Our future strike aircraft...

Two interesting articles from The Economist.

It's not looking good for the taxpayer, is it?

The Economist said:
The last manned fighter

It is the most expensive military project ever. It is plagued by delays and menaced by budget cuts. Will the F-35 survive?

LEON PANETTA is under no illusions about what Barack Obama moved him from the CIA to the Pentagon to do. The wily Mr Panetta, who took over from Robert Gates as defence secretary at the beginning of the month, is everyone’s idea of a safe pair of hands. But his greatest claim to fame (other than presiding over the plan to kill Osama bin Laden) is as the director of the Office of Management and Budget who paved the way to the balanced budget of 1998. Mr Panetta has inherited from his predecessor the outlines of a plan to reduce military spending by $400 billion by 2023. But America’s fiscal crisis (and the lack of any political consensus about how tackle it) makes it almost certain that Mr Panetta will have to cut further and faster than Mr Gates would have wished.

Cont/... The defence industry: The last manned fighter
The Economist said:
Coming up short

America should cut back orders for its late and expensive new fighter—and spend the cash on more useful kit

IT SEEMED like a great idea at the time. When Lockheed Martin won the contract in 2001 to develop what became known as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the aim was to produce a relatively cheap tactical aircraft with radar-beating stealth capability that would replace at least four other types in service. The biggest military programme in history would not only provide the backbone of America’s fighter fleet for the next 50 years but would also bring in sales from the United States’ closest allies. At least 3,000 F-35s would be ordered from the outset (over 2,400 by America alone). The result would be huge efficiency savings, initially from the scale of production and subsequently from the Southwest Airlines model of running just one basic type of aircraft across 90% of the fleet. Deliveries of operational aircraft were meant to begin in 2010.

Cont/... The future of the Joint Strike Fighter: Coming up short
I wouldn't worry, I heard on the grapevine the Imperial War Museum, Duxford will be taking over air support from 2015 using their well maintained fleet of strike aircraft.
Not so far off the mark. Perhaps something with a propellor on the front will be a bit more useful in "wars amongst the people".

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