“The GAO notes that it would be more cost-efficient to hold off on buying F-35s until they are operationally tested than it would be to pay for the aircraft now and upgrade them later.
But, of course, when did cost efficiency and the military go hand-in-hand? There’s a reason Lockheed Martin brags about building parts of the F-35 in 48 different states, and that’s not because it saves money. The F-35 has been as much an expensive make-work program for military contractors as it has been a vital part of America’s national defense—and in that regard the cost overruns and eventual upgrades might be seen as a feature rather than a bug.
Production of the F-35 fighter was originally supposed to cost about $200 billion, but the price tag has already ballooned to about twice as much. Recently, Lockheed Martin warned that supply chain issues and inflation could cause further delays and cost overruns. Monday’s GAO report confirmed that construction is running behind schedule, with about 28 percent of the 553 completed jets having been delivered late.”