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The F-35 Fighter Aircraft: A Staggering Doomed Mess

Updated on February 12, 2013

America's new F-35 Lightening aircraft is an great example of a mess. The first flight of a prototype was in 2006, yet, it is still NOT in production and over 2400 of them are to be built and bought. In February 2011, the Pentagon put a price of $207.6 million for each of the 32 aircraft to be acquired in 2012. But, the F-35 has been one snafu after another in perfecting this this 5th generation fighter.

According to the most recent budget report, the cost of the 2400 aircraft will be $1 trillion! What kind of number is this??? The previous estimate was a cheap $331 billion!

There has been so many mechanical problems it i mind numbing. Most of those are fixed, however, now the problem is the software used in the aircraft. The problem is so serious that if the code cannot be done, the aircraft is doomed. How much code? Try 10 million lines of software source code. The officer in charge of getting this done has stated, " it scares the hell out of me". Oracle was suppose to have its portion of the code done by Oct. 2013 after spending $1 billion already. Now, the company wants another billion dollars just to get to one-quarter functionality by 2020! Huh? You mean, by 2020, only one-fourth of their portion of the code will done? But, will it work as planned? No bugs? Right!

Many countries counting on buying the F-35 now have said it is too expensive to buy and maintain, if and when, production starts. They are considering other options. As of 2013, 187 have been built and all must not be refitted for a variety of reasons and defects. Lockheed, the company making them, now has laid off workers. Testing the F-35 is suppose to end in 2016. The US Air Force and Lockheed have become and odd couple. The USAF blames Lockheed for the cost overruns and Lockheed blames the USAF for their planning and development of the aircraft's systems and what they want it do to.

Regardless, it is a boondoggle that both parties are stuck with.


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      jo-pointingtheobvious 4 years ago

      It suffers from the same flaws as F22.

      -1) High maintenance time and cost : Means less time for pilots to train ,less planes , and it indicates the plane cannot sustain operations in harsh environment.

      -2)Internal payload philosophy: The plane have almost the same flying performance with or without payload....But ! Since it is internal ,the plane is fat. Since plane is fat it has poor maneuverability. And ,unlike classical planes,it cannot drop fueltanks or unneeded payload to improve that. Poor maneuverability means being poor at dogfights...but also poor at dodging ,including long range missiles and SAMs. causes another problem that most military "experts" never saw.

      If the payload is have to OPEN the bay to shoot or bomb !

      (thx cpt obvious) and it cannot be done at high speed, because it create huge change in the flying profile and huge stress on the hull, risking the plane to crash or tear apart...So , you have to open them at slow speed , but slow speed in air combat or ground attack means taking hits.In modern warfare ,taking hits means to be shot, unless you have minimum armor (or flying a A-10 ).This leads to next point.

      3)Armor. None.

      Sure , a combat aircraft is not a battletank. But no armor at all means that plane can be damaged by small arms fire, and would be shred to pieces by 20+mm cannons. It means low level flying is a deathwish on these shiny things. But, one could argue that one or two holes in a wing wont destroy the plane.Wrong. It has to be placed in context.Our context here is f22 and f35 .These planes are filled with fuel everywhere.

      It means a guerrilla guy having a lucky shot with his ak-47 can torch up these planes ...That is why they cannot be deployed today in warzones, they are just airshow and propaganda tools. Not rugged warmachines.

      If sent in a warzone, they are basically flying flammable coffins.


      A big lie that makes people wet inside.But still a lie.

      Look at these planes.Are they invisible ? No they are huge, they produce incredible noise, heat , and when they open their bay , they have as much radar signature as any plane. In somalia, people spot the OTAN aircraft and choppers with....sentinels equipped with cellphones and (drumroll..) ears and eyes ! XD

      Also ,the so called stealth ability is valid against one or few radars in specific angles.In a modern conflict ,against modern forces ,there are radars everywhere ,on all angles. And most of them will spot the plane, lock it and transmit the information to everybody.

      Lets add that this "stealth skin" of theirs is one of the major reason for the high cost ,high maintenance time and fragility.F22 skin has been described as "vulnerable to...rain" XD


      Honestly i don't know why these 2 planes have such technical problems.

      Lets face it , their software is a total mess leading to pilots deaths.

      The f22 is unable to communicate with anything but f22s and ground bases.Means the pilot cannot coordinate his actions with any other unit...woaw. F22 have one critical failure (one failure causing the destruction of the plane) every 170 minutes ...flying coffin.

      The list goes on and on.

      The "5th generation" is just a marketing toy to make big money ,and the politicians ,who have interests and want their shares of that big money , supported it.But the truth is obvious.

      These are poor designs with poor craftmanship and ludicrous prices.

      USAF is doomed to use the good ol teen series for a long time now ,while europeans and russians develloped 4th and 5th generations fighters that works.Rafales, Sukhois, Eurofighters have none of the problems i exposed. They are real fighters.In short , whatever your propaganda says ,they are better, cheaper and easier to upgrade.

      USAF is dead for 20-40 years if they do not get their money back and buy other planes.Real planes, like f15s, f16s , a10 and all the wonderful aircraft that made what was USAF : The best air force.

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      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      All programs are doomed for a while. What dooms all of them is based on procurement. More is always cheaper and we have no budget to do either one.

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      Kyle 4 years ago

      @ DJ

      The F-15 is a 40 year old design and it's losing it's edge even with all the upgrades in avionics. The newer SU-35 variants would be on a level playing field if not for tactics and training. You never want a fair fight in the military. The strength of the F-22 is the ability to shoot down adversaries before they know the F-22 is there. Take a look at the tests of F-15s facing the F-22.

    • DJProfessorK profile image

      Kyle Ilgenfritz 4 years ago from York, PA

      What is so wrong with the F-15 again? This F-35 JSF mess is a total fiasco, and everyone will be glad once it's over.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      And now they are locked into completing the contract or trying to.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      In 1914, British Queen Elizabeth-class battleships cost £2,300,000-- or about $250 million in today's dollars, making it cheaper than one of these planes. I read that pilots are still passing out because of problems with the oxygen system. Apples and oranges, but the F-35 is a perfect example of the military industrial complex Ike warned us about.

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      Kyle 4 years ago

      If you want to see another wasted opportunity, check out the FB-22.

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      Kyle 4 years ago

      There is no need for it at it's current cost. The Air Force should have just been allowed to order more F-22s, the Navy and Marines should have adopted a carrier variant of the F-22, and for VSTOL they should have created another plane to replace the Harrier. The cost advantage of an F-35 over an F-22 is all but gone. The main difference between the two aircraft is that the F-35 can be exported because it is less effective/advanced.