The Pentagon has just announced it is again grounding the F-35 fleet, the third time this year.
The 20 operational test and training aircraft were ordered parked Wednesday until engineers and technicians can find why a power system that starts and cools the aircraft failed during an engine ground test Tuesday at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Suspending flights "is the prudent action to take at this time until the F-35 engineering, technical and system safety teams fully understand the cause of the incident," the F-35 Joint Program Office said in a statement. The program office oversees contractors and military test teams.
With all the time, and all the money, and all the effort spent on the F-35, you'd think that the project would be doing better than it is. Maybe it's a front for a black project at Lockheed that needed some deniable funding.
With the cancellation of the F-22 Raptor programme, Lockheed's future depends on getting the F-35 through. The aircraft is being marketed as a technological breakthrough with stealth and electronic systems advantages that will make it a world beater to justify its massive unit costs. Centuries of history, however, show that this sort of thinking invariably backfires due to advantages being readily copied or countered. If, for example, the F-35s stealth technology is defeated what are we left with? The simple answer is an awfully expensive pile of not very much. Yet we're relying blindly on the F-35 to be a miracle worker not just in the immediate future but for up to 30-years! That's madness, very expensive madness.
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