Faulty Fliers


Anders Umholz, Staff Writer

One of the most expensive military planes ever produced, a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning costs the United States a boatload of cash, yet Congress wants more.

The F-35 was designed to replace the aging warplanes the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Italy, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands were using. As part of the Joint Strike Fighter program member countries had to pledge to support the construction of the planes, and purchase a number of them. Despite bringing some shiny new gadgets to our military, the JSF is costing taxpayers an insane amount of money. At around $123,000,000 per plane, the program is estimated to have a price tag of $1.2 trillion (with a “T”) by the end of 2070, when all 1,763 fighters are completed. On top of all that, the fighters that have been completed have encountered a hefty dose of issues. These include engine that light on fire, an inability to fly in instrument conditions such as clouds, fog, or dust, and problems with the onboard computer systems. However, our government continues to promote the faulty flyer. The main reason for this lies in the fact that many different individual parts for the F-35 are built in different states, in large factories that employ many people. Senators rightfully are supportive of anything that brings more job opportunities to their constituents, and so many are highly supportive of the program, thus allowing Lockheed-Martin, and other defense companies to weave themselves into the fabric of our democracy. As these private companies become intertwined with national interests, we should question the power of what’s commonly referred to as the “Military-Industrial Complex.” The United States already has the largest military in the world, with about as many aircraft as Russia and China combined, so it’s hardly necessary to buy 1,700 more deficient planes and cost taxpayers ludicrous amounts of money. It also seems as though the American military can’t back out of this deal, due to the way Lockheed-Martin structured it. Because Lockheed stopped producing the generation of planes before the F-35 (the F-22), the Air Force will run out of planes if the production is stopped on the F-35s. However, while it may be too late to save the money, the 1.5 trillion dollars that the Joint Strike Fighter program requires could have been redirected towards something more practical, like putting 10,000,000 kids through private college, improving infrastructure, or literally just giving everyone in the country $5,000 of of taxes back. Without a doubt, the F-35 is trash being advertised as gold, sucking the hard-earned money of Americans right out of their wallets, and not doing much to benefit anyone except for the pockets of a few Lockheed-Martin execs.