BY ALFRED MEYER
MARCH 27, 2023 1:01 PM
While Tom Cruise heroically flies fighter jets in the film Top Gun: Maverick, which was vying for an Oscar for Best Film this year, two communities in the United States—Burlington, Vermont, and Madison, Wisconsin—are contending with the dangers caused by the basing of F-35s in residential neighborhoods.
These potential harms include exposure to damagingly loud noise, air and water pollution, and crashes in which the jets’ composite airframe materials burn along with the jet fuel, possibly igniting much worse fires. The F-35s are a weapons system whose ostensible purpose is to provide long-term safety and security for Americans, yet they are causing real and present damage to young and old alike in these communities.
The F-35’s story really takes off in 2001, when Lockheed Martin, one of the largest U.S. military contractors, won a contract to produce this state-of-the-art, fifth-generation stealth fighter jet that was intended to become the backbone of U.S. tactical aircraft power. Different models were built for the Air Force, the Marines, and the Navy. Controlled with an eight-by-twenty-inch touch screen by a pilot wearing a $400,000 helmet that projects flight and targeting information onto the pilot’s visor, the F-35 is designed to be linked to the military’s computer-command systems. This is the cutting edge of warfare, provided that the systems are not hacked or jammed.[FULL ARTICLE]