, “The illogic of waste.”

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