The US Air Force (USAF) in February this year admitted before the
government that the highly advanced F-35 is a failure. Riddled with cost
overruns, high life-cycle expenses, maintenance issues, and a host of
technical deficiencies, the stealth jet - along with other failed
projects like the Zumwalt and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) of the US
Navy - have become a liability. This is amidst a US military revamping
fundamental doctrinal concepts ..
.. A deficient cockpit pressure regulation system that caused extreme
sinus pain; the night vision camera of the Helmet Mounted Display
showing horizontal green lines; the North Grumman AN/APG-81 Active
Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar that was unable to scan a
wider area; and an "inaccurate" 25 mm gun on some of the variants that
also caused "vibration stress" on the airframe. These were identified as
the remaining four 'Category 1' deficiencies by the F-35 Joint Programme
Office, which had originally listed a total of 13 such defects. By the
beginning of this year, the aircraft's Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines
were "overheating" to crack their fan blade coatings - now assumed to
also affect the more complex engine of the F-35B ..
Each engine for the F-35A, the Air Force variant, costs approximately
$10.8 million; the more complex engine for the F-35B costs $24 million.
The plane itself costs a minimum of $80 million per unit, making it the
costliest fighter jet in the world so far .. Bloomberg has predicted 20
percent of the Air Force's F-3As to be grounded by 2025. This is not to
mention the 850 Category 2 deficiencies that the F-35 Joint Program
Office (JPO) is tracking ..
The F-35 symbolizes a broader issue with the US Military-Industrial
Complex (MIC) itself. If inducing wars through its political influence
and threatening domestic security with easy availability of guns were
not enough, the MIC's business interests are now hurting the US' defense
American faults are mounting up.
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