Q: What’s the difference between a single mother on welfare and the F-35 fighter jet?
A: The welfare mom actually works:
August 5, 2011 (by Lieven Dewitte) – For the third time in less than a year, the Pentagon has grounded all F-35 joint strike fighters because of a mechanical problem. The F-35s thus join the F-22 Raptors in stand down mode.
All flight and ground operations for the Joint Strike Fighter were ceased after the integrated power package (IPP) on a U.S. Air Force variant test aircraft failed on August 2nd during a ground maintenance run at Edwards Air Force Base.
The 20 operational test and training aircraft were parked and will stay that way until engineers and technicians can find why a power system that starts and cools the aircraft failed during an engine ground test Tuesday at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Flight and ground tests could potentially be suspended for a few weeks.
Heh. No wonder they call the F-35 the jet that ate the Pentagon. From last May:
The Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and many foreign partners plan to buy thousands of the fighter-attack jets over the next two decades to replace a variety of aging aircraft, but the development schedule of the stealthy fighter has slipped five years to 2018 and the projected cost to the Pentagon for 2,457 aircraft has ballooned to $385 billion, making it by far the most expensive weapons program in history.
The Government Accountability Office reported that although Pentagon management of the program is improving, developers have only completely verified 4 percent of the F-35’s capabilities. The program received another blow this week when the Senate Armed Services Committee learned that the Pentagon will likely have to spend $1 trillion over the next 50 years to operate and maintain the fleet of F-35s. Evidently reeling from sticker shock, Sen. John McCain demanded that “we at least begin considering alternatives.” But is it too late to prevent the F-35 program from devouring the Pentagon’s future procurement budgets?
That’s a rhetorical question, right? There’s always money for war, you idiots!
After the painful debt ceiling political theater we just endured, though, this is a hard pill to swallow. I just can’t believe we’re cutting programs vital to people’s health and welfare while sinking hundreds of billions of dollars into the bottomless pit that is the Pentagon. And yes, this truly is a black hole:
Air Force officials themselves may now doubt the wisdom of the size of the commitment to the F-35. According to a recent Aviation Week story, Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton placed new emphasis on the importance of the Air Force’s next-generation long-range bomber. With procurement funds sure to be tight in the decade ahead, Conaton hinted that the Air Force may have to raid the F-35’s future budgets in order to help pay for the new bomber.
Ah well, nothing to see here, let’s move along to the next trillion dollar bomber program! Bygones!
You know what’s funny? President Obama has already pledged to cut $400 billion from defense, while Leon Panetta has said anything over $350 billion would be tragic. So I guess that means we’ve agreed on $385 billion, the cost of this one failing program, hmm? You wanna bet?