We spend more on defense than the next nine countries combined and this is the best we can do?
The F-35 program has become something of a dark comedy. Yes, it has huge fiscal and national security implications, but sometimes you just have to laugh at how big of a fumbling mess it really is.
Not only has the jet itself been plagued by the absolutely shattered concept of ‘concurrency’ (building something en masse even before testing it), but as it turns out, some of its support infrastructure was too. This includes the 45,000 ton displacement USS America.
The $6.8 billion aircraft carrier ($3.4 billion unit cost) — and that is what it is, an aircraft carrier, not a amphibious assault ship — was commissioned last fall to great fanfare, yet now we learn it will be heading in to dry dock for almost a year.
Why, you ask? Is there a defect with the ship’s weapon systems? A propulsion or hull issue? Hardly, the class was actually based on the latest Wasp Class vessels, which in itself is troubling considering the America Class’s much higher cost.
Instead it will receive myriad patchwork upgrades aimed at allowing it to operate the F-35B. Yep, you read that correctly, the same aircraft, along with the MV-22 Osprey, that the ship was specifically designed to accommodate, can’t operate from its decks.