The F-35 fighter program is unique in just about every respect, including the scale of resources required to bring it to fruition. Unfortunately, that scale makes it an easy target for those who would like to turn it into a bill-payer for other priorities. However, any attempt to slow the ramp-up of F-35 production to economical rates would backfire badly. First, each plane would end up costing more as economies of scale are lost. Second, enemies would find it easier to catch up with U.S. warfighting capabilities. Third, warfighter lives would be at greater risk for lack of the protection that F-35 can provide. Fourth, the cost of maintaining the legacy fleet of Cold War tactical aircraft would rise rapidly. Finally, allies would lose faith in Washington’s commitment to military modernization. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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