Warplanes: F-35's Untried and Expensive Technology


May 8, 2006: The new U.S. F-35 fighter is coming under a lot of criticism as its price keeps rising. Currently, each one will cost, on average, about $113 million. Prices of less than half that are often mentioned, but that's just manufacturing cost. It's the development expense that is going up the most. Congress is so incensed that they are threatening to prevent the construction of the first five F-35s this year. That would delay flight testing, and drive up development costs even more. The F-35 is the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) that would be used by the air force, navy and many allied nations. It would replace the F-16, F-18 and Harrier. It's a stealthy aircraft, using a lot of new technologies. But most of this new stuff has not been tested, and that's usually a sign that costs are going up even more.

The F-22 is already in service, and costs $170 million each just to build. Add in development costs, and you more than double that.


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