On October 27 an F-35 super-stealth fighter on a routine flight caught fire. The pilot was able to land the machine despite the fire. This showed that despite the fire the plane remained airworthy. But the estimated cost of the repair is whopping $ 2 million for the machine which costs $ 100 million each. Another disturbing bit of information is that this is the 3rd fire incident with the F-35. Considering that this is a state of art machine are to replace the current brand of fighters these fire incidents are not a healthy sign

Cost and F-35

The F-35 program from day one has been plagued by high costs and the president-elect Donald Trump is himself not sure about the machine. Many experts have said that the present lot of air fighters led by the F-22 are almost as good or better. China, however, has tried to duplicate the F-35 and their Chengdu J-20 is an inferior copy of the F-35.

One of the main arguments against the F-35 is the cost. This has resulted in some countries who had earlier contracted to buy the F-35 backing off. Canada which earlier had evinced interest in the F-35 has now opted for the F-18. If one compares the cost of the machine with its utility the F-18 and 22 are clear winners.

However the F-35 remains one of the best stealth fighters in the world. The plane has been flown across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK for test and demonstration. On its flight the plane was refeulled in mid air 4 times by the KC -135 air tanker. The F-35 is a deep penetration strike aircraft and in due course will replace the F-22 Raptor.

Last word

The F-35 is a fifth generation fighter and presently the most advanced in the world. But its limiting factor is its cost and there are teething operational problems like 3 aircraft catching fire. The cause of these fires is not yet known but will be clear after an investigation which is underway is completed.

The #USAF cannot afford to abandon the F-35 which is a state of art war machine though cost is an issue. More likely the numbers may be curtailed and the life of the F-22 Raptor extended. #military