F-35 Burns on Runway During Testing
By William Boardman -- Reader Supported News
One $100 million Air Force plane leaks oil, another bursts into flame
Troubles never seem to end for the F-35 Strike Fighter. Not yet fully operational, the nuclear-capable fighter-bomber recently had different test versions either leak oil in flight or burst into flames on takeoff.
The F-35 is the world's most expensive weapons system -- $400 billion and counting. The estimated lifetime cost of this military-industrial project is $1.5 trillion. The F-35 is already close to a decade behind schedule and its cost is already more than twice the original estimate. The Pentagon has lowered its performance specs and it's still years from being operational.
According to Motley Fool, the estimated additional cost to operate and maintain the F-35 for 55 years is another $1.1 trillion. At more than $2 trillion, the F-35 is projected to cost more than half the entire Iraq War, so far.
On June 22, at the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, an F-35A was taking off on a routine training flight when part of the engine went through the fuselage and the tail of the plane burst into flame. The pilot aborted the takeoff and escaped from the cockpit. A ground crew extinguished the fire with foam. There were no injuries, but $100 million the plane was possibly destroyed, according to officials.
All 26 F-35s at Eglin were grounded after the fire, while the Air Force tried to figure out why the plane ignited. Air Force spokesperson Lt. Hope Cronin called the fire "significant," but the cause is yet unknown. F-35s at other bases continued to fly until June 27, when the Air Force grounded all F-35s around the country and continued to seek the cause of the fire.