For the past 15 years, the Defense Department has been developing one of the most expensive weapons systems in military history – the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The price tag--$1.5 trillion over 55 years. The problem, as many taxpayers have already learned, is that the complicated stealth fighter has had so many engineering glitches and missed so many deadlines, that the only thing that that has gone sky high is the cost.
The F-35 has been dubbed, “too big to kill,” and so Lockheed Martin, the aircraft’s contractor, and the Pentagon soldier on—fixing, adjusting, testing and hoping that this time it will fly without developing yet another costly fix.
The U.S. Defense Department accounts for half of the federal government’s discretionary spending and sometimes it’s easy to understand why: the agency develops and is responsible for some of the most expensive weapons systems in the world.
Thanks to overly optimistic price projections, unforeseen events such as technical hiccups, and plain mismanagement, the efforts often cost tens of billions of dollars and create perpetual concerns that more taxpayer money could be wasted to maintain the various programs—just like the F-35.
Today, both Russia and China are developing state of the art weapons systems—from autonomous ground combat fighting machines to 5th generation fighters. As you’d expect, the U.S. wants to retain its status as the number one military force in the world.