17:25 GMT +323 October 2016
    The first F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter

    The More You Spend the More You Save?! Lawmakers Fight to Increase F-35 Budget

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    While US taxpayers have already spent over $1 trillion on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, US lawmakers are fighting to include even more funding for the controversial aircraft in next year’s budget.

    While both defense-policy and defense–spending bills for fiscal year 2017 are currently stalled, the US Congress hopes to increase F-35 procurement. The House appropriations bill would add five F-35As, two F-35Bs, and four F-35Cs, while the Senate bill would add four F-35s.

    F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter
    © REUTERS/ US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Handout

    The Senate bill would also approve $100 million for additional procurement 2018.

    "Increasing the production rate is the single most important factor in reducing future aircraft unit costs," reads a letter signed by over 70 lawmakers to House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, according to Defense News.

    "Additionally, significantly increasing production is critical to fielding F-35s in the numbers needed to meet the expected threats in the mid-2020s."

    Lawmakers argued that global instability requires a faster roll out of the aircraft.

    "Events around the globe continue to demonstrate the urgent need for the F-35’s capabilities," the letter reads.

    "The program is gaining momentum with the Marine Corps declaring initial operating capability last year and the Air Force declaring IOC [initial operating capacity] this summer. We believe it is essential for Congress to provide the funding necessary to continue increase F-35 production at a rate sufficient to meet future threats and to reach at least 120 US aircraft per year as quickly as possible."

    Multiple reviews have shown the beleaguered fighter to be less effective than its predecessors in air combat.

    "[I]t is clear the JSF will be dead meat if it ever comes to close range combat with decades-old fighters," Australian Federal Parliament member Dr. Dennis Jensen wrote last August.

    The fighter has also faced multiple technical difficulties. Most recently, officials expressed concern over the F-35A’s ejector seat, which could be a danger to pilots weighing less than 165 pounds. The US Navy is also experiencing difficulties with the helmet of its F-35C variant, the only model not yet deemed combat-ready. Tests have shown that the helmet’s ambient "green glow" is blinding pilots during night carrier landings.

    "It’s not so bad on a really bright night," said Tom Briggs, acting Navy chief test engineer, according to Defense Tech.

    "On a dark night it skewers outside light reference for pilots. A pilot cannot pick up the lights on the carrier as well as he’d like to, he doesn’t necessarily pick up non-lighted signals on the ship as he taxiing around, he has a harder time picking out aircraft that are flying around."

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    defense spending, defense budget, F-35 Lighting II, US Senate, US Congress, Pentagon, Rodney Frelinghuysen, United States
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    • Ayelyah
      like as if they arent siphoning off the funds for that program into black ops.... F-35 is McCains baby
    • peaceactivist2
      This fat bird is good looking but it only suit a nation like America where fighting always occurred in foreign lands with limited landing space or on a carrier. For others, the only useful of it is just the beauty and reputation of it. But those two things come with a price!
    • ivanwa88
      pa2....reputation...uhr as what its slow, it cant dog fight, except maybe with a 40 year old Syrian Mig 21? and its armaments are extremely limited owing to external fix points negating stealth quality.

      Its only use which it was secretly originally designed for is to carry a small tactical nuke deep into enemy territory without being detected? which is now been proven to be easily detected!

      So really come on! this Flying Pig should be sent to the slaughter house and turned into bacon.
    • dan sheppardin reply toAyelyah(Show commentHide comment)
      Ayelyah, - Totally agree, they are definitely siphoning off the funds into black ops for ISIS and 'blackwater' type groups in Syria and the current $6 Trillion dollar war in the middle east.
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