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ACTION ALERT: Defund the F-35 Fighter Jet


March 28, 2013
Ross Wallen / USAction & Theodoric Meyer / ProPublica

The F-35 joint strike fighter has been a disaster since production began in 2001. Twelve years later, it remains the most expensive item in the 2013 Pentagon budget. Thanks to the sequester, the Pentagon is required to cut more than $40 billion out of its $549 billion budget. But the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter os unlikely to take a significant hit, despite the fact that it's almost four times more expensive than any other Pentagon weapons program that's in the works.

http://action.usaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=513

ACTION ALERT: Defund the F-35 Fighter Jet
Ross Wallen / USAction & TrueMajority

(March 27, 2013) -- The F-35 joint strike fighter, which we have affectionately named the "Fiasco 35," has been a disaster since production began in 2001. Twelve years later, the costliest weapons system and the single most expensive item in the 2013 Pentagon budget has yet to fly a single combat mission.

The F-35 program has been plagued by cost overruns and delays, has been grounded twice, does little to address 21st century threats, and is still nowhere near completion.

ACTION: Tell Congress: stop funding the F-35 fighter jet program now.

We will then deliver your petition signatures to Congress on April 15th as part of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, to turn up the heat on the F-35 and rein in wasteful Pentagon spending.

With constant delays due to significant engineering issues and design flaws, the cost of the F-35 has risen to $395.7 billion. But that's just to build the planes. When you add in the cost of testing, operations and support, it will cost an additional $1.1 trillion -- bringing the overall price tag to an incomprehensible $1.5 trillion.

Think about this -- the sequester, which cut $1.2 trillion from the budget, is actually less money than the entire F-35 program. Instead of cutting vital programs like Medicare, education, Head Start and unemployment insurance, we could end the F-35 program and invest in jobs and crucial services in our communities.

This is all part of our continuing campaign to rein in wasteful Pentagon spending. Over 100,000 supporters around the country signed our petition to pull the pork from the Pentagon, which was delivered to Senators and Representatives in key states.

A diverse coalition of 120 national progressive organizations representing millions of Americans have already signed on to a letter to Congress calling for just that. And just last month, we hosted a Pull the Pork from the Pentagon National Day of Action with more than 30 events in 25 states including one in DC featuring a giant 20' inflatable pig outside the offices of Lockheed Martin.

And we know that public pressure works. Back in 2009, we led a successful campaign to defeat the F-22, another plane we couldn't afford and didn't need. Now we're back again to defeat the F-35.

But we'll only be successful if we show Congress where the American people stand. Sign the petition so we can stop funding the F-35 now.



The Most Expensive Fighter Jet Ever Built, by the Numbers
Theodoric Meyer / ProPublica

(March 14, 2013) -- Thanks to the sequester, the Defense Department is now required to cut more than $40 billion this fiscal year out of its $549 billion budget. But one program that's unlikely to take a significant hit is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, despite the fact that it's almost four times more expensive than any other Pentagon weapons program that's in the works.

We've compiled some of the most headache-inducing figures, from the program's hefty cost overruns to the billions it's generating in revenue for Lockheed Martin.

While the F-35 is billions over budget and years behind schedule, the program seems to be doing better recently. A Government Accountability Office report released this week found that Lockheed has made progress in improving supply and manufacturing processes and addressing technical problems.

"We've made enormous progress over the last few years," Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president of F-35 business development, told the Washington Post.

The military's current head of the program, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, agreed that things have improved but said Lockheed and another major contractor, Pratt & Whitney, still have a ways to go.

"I want them to take on some of the risk of this program," Bogdan said last month in Australia, which plans to buy 100 of the planes. "I want them to invest in cost reductions. I want them to do the things that will build a better relationship. I'm not getting all that love yet."

The F-35 By the Numbers
2001
Year in which work on the fighter began.

2012
Year in which full-rate production was set to begin.

2019
Year in which full-rate production is now scheduled.

$233 billion
Estimated total cost in 2001.

$397 billion
Current estimated total cost, according to the Washington Post.

$84 billion
Amount already spent on the F-35.

2,852
The number of planes originally ordered by the Pentagon in 2001.

2,443
The number of planes currently on order. In 2010, the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission recommended cutting the number of planes ordered for the Navy and the Air Force by half and scrapping the Marines' version, which has been plagued by the most problems.

65
The number of planes that have already been built, even though testing of the fighter is far from complete. And when all the tests are finished, "there will be no yes-or-no, up-or-down decision point," Pierre Sprey, one of the chief architects of the Air Force's older F-16 Fighting Falcon, told the Post. "That's totally deliberate. It was all in the name of ensuring it couldn't be canceled."

365
The number of planes set to be complete by the time testing is finished in 2018.

$81.7 million
Estimated total cost per plane in 2001.

$162.5 million
Current estimated total cost per plane.

133,000
The number of jobs the F-35 currently supports, according to Lockheed Martin.

260,000
The number of jobs Lockheed says the fighter will support when full production starts.

45
The states over which Lockheed and its subcontractors and suppliers have spread the F-35 work.

$15.3 million
Amount Lockheed spent on lobbying in 2012, according to OpenSecrets.

$6.5 billion
Lockheed's approximate revenue from the F-35 in 2012, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While that figure represented 14 percent of the company's total revenue last year, Lockheed said in the filing that it expects the F-35 "to represent a higher percentage of our sales in future years."

$1.5 trillion
Amount it could cost to develop, build, fly and maintain all the F-35s on order for 55 years -- the lives of the planes -- according to Pentagon estimates cited by Bloomberg.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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