J/jet charter.txt 46

It’s tough being the world’s most expensive weapon system. Years behind schedule and billions over-budget, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has had to absorb its fair share of critiques. Over the past several years, it’s been described as too complex, too reliant on high-tech sensors and software, and—at $400 billion for development and procurement—far too costly.

A spate of recent program milestones—including being declared operational by the U.S. Marine Corps last month—seemed to suggest the program might be turning a corner this summer. But a scathing report published Monday by a D.C.-based think tank indicates otherwise. To paraphrase analysts at the progressive National Security Network (NSN): The F-35 Lightning II fighter jet will perform horrendously against “near-peer” enemies, and the Department of Defense should rethink its proposed buy of nearly 2,500 F-35s.

“The F-35 will find itself outmaneuvered, outgunned, out of range, and visible to enemy sensors,” the NSN report reads. “Going forward, full investment in the F-35 would be to place a bad trillion-dollar bet on the future of airpower based on flawed assumptions and an underperforming aircraft. To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35.”