Canada is reconsidering its promised purchase of 65 of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, because an independeent auditor put the combined purchase and maintenance price of the order at $46 billion over the 42-year life of the project. Canada thus joins Britain, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands among the countries that have revised or backed out of plans to buy the planes.
The Pentagon is projected to spend $396 billion on nearly 2,500 planes but the price could rise further with fewer foreign purchasers joining in the development costs. Besides these development costs, during the past year, the Pentagon upgraded its 30-year maintenance cost of the air wing of the F-35s to $1 trillion.
Defense spending analysts have found that there is what almost amounts to an iron law that the cost of sophisticated warplanes doubles over an eight- to ten-year period. Besides these likely steep rises in the development cost of each F-35, the compatibility of parts to accomodate the three major military services is proving to be far less than initially projected. Given that the F-35 is the most expensive weapons system ever built, President Obama could make a big step toward future deficit reduction by proposing substantial cuts in the size of the F-35 air wing.
On a closing note: One thing the media never seems to mention in its coverage of U.S. major arms sales to other countries is that these recipient countries are then forced to spend more of their resources on building their military strength.