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Pentagon’s trillion-dollar jet outmanned by aging F-16

How bad is the Pentagon’s notorious F-35 jet, which has been plagued by mechanical problems and is expected to cost $1.4 trillion (that’s not a typo – that’s TRILLION) over the life of its program?

The next-generation fighter jet was “consistently outmanned” by an aging F-16 during a series of 17 dogfights, according to a test pilot’s report cited by War is Boring and the Project on Government Oversight. The F-35’s poor performance prompted POGO to call on Congress and the Pentagon (once again) to re-evaluate the whole program:

“This test report proves the problems with the F-35 program are fundamental and systemic. It’s time to pull the brake before ramping up production to make sure taxpayers aren’t paying more for less,” said Dan Grazier, the Jack Shanahan Fellow working with POGO’s Straus Military Reform Project.

Just a few months ago, another report noted the problematic plane’s vulnerability to lightning strikes and its unreliable and unstable software system. Yet the F-35 remains “too big to fail” due to the intransigence of the Pentagon and the heavy lobbying efforts of Lockheed, its manufacturer.