Feature

The F-35’s serious cost and quality problems

The costliest weapons system in U.S. history is plagued with hundreds of major problems.

The costliest weapons system in U.S. history is plagued with hundreds of major problems, according to a report released last week by the Pentagon’s watchdog. The stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter—slated to be the main tactical jet for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines—has more than 360 quality “issues” that could “adversely affect aircraft performance,” the Defense Department’s inspector general has found. Resolving them will drive up the program’s manufacturing costs, which have already ballooned to $392 billion—70 percent above the original estimate projected 12 years ago. The total operating costs of the long overdue program, now expected to launch in 2018, are pegged at $857 billion.

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