PENTAGON GROUNDS F-35 YET AGAIN, VERMONTERS WORK TO KEEP IT
By William Boardman Email address removed"> Email address removed
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Grounded yet again by the Pentagon as unsafe to fly, the Air Force's most expensive warplane, the experimental F-35 nuclear-capable stealth bomber is under increasing attack around the country, but especially in Vermont where citizens trying to protect local health and welfare are taking actions against the Air Force in federal court, in the state legislature, and before a state environmental board.
[Note: On Feb. 28, 2013, F-35 once more "cleared for flight." According to the official statement: "The engine in question is part of the F-35 test aircraft fleet, and had been operated at extreme parameters in its mission to expand the F-35 flight envelope. Prolonged exposure to high levels of heat and other operational stressors on this specific engine were determined to be the cause of the crack." Sounds like it cracks under stress.]
The F-35, a weapon of mass destruction with a lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion dollars, has already cost the U.S. some $400 billion and is considered a target of opportunity by some budget cutters and deficit reducers. With the March 1 sequester focusing minds across the federal government, a fancy warplane plane with outdated technology and an obsolete mission, is looking like an easy way to save more than $500 billion, especially if it can't fly anyway.
Others suggest that the world's most expensive weapons system is "Too Big to Kill, even though it's a decade behind schedule and 100% over budget, with both measures getting worse. And as the Pentagon acknowledges, the country would be getting less for its money with the final plane, since it can't meet its promised performance specifications. For the second time in a year, the Pentagon has lowered F-35 specs to a level the brass hope the plane will be able to meet. .