Nov 042015

Problems with the most expensive weapons project in Pentagon history, the $400 billion and counting F-35 jet have forced a reshuffle at Lockheed Martin.

The US aircraft designer named Jeff Babione the new executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program, succeeding Lorraine Martin.

“Jeff is a seasoned leader who is uniquely qualified to lead the F-35 team through this critical phase of the program,” said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive VP in a statement. “He brings a deep understanding of the F-35 program, strong customer relationships and a collaborative leadership style that will ensure we continue the positive momentum of the program.”

Despite vast spending that has made the F-35 jet the most expensive piece of military hardware ever created, the program seems to have had several setbacks.

“The stealth fighter lacks the sensors, weapons and speed that allow a warplane to reliably detect and shoot down other planes in combat. Especially when those planes are shooting back,” said a review from military website War is Boring.

“The F-35 can see great. It just can’t see all that great in the air. At least not compared to modern Chinese- and Russian-made jets — the planes the F-35 is most likely to face in battle in some future war,” it added.

According to the US Department of Defense, the program’s office wasn’t accurately recording the jet’s problems.

“Not all failures are counted in the calculation of mean flight hours between reliability events, but all flight hours are counted, and hence component and aircraft reliability are reported higher than if all of the failures were counted,” the Fiscal Times quoted the report.

The F-35 is a US fifth generation multirole combat aircraft designed to perform ground attack, aerial reconnaissance, and air defense missions. The program was launched in 2006 but has experien

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If Elected Trump Promises to Dump F-35 Fighter Jet Project

© REUTERS/ Mike Stone

November 3, 2015

. . .   This was the first time Trump has given any specific details about his defense policy.

“When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and why are we spending so much more money?” — Trump said during the show.

“So when I hear that… I say we have to do something,” Trump continued.

Trump was referring to a test report that was leaked last June describing the F-35’s poor performance, especially when it came to combat maneuvering capabilities.

Furthermore, last month the Pentagon revealed that the F-35 ejection seat could snap the necks of lighter-weight pilots. That’s why until the potentially fatal problem is resolved, the US military announced it would restrict pilots weighing less than 136 pounds from operating the plane.

In addition to technical problems, F-35 fighters are in low demand among US allies. Canada, for example, planned to purchase 65 Lockheed Martin-made F-35s to be the country’s next-generation tactical fighter at a cost of $45 billion.

However, the election of Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party during the past Canadian election might change that. During his election campaign, Trudeau promised to scrap the F-35 deal, stating it was too expensive.

Perhaps then Trump might be right. Why spend more money on something new that can’t perform better than the existing product?

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