Thursday, September 8, 2011
Investigations: F-35 Wings to Last Just Five Years
Yet another setback for the massively expensive F-35 warplane - the most costly military program in history (full operating cost: an estimated $1 trillion). Already beset by delays, cost overruns and performance questions, two of the three models of the $100-million-plus planes have been found to have a major structural defect. The result is their wings have an operational life of only five years, according to this Wired report. That's a lot less than the expected 25 years.
Earlier reports had questioned the F-35's key attribute - its supposed stealthiness. This Wired story cites a study that found the jet is "demonstrably not a true stealth aircraft" and can't operate against Russia's latest air defence systems. An aviation expert said the F-35's stealthiness is undermined by its "very conventional-airplane-shaped lumps and bumps around its underside, not to mention the hideous wart that covers the gun on the F-35A."