This figure is up almost 50% in just one year! Further, each F-35 will cost $145M. I believe this figure is for the A model, the C will be higher, and the B will be way higher. The Raptor was cancelled because it was too expensive at about $150M per copy flyaway cost, now it looks like a bargain. I hate to say it but this whole fiasco has unfolded exactly as I predicted. At a certain point opinions regarding this program really don’t matter, as it is just plain unaffordable and unrealistic to pursue any further. Enough of this, build more Raptors with the F-35’s advances in avionics and production techniques worked in, develop a Next Generation Bomber and field it in relevant numbers, and buy more F-16s. The alternative will be a tiny, rigid force that is too expensive to operate and train with.

All this does lead to the following question: If this program is now spiraling out of control this fast, yet so many in charge are willing to bet America’s future on it alone, just how much capacity for denial is there in Washington and especially in the Pentagon? Its beyond alarming to say the least.

Please, America’s defense leadership, put down the fiddle and pick up a hose because Rome is burning around you…

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  1. Ctrot says:

    Estimating the operating costs of a weapons system, or anything else for that matter, over 50 years into the future is a ridiculous and meaningless exercise.

    How could anyone have, in 1952 after the first flight of a B-52, estimated what it’s operational costs would be over the next 60 years?? It is not possible.

    The only numbers with any meaning are: unit cost and per hour flight and maintenance cost.

    • says:

      Agreed. Both damning. In fact, the unit cost is not my major concern it is the cost to maintain an all stealth fleet.

  2. Chris Martin says:

    You’re comparing two different things. The F35 cost is total lifetime you quote, while F22 is flyaway. There’s a huge difference, which you are obviously aware of. Very disappointingi

    • says:

      Flyaway terms the F-35 is approaching $130 per unit, some put it much higher, the B & C are outliers as well. The Raptor flyaway cost was around $150M. By the time this program is over that cost will most likely be congruent.

  3. Paul says:

    Is it possible – just possible- that this is not driven by need but by greed?
    Lets get our priorities straight America!

  4. Paul says:

    Is it possible that we could do without the F35. It is not necessary and is driven by greed – not need.
    Wake up America! You are being robbed!

  5. Ctrot says:

    Paul, on what factual evidence do you base that accusation/claim?

  6. Sean says:

    Building more Raptors may seem reasonable at first glance but they are not amfibic like F-35B. Unfortunately, there is no Plan B in this game.

    • says:

      Sean, right, but we have an extra 60 Harriers now and we could produce and upgraded version. Overall the AV-8B is a fraction of the US’s total force. Why should the majority suffer for a niche capability

  7. Sanem says:

    don’t worry, the F-35 will end up costing a lot more than even that

    not that it matters, the US and most of the West will be bankrupt very soon. there won’t be enough money to fly F-35’s, never mind pay for them 😉

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