By Andrew Cockburn
April 8, 2022
It is now generally acknowledged that the F-35 fighter stands tall in the pantheon of U.S. weapons-buying disasters, a mélange of waste, deceit, and mindless incompetence. According to the latest report from the Pentagon’s Director of Test and Evaluation, itself a muted document, the plane has at least six design flaws serious enough to cause “death, severe injury, or severe occupational illness” and “may cause loss or major damage to a weapon system” along with 845 other unresolved deficiencies.
This colossal SNAFU is now receiving official recognition as such. The Pentagon’s recently unveiled budget for next year proposes buying just 61 F-35s, down 33 from the number originally planned. Quizzed about this significant drop in demand at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on April 5, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley responded that they were waiting for the “Block 4” F-35s, which have a bundle of modifications aimed at correcting some of the plane’s more egregious deficiencies – an implicit admission that blocks one through three don’t give Putin much to worry about.[FULL ARTICLE]