Air Force One Is Just the Tip of the Pentagon Cost Overrun Iceberg


                                                       The F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base -“Vanity Fair”


“Even the F-35 pilot’s helmet costs $400,000 apiece.

[Total Program] price now is an estimated $1.4 trillion for far fewer than the 2,443 planes originally planned. Put another way, the Pentagon is spending far more on this plane than Australia’s entire GDP ($924 billion).

In test flights the F-35 has failed to outperform the F-16, a plane it is supposed to replace. It will be, hands down (or flaps up), the most expensive weapons system in history — at least until the next Pentagon doozy comes along.

In addition to being over budget, it will also be very late. The F-35 program had originally promised 1,013 fighters by fiscal year 2016 but has delivered only 179. The last of the F-35s won’t be delivered until 2040, at which point who knows how they will perform against next generation aircraft, possibly all drone fighter jets.

The new Ford class aircraft carrier is yet another example of massive cost overruns by Pentagon contractors. The $13-billion USS Gerald R. Ford is already two years behind schedule, and the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier is facing more delays after the Pentagon’s top weapons tester concluded the ship is still not ready for combat despite expectations it would be delivered to the fleet this past September.

The USS Ford is the first of three Ford-class carriers ordered by the Navy with combined cost expected close to $42 billion. At a recent meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Chairman John McCain was sharply critical of the delays and cost overruns, “After more than $2.3 billion in cost overruns have increased its cost to nearly $13 billion, the taxpayers deserve to know when CVN-78 will actually be delivered, how much developmental risk remains in the program, and if cost overruns will continue.” He is absolutely right. Taxpayers are entitled to some answers.

Changing the Pentagon procurement habits will be as slow as changing the course of a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier. So, given Trump’s obsession with “on time and on budget,” he may be tearing out his long, orange locks in frustration over endless Pentagon budget overruns and delays over the next four years.

But, I’m sure the project to gold-plate the interior of the new Air Force One will come in under budget and ahead of schedule. Yeah, right!”



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