Not only is the F-35 underperforming and overpriced, it’s also not an air dominance fighter. It’s a point defence fighter with the same limitations of the F-16 when it first came out. If you want to play with the big boys, you gotta have a big stick, and the F-35 just isn’t it.
Now it’s flayaway price is estimated at $135m, a lot more than the $60-$90m projected and a whole lot more than a new F-16 or even a latest model F-18.
Dump this programme, get F-22 back on the rails (if you’re American) or buy Eurofighter / Rafale / Gripen (if you’re European).
Last year, the US Air Force reported incremental unit procurement cost to buy one more F-22 in Fiscal 2010, assuming a 20-aircraft multi-year contract. The cost was $138 million.At the time, the F-35 seemed like a bargain by comparison. The official cost estimate, unchanged since 2007, pinned the average procurement cost for the F-35 between $60-$90 million, depending on the variant.Those assumptions for the F-35 now look almost ridiculously rosy. The Department of Defense released a document today revising the F-35 cost estimate by up to nearly 90% [read full story].We now know the F-35 will cost between $114 million to $135 million, adjusted for inflation. That average cost assumes the US Air Force will still buy 1,763 F-35As despite plans to draw-down to a total of 2,000 fighters, including 186 F-22s already on order.