F-35 doubts continue

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

With budget cuts affecting defence departments around the world, the JSF is taking a toll on the budgets of those states involved in the program.

In addition to Australia (discussed last month), the Netherlands, Norway, and even the primary customer, the United States, have all voiced misgivings about the program’s issues of costs and scheduling.

In the United States, where the JSF program is slated to be the largest acquisitions program in military history, the program could be “too big to fail,” according to some experts, but purchases of the aircraft could reduced or delayed.  If the U.S. military branches purchasing the F-35 do elect to reallocate funds away from the JSF program, it could result in even higher costs for the other partner states, including Canada.

Beyond the increased cost of procurement that the partner states have to worry about, according to a Pentagon forecast in May of 2011 the maintenance costs associated with the F-35 could be exceptionally high (as high as $1 trillion over 50 years for the United States’ predicted fleet).  The Pentagon has also assessed that the F-35 will cost 33% more per flight to operate than the F-16 and F-18.

DND photo

Tags: Defence policy, F-35, Joint Strike Fighter