Pentagon’s $1.5 Trillion F-35 Better at Killing Its Own Pilots than Enemy Combatants

f-35By Claire Bernish

As is typical for the Pentagon’s continuous mismanagement of its enormous budget, the F-35 fighter program — with its $1.5 trillion cost to taxpayers so far — continues to be fraught with complications and failures.

According to an 82-page report released Monday, myriad flaws still plague the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, including an ejection system likely to break the necks of pilots under 136 pounds.

“Testing showed that the ejection seat rotates backwards after ejection. This results in the pilot’s neck becoming extended, as the head moves behind the shoulders in a ‘chin up’ position,” the report states.


In fact, less hefty pilots of all F-35 jets have already been restricted, as this issue is ongoing. According to the report, after recent failures of the ejection system as tested using 103- and 136-pound manikins,

[T]he Program Office and Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than 136 pounds from flying any F-35 variant … Pilots weighing between 136 and 165 are considered at less risk than lighter weight pilots, but still at an increased risk (compared to heavier pilots). The level of risk was labeled ‘serious’ by the Program Office based on the probability of death being 23 percent, and the probability of neck extension (which will result in some level of injury) being 100 percent.

Lockheed Martin manufactures the fighters, but severe deficiencies listed in the new report call to question whether the F-35 program — which is “currently the most expensive in history,” as RT reported — should continue at all. In fact, the Pentagon has already spent over $400 billion, nearly twice its original estimate, on almost 4,500 F-35s. To attempt to keep costs under control, the military has proposed a “block buy” of 270 planes; but as the report asks:

Is it premature to commit to the ‘block buy’ given that significant discoveries requiring correction before F-35s are used in combat are occurring, and will continue to occur, throughout the developmental and operational testing?

Is it prudent to further increase substantially the number of aircraft bought that may need modifications to reach full combat capability and service life? As the program manager has noted, essentially every aircraft bought to date requires modifications prior to use in combat.

Not surprisingly, politicians — including Bernie Sanders — have cashed in on the F-35 program, despite its flawed manifestation. Though Sanders’ supporters often, and somewhat mistakenly, point to his anti-war stance, in 2014 the senator proudly brought the F-35’s manufacturing to Vermont — despite outrage from activists. Sanders argued the benefits would go directly to his state’s National Guard and economy, while blatantly ignoring the known flaws in the program — as well as the enormous costs.

The F-35 program might have been doomed from the beginning, considering the decision was made by the Pentagon to begin building the fighters before they were fully tested.

Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, executive officer of the F-35 program, said there were “no surprises” in the new report, according to Military.com. “All of the issues are well known to [us], the U.S. services, international partners, and our industry team,” he stated, noting the analysis does indicate progress has been made.

That progress may only exist in the eye of the (budget) beholder, though, as Maxim noted Bogdan’s rather predictive statement from 2012 about the already issue-ridden F-35 program: “I don’t see any scenario where we’re walking back away” from it.

Apparently not.

This article (Pentagon’s $1.5 Trillion F-35 Better at Killing Its Own Pilots than Enemy Combatants) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

  • marlene

    Nothing Lockheed Martin makes costs $1.5 Trillion. More than half of it has been spent on bribes to ALL members of congress.

    • Hellon Earth

      The cost was for the entire program, not one single plane. No doubt there were bribes etc. but this was an expensive project. Three different types of F-35 ranging from $98 million to $115 million per plane were designed. There have been about 170 of these jets built so far.

      • William Burke

        But there are plans to built 2,457 of them. Of the most expensive fighter plane of all time, by far!

        What do we need 2500 F-35s to fight, the Venusians?

        • Doug Stevens

          …….Invade third world countries and control the inhabitants!
          The F-35 will never be a very agile fighter plane but would serve extremely well in attacking lightly armoured hordes of terrorists trying to defend the sovereignty of their countries. Basically what the aging A10 have been used for over the last few decades. Although the A10 is a little over qualified in its weapons capability.

          • ATTILA727

            “hordes of terrorists trying to defend the sovereignty of their countries. ”
            Seek professional help ASAP.

          • Doug Stevens

            O.k, let me spoon feed you………..

            America…..psycho “empire”……has hundreds of military bases in more than a hundred countries to enforce economic and financial enslavement, toxic vaccination programs, sly extraction of resources, etc. and this is also to grow the American “military industrial complex”.

            Any form of dissent from the local populations are immediately categorized as “terrorists” by the lying and deceptive American media and Pentagon. The stupid American people are being used to finance and staff mercenary armies to do the enforcement ……..for the masters of the universe.

            Please educate yourself in American geo-politics ASAP……….

  • Hellon Earth

    Doesn’t it make sense that ejector seats would be designed to increase the chances of pilot fatality upon bailout? This would insure that no secrets are divulged by pilots in case of capture. In fact I was told by someone who worked on their early development that this is exactly the case and that the earlier ones were designed to actually decapitate the pilot. Oh wait, I forgot. The government would never require a design like that, they are much too benevolent.

    • ATTILA727

      Sick puppy, seek help.

  • John Cook

    This is Great news. The ‘system’ defeats rationality once again. American hubris.
    I can’t wait for the first situation of actual combat with modern Russian jets to develop where reality Will impose itself.
    Likewise the Aeges system they totally rely on in the navy – the Russians have a system that totally defeats it, leaving the US ships sitting ducks. Ironicly the Russians demonstrated it on the USN ‘Donald (duck) Cook’ in the Black sea last year.
    Btw, by doing this they may have put off ww3 for a few years – by demonstrating their ability to defeat the best system the US had.

    • ATTILA727

      “they may have put off ww3 for a few years ”
      Or “they” (the reds) may be encouraged to start it sooner.

  • Uncle B

    For a fact: Americans ride former U.S.S.R technologies to the Space Station! China has newer fighters in the air, and with their massive manufacturing capabilities just might outproduce the U.S.A. in this realm?

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