In an alternate universe, let's call it Planet Sane, eyes would roll, heads would shake and tongues would wag over how a bloated project, like Lockheed's F-35 joint strike fighter didn't collapse under its own weight and simply die.
Fortunately for us, Lockheed itself furnishes a clear map of how something like this is structured to be on political life-support from Day One. Lockheed, like every other major US defense contractor, has mastered the trick of spreading the wealth to every state and every key electoral district. It's like an insurance policy - for the contractor. What politician is going to risk killing a defense project and be blamed for the economic hit and loss of jobs his region suffers in the result?
Go to the map and roll your mouse over it, state by state, to let Lockheed show you what a terrific job it has done of spreading the grease. As DodBuzz.com puts it:
Famed aerospace hubs Maine, Idaho, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico? Yep, they’re all on there, with many millions of dollars at stake in the fighter program. Lockheed itself appears to be the source of these numbers, but as the prime builder of the jet, it does probably have the best picture of all the suppliers and money on this program. The aerospace industry learned how to do this with the V-22 Osprey, which, according to defense myth, was fabled to have at least one component from all 50 states, and as such was better able to survive its often painful two decades of gestation.
Now, as so many of you are fond of music videos, here's Lockheed's own musical tribute to the F-35.