By The Editorial Board
July 30, 2015
THINKING BIG doesn’t always pay, especially when it comes to military procurement. Complex, aspirational weapons systems are irresistible to military brass, because they keep budget dollars flowing for years on end. Members of Congress like them too, especially when they can locate a manufacturing facility inside their district.
But weapons systems with too many new bells and whistles get mired in cost overruns, delays, and technical challenges. All too often, they take so long to develop that they are no longer cutting edge when they come on line. That’s the case with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a state-of-the-art radar-eluding plane set to take to the skies this month after several years of delay. The plane, which was commissioned in 2001, has been beset with engine problems, software glitches, and flaws in its fuel system. Each issue that had to be fixed drove up the cost. Today, the F-35 costs roughly twice what the US military thought it would back in 2001.[Full Article]