The F-35, a replacement for the existing fighters like the F16 and F-22 is the most advanced plane in the US inventory. The plane is a fifth generation Fighter and incorporates stealth technology and is a formidable weapons system. It has been accepted by many countries including NATO as their front line fighter plane. According to the BBC, the aircraft has had a troubled existence and three Air Accidents have taken place and topping this is the cost of development of the fighter which has touched $1.9 Trillion. The F-35 first flew in 2010 and till date 231 of these machines have been built The engineers at Lockheed have concluded that the plane needs to be upgraded and this will cost an estimated 3.9 billion dollars.

This is essential to help the fighter retain its Cutting Edge over the latest Russian fifth generation fighter the Su-57.

Government report

The government accountability report released this week has said that modernization of the plane and the projected cost of up gradation of over $3.9 billion will make it the costliest weapon system in US aviation history. In contrast, the Russian Su-57 has cost only $10 billion. As per the report, this up gradation will continue till 2022, making it the most expensive acquisitions in US history. The fault appears to lie with the data processor of the plane that needs to be upgraded. The defense department will ask Congress for the additional funds in Feb 2018.

Costliest fighter in world

The plane which costs over a billion dollars a piece is the costliest fighter plane in the world. President Trump is worried about the cost and has asked General Mattis to ask the engineers at Lockheed to try and cut the cost of the plane to $ 80 million a piece. This is not easy as it may mean compromising on the some of the advanced features in the plane which are so essential to evade the latest radars of the Chinese and the Russian defenses.

Of greater worry is the loss of three planes in air accidents.

Future

The USAF has always maintained a cutting edge over its rivals right from World War II and the Korean War when the Mustang and Saber Jet dominated the sky in the Pacific and the Korean peninsula. The Pentagon is hoping this edge will be maintained with the induction of the F-35, but rising costs have been a dampener and experts are wondering whether it is a cost effective weapon compared to the F-18 Hornet and F-22 Raptor.

Despite what the experts say the options are not easy to execute.

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