Thursday, January 06, 2011

US To Trim Purchase of F-35's, the "Program That Can't Go Away."

Survivable?  Affordable?
That less than awesome F-35, joint strike fighter, is losing its lustre at the Pentagon.  McClatchey Newspapers reports that the troubled F-35 programme is set to be trimmed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates as part of his effort to cut $100-billion from the Pentagon's budget.

But the Pentagon will likely just scale back the number of F-35s it had previously planned to order from Lockheed Martin over the next few years to pay for continued development and testing, they say.

The Pentagon's commitment to the F-35 hasn't lessened, but Gates has to find a way to pay for the delays and higher costs, said Loren Thompson, consultant to defense contractors and chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute think tank.

"  The most likely outcome is a cut in the rate of purchases,"   Thompson said.

The problem with the F-35 is it is a program that can't go away. All the services are wedded to this,"  said Chris Hellman, policy analyst with the National Priorities Project, a policy group that advocates defense cuts to help trim deficits.

In other words the Pentagon can't get out from under this dog.  Just as the Wall Street bandits were too big to fail, the F-35 is a "program that can't go away."  The Pentagon, not the manufacturer, will swallow the constantly escalating costs and delays and will still fork over the same money, just for fewer airplanes.   And that, friends, is corporate welfare military-style.

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