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The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program – the most expensive military development project in history.
It could potentially also come to be known as the record-holder of the most issues with a single piece of military technology of all time. The most recent problem that the F-35 fighter jet was faced with is likely one of the most concerning.
On March 12th, A F-35B Joint Strike fighter was significantly damaged. It happened when a round fired from its underbelly 25mm gun pod exploded shortly after leaving the muzzle of the cannon mounted within. In other words, it suffered friendly fire from itself. This is a “Class A mishap” – it results in a threat of the pilot’s life on the ground or in the air. It also needs to cause damage of more than $2.5 million. Still, to be fair, if one is to keep in mind the F-35’s cost, any damage whatsoever probably results in damages that cost more than $2.5 million.
Prior to this incident, the F-35 has still been plagued by various incidents. Back in May 2020, a F-35A fighter jet crash-landed on runway 30 at Eglin AFB. The jet rolled, caught fire and was entirely destroyed.
Currently, the F-35 fighter jets fly with 871 flaws, having improved that number by 2 throughout 2020. On the upside, “only” 10 of these deficiencies are “Category 1” that can result in the aircraft being destroyed, or heavy injury or even death of the crew.
To rectify the chaos that is the $300 billion F-35 program, the Block 4 process was introduced. It failed.
The US Government Accountability Office report found that the current 2027 goal for finalizing the Block 4 modernization is “not achievable.”
The most significant issue is the software delivery, and how it impedes integration of key subsystems, such as radar enhancements, to keep pace with the growing threats from adversaries.
This is in line with the concerns that the Department of Defense’s current modernization plan is so bad, that the US should be prepare for the rest of the 2020s to be “terrible”.
Still, these issues are possible because the F-35 still has engines, which are under threat of running out. Surely, there would be a way to simple push or pull it on the ground and it would manage to crash-land then, too.
On the upside, the US managed to successfully launch a nuclear-capable of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Luckily, the launch went successfully, and even if it didn’t the missile is without nuclear or conventional payload.
This provides the potential for a justification for future actions. After all, if a missile were to accidentally hit a US city, or maybe a warship in an F-35-esque incident, it could easily be blamed on Russia. Or on Iran. Or on China.
Still, any casual observer would be impatiently looking forward to the United States beginning to test out its hypersonic technology, since if the F-35 is any indication, it promises to be quality entertainment.
After all, the rush to gain air superiority and more, provided one of the world’s biggest money pits and some of the most humorous incidents.
The endless claims of how promising the F-35 is, and the numerous customers it has, the fact of the matter is that it represents a flying, incredibly expensive, disaster that gets more incidents than successful operations.