Just four months ago, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester wrote in a memo the F-35 program was “not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver.”
Defense officials at the Pentagon say they need up to $500 million more to finish the development phase for the F-35, the troubled fifth-generation fighter that’s already gone 50% over its original budget.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has in the past called those cost overruns a “disgrace.”
“It has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance,” he said in April.
“Strong national security is an expensive endeavor but the existing concerns with the F-35 make calls for even more money harder to green light,” said Joe Kaspar, chief of staff for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
“And the Pentagon never seems to be able to help its case on the F-35. Technical superiority is not cheap, but whether or not costs can be driven down is something Congress must look at it before throwing more money in the Pentagon’s direction.”