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    'Dumbest Fighter Program Ever Conceived': Why Trump Should Cancel F-35

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    US President-elect Donald Trump should cancel the "irredeemable" Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, defense analyst Mike Fredenburg wrote for the National Review, calling the ill-fated fifth-generation combat aircraft "the dumbest fighter program ever conceived."

    The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program "showcases all that is wrong about our military's vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system," he said. "Unless dealt with decisively, its massive cost and its lack of capability will have a dramatically negative impact on our military's effectiveness for decades to come."

    Fredenburg, who holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a Masters in production operations management, maintained that "fatal mistakes," which have crippled the most expansive aircraft in the Pentagon's procurement history, were made during the conceptual design process more than two decades ago. These flaws, including intractable weight and heat issues, cannot be fixed, meaning that the program is unlikely to deliver the plane it has promised.

    In addition, the F-35 was touted for its versatility, but it will in fact need protection and support in combat.

    "Because of numerous performance deficiencies and limited weapons capacity, the so-called operationally capable F-35 will need support to locate and avoid threats, acquire targets, and engage enemy aircraft," the expert explained, citing a memo released by the Office of Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). "In short, the F-35 – a flying tinderbox – will need to be nursemaided by other aircraft that are actually combat capable."

    Fredenburg further said that pulling the plug on the F-35 takes a president since individual members of the US Congress lack "the clout" needed to take a stand against the program.

    "The F-35 is irredeemable. … No stronger message about reforming our broken defense-procurement process can be sent than by canceling the dumbest fighter program ever conceived. Mr. President, please cancel the F-35," he said, referring to Donald Trump.

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    Tags:
    military technology, F-35 Lightning II, Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, Donald Trump, United States
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