“Procurement costs for the F-35 continue to be unbelievably high and it’s hard to believe this is a plane we can justify or afford,” Alexander said Monday in an interview with Sputnik on the Defense Department’s budget.
“It’s a huge percentage of all aircraft procurement for all services. To have one plane that they are spending that much money seems not at all responsible,” said Alexander, whose watchdog organization ensures the federal government spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and operates within its means.
The Defense Department said it wants to procure three variants of F-35, including 44 Conventional Take Off and Landing F-35s for the Air Force, 9 Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing F-35s for the Marine Corps, and 4 Carrier variant F-35s for the Navy.
“I think it is a reasonable course of business to abandon the F-35. We’ve got other capable airplanes, there have been cost overruns and a huge amount of money put into the research. We have ample evidence this is an unaffordable weapons systems and we have a lot of alternatives,” Alexander said.
The F-35 is a single-seat, single-engine strike fighter with stealth technology meant to be the US military’s premier multi-use fighter aircraft. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program is largely funded by the United States, which plans to buy 2,443 F-35s, according to the aircraft producer Lockheed Martin. The program could cost as much as $1.5 trillion over the nearly 50 year life of the program, according the Pentagon. The F-35's development has been beset by delays, cost overruns and technical problems.