the war on what exactly?

Fancy Fighter Jets Costing Nation Zillions of Dollars Do Not Work

the most expensive Happy Meal toy in the universe.So what do these double super killer stealth F-35 fighter jets go for these days? A few million dollars? A hundred million? A BILLION DOLLARS? No, none of those things. It is actually more like, “a trillion dollars.” We were going to do a cute listicle of “things that are less expensive and yet crucially able to employ/feed/educate a large quantity of humans more than a fighter jet,” but you cannot do that list because everything is cheaper than a F-35 Lightning II fighter jet program. Everything on Earth. YOU CAN BUY AUSTRALIA for less than this fighter jet program. Oh boohoo, more liberal outrage over the insane costs of a good killing machine. OH WAIT: they do not actually work. Haha, do they ever work? No, they are hanging out in Texas like a bunch of sad garden gnomes polluting the landscape with their tacky, trillion-dollar existence.

Is this even news? Fighter jets actually never seem to work.

From Bloomberg News:

The Pentagon today suspended ground and flight operations of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after a power failure on a plane at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The suspension grounds all 20 F-35’s that have flying status, said Pentagon spokesman Joe DellaVedova, in a written statement.

A turbo machine that provides power to start the engine failed during an engine run yesterday, forcing an engine shutdown, he said. No injuries to the pilot or ground crew occurred.

The incident involved the AF-4 variant of the conventional takeoff and landing fighter jet.

We are not military strategists, but if buying one less fancy fighter jet program can put the high school graduating classes of 27 states through college 216 times over and build an emissions-free subway line that goes from Boston to San Diego and back again via Peru, then THAT IS WORTH ONE LESS FIGHTER JET. [Bloomberg News via The Atlantic]

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212 comments

      1. OneDollarJuana

        The genius of the Defense Department is truly found in its vast spreading of the wealth. There are defense bases, projects, and military contractors in every state of the country, making defense cuts kryptonite to politicians.

        1. flamingpdog

          There are poorz in every state of the country, but cuts to the poorz aren't kryptonite. Why's that?

          1. OneDollarJuana

            And they traditionally don't vote. No snark, this is one area where I believe they get a reap a bit of what they sow. Or don't sow.

          2. WunkRocker

            But they could you know, throw orange grand children under the subway train. You know, hypothetically.

  1. nappyduggs

    "Fancy Fighter Jets Costing Nation Zillions of Dollars Do Not Work
    Just joining the club, amirite?

    1. ArmoredLibunatic

      I've always wondered why we need a Macross reject when existing low-tech solutions work just fine.

      …dammit, engage Nerd Drive!

      The wider wings work better in low-speed close support situations and allow for tighter maneuvers, which is what you need in mountain regions like Afghanistan. And those things are built like tanks; they've managed to come home with almost half a wing shot off! The terrorists have nicknamed the things "Silent Death," for Alah's sake! The only improvements I can think of is to make it more phallic! FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF–

    2. Lionel[redacted]Esq

      Yeah, but when the space aliens attack, or the Mexican aliens for that matter, you will be happy we have the best!

  2. YasserArraFeck

    if they'd only kicked in the extra 100 billion for the extended warantee…….(100,000 miles, 1,000 dead browns or 3 unprovoked military actions, whichever comes first)

        1. Fukui_sanYesOta

          They're extra if you go for the "crying eagle superimposed on the twin towers" option.

    1. GOPCrusher

      The Wagon Queen Family Truckster. You think you hate it now, just wait until you drive it.

    1. V572 Coif of Destiny

      Nope, they're actually flying, with no more than an acceptable level of casualties.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        I was up in St Louis back in June; I was staying at the Ballpark Hilton and it turned out it was "Marine Week" in St Louis. There was a bunch of different equipment parked out in the Busch Stadium parking lot, including some helicopters and an Osprey. I'm in the elevator talking to this female Marine major wearing aviators wings, and I asked her about the airworthiness of the Osprey. She just rolled her eyes and said "I'd best offer no comment, although I will say that I'm going to be very happy to continue flying my H-53."

          1. prommie

            Yes, but they are a perfected technology and relatively inexpensive, so the pentagon wants nothing to do with them.

    1. OneDollarJuana

      Maybe Rick Perry can pray that Jeebus will fix them right after He fixes the drought.

  3. Barb

    They should sell one to Sarah Palin so that she can get to and from jury duty quickly and then back on her "Long and Whining Road" tour.

      1. NorthStarSpanx

        Except I don't think she's got near enough money in her PAC anymore to pay for a super-patriotic-Real-American shrink-wrap job on one of those babies.

    1. metamarcisf

      There is an application in Quay County for a Horse Racing License which can then be turned into a gaming license, allowing up to 600 slot machines. The operation is prposed to be housed on a plot of land, east of the City of Tucumcari next to K-Mart. The decision on the license is to be made sometime after Sept. 2nd.

    2. Fare la Volpe

      She already has a personal jet chartered just in case a sudden case of pregnancy forces her to return to Alaska immediately. Nothing safer than a woman in labor riding a plane.

      1. Barb

        Howdy Fare! The rumor on that front is that she has herpes. No, I don't think that is at all funny. "They" say that she chose to get back to Alaska and have the baby to hide the herpes and then she didn't cough up her medical records during the campaign and just brought a note from her doctor instead.

        1. NorthStarSpanx

          Explains her reoccurring lip sores. I love it when they (meaning people who have Herpes) explain it away as a sunburn, a bug bite, or that they tripped and hit their lip on a door, range of excuses.

          If people would come clean about herpes, perhaps it wouldn't be one of the most transmitted, insidious STD's around.

          1. GOPCrusher

            At first I thought, I hate to see what Tawd's crank looks like, but then Sarah doesn't strike me as the kind of woman that would satisfy her man orally.

    1. flamingpdog

      It could be good news for America is we'd just send him up in the air, piloting all of them.

  4. powersuit

    I read that these things have a range of 600 miles. Wow, that means they are good for what, 20 mins flying time? I can get 450 miles on a tank of gas in my Altima; maybe I should bolt some wings on it and lend it to the miltary. I'd be cheaper and just as useful.

    1. MissusBarry

      And super stealthy…nobody's watching for attack-Nissans and they're a fuckload quieter than jets.

  5. orygoon

    "We are not military strategists"

    Of course you aren't. Obviously, this program needs more money to make it right.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      None of us are … but maybe someone has the imagination to explain the thinking behind grounding the airplanes when the million-dollar turbo-gizmo that starts the engine isn't working.

  6. BlueStateLibel

    But this is EXACTLY why Leon Panetta is right when he whines that the Pentagon needs more money…the expensive toys don't work!

    Maybe we could just sell them to PBS so they can do a 15-part series "A History of Over-Priced Military Junk that Doesn't Work."

  7. edgydrifter

    We bought a bunch of super pew-pew future planes that don't fly for shit? I say we loan them to Chimpy, WALNUTS and Ice-Man Inhofe, for obvious reasons.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Drought, famine, pestilence, lakes turning to blood, etc. etc… more good times in Texas.
      The eleventh plague visited upon Egypt was when the Pharaoh's hideously expensive stealth chariots wouldn't start … or it would have been if they hadn't caved after ten. Texans are more obtstinate.

  8. Callyson

    Lockheed Martin: We never forget who we're working for…
    …but basic engineering skills, well, those sometimes escape our memory…

    1. GeorgiaBurning

      It's much easier to outsource any real work, who wants a bunch of stuck-up nerds who know science hanging around the office. Its more fun and profitable to find projects where the customer is paying cost plus "administrative overhead" plus ten percent.

  9. V572 Coif of Destiny

    Didn't ex-Sec-Def Gates kill this one? Or was it the F-22? In any case: adiós, puestos de trabajo

    1. SayItWithWookies

      I believe the F-22 was cheap and effective — so yeah, that's the one that's dead.

    2. not that Dewey

      Some other venerable military contractor had developed a redundant and unnecessary design for the engine, which the Pentagon specifically asked them not to do, but whose headquarters were in some small-government Republican's district, so they went ahead and designed it anyway, and presented the taxpayers with an invoice.

      I believe it was this that Gates killed.

  10. Lucidamente1

    I defer to whichever genius it was who said "the ideal weapons system is one assembled from parts made in all 435 Congressional districts."

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      I don't think they have reached that lofty goal just yet, but they are pretty close. Dwight Eisenhower called it in his farewell speech, but they made him scratch the last word when he warned us against the "Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex."

  11. MiniMencken

    The guys handicrafting copies of AK-47s in Peshawar must be very impressed by these planes. Ditto the Somali militiamen.

  12. JoshuaNorton

    So the Pentagon needs what? About 2 dozen more because they look so kewl?

    So the top brass gets to sit in the cockpit and go "vroom, vroom"?

    Heh, heh. I said "Cockpit".

  13. Crank_Tango

    Laugh all you want libtards, but have you seen the japs' new zeroes? Or the me262? Or the soviet firefox?

    you'll be sorry when there are dogfights all over the place and we can't participate.

    Other projects we should be supporting are battleships, horse cavalry, and trebuchets.

    1. JoshuaNorton

      Or the soviet firefox?

      If it's like Mozilla's Firefox they'll crash about 8 times a day.

        1. Preferred Customer

          The Achilles Heel of that thing is that you must think in Russian, and who does that? I sort of doubt that even Russians think in Russian.

    2. Fare la Volpe

      Have you seen how small the budget is for rapiers, katanas, and Viking Longboats? This is an outrage!

    3. SorosBot

      We also have a big giant robot gap with the Japanese. Why won't Congress fund the giant robot project we need to protect America?

    4. lumpenprole

      How about an expensive mega tank that has to be hauled to the battlefield where it promptly breaks down because it relies on a billion gizmos too complex to be understood? Oh? Got some of those, have we? How about fleets of invisible planes to spy on the people rifling through our computers? Oh. Maybe fill the pirate infested seas with WWII surface fleets?

    1. GOPCrusher

      If the Chinese high speed train project is any indication, the Chinese may have already caught up with America in crappy product development.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      I prefer the Wall Street approach: work that pays a million dollars an hour and is finished before lunch on Monday.

  14. BaldarTFlagass

    Well, they look really cool and will make excellent static displays at USAF Air Combat Command bases nationwide. We're already lobbying for one down here at Lackland.

    1. Oblios_Cap

      I imagine that you can eat eggs off the sidewalk at Lackland these days. I went there TDY during my Third Classman summer at USAFA for Operation Non-Com. It was too damn hot.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        106 today. Been over 100 all month. Black flag is up. If it weren't for rivers, lakes, swimming pools, and air conditioning, 90% of the population wouldn't be here (self included).

    2. Terry

      It's funny that a base called Lackland is surrounded by pretty much nothing BUT land. No, Canyon Lake and some small rivers don't count.

  15. Oblios_Cap

    The pentagon's slacking. We have been wasting a lot more on the Star Wars system that doesn't work, either. Aren't we still pouring $$$ down that shithole?

  16. PuckStopsHere

    How come we're not just buying these from the Chinese like we do with everything else? I'll be Walmart would sell 'em for less.

    1. OneDollarJuana

      Actually, we're probably buying the planes "brains" from Chinese computer manufacturers.

  17. neiltheblaze

    Thank Cthulu we didn't waste all that taxpayer money on aid for women with dependent children, or old people's hip replacements, or fixing bridges or anything.

  18. MrFizzy

    Don't forget that we borrow 40% of every dollar from China to build these fucking useless things. Wait, there's more…China is who we're building the planes to defend ourselves against. Strangely Strangelovian.

      1. MrFizzy

        One of my favorite lines from my favorite movie. Another: "Even the normal phone lines are down"

    1. Lionel[redacted]Esq

      Well, when we decide not to pay them back, we better be ready to defend ourselves!

    2. GOPCrusher

      And the Chinese can't even design their own aircraft, they have to reverse engineer Russian designs.

  19. MissusBarry

    And to think, I get upset when a $10 coffee pot craps out after a couple years. Good thing I don't work for DoD.

    1. Preferred Customer

      Don't worry. You'd be fired instantly for buying a coffee pot that only cost $10.

  20. Sue4466

    It's times like this that make me thank Jebus the GOP held the line on subsidies to rural airports.

  21. SorosBot

    But we need these stealth fighter jets, because of all the potential enemies we face with their own fleets of modern jet fighters, like um… there's… uh…

    …maybe aliens? Yeah, let's go with aliens, like in Independence Day.

      1. Crank_Tango

        No, but the VP will gladly drive the lead attack camaro…here I go again on my ownnnnn…..

      2. SorosBot

        Now it's our last President that supposedly used to be a fighter pilot, we can conscript him to lead.

  22. x111e7thst

    We need fancy fighters that don't work to keep the Chinese building fancy stealth bombers that don't work. And vice versa.

  23. flamingpdog

    Shouldn't we consider buying Australia for a trillion dollars? That whole country started out as a penal* colony, and the US is the biggest imprisoner of folks in the world right now, with private industry having a big thumb in the whole bidness. Think of all the jobs!

    *tee hee, I said "penal".

  24. SmutBoffin

    The Pentagon responded that a plan for a bake sale (OPERATION GRAMMA'S NUT CLUSTERS) is moving forward. Cookies will be $100000 each and collateral damage is expected to be low.

  25. Goonemeritus

    Think of defense spending as celery when the nation is on a fiscal diet it’s the one thing you can still gorge on.

  26. Come here a minute

    Don't you worry your purty little head about this fighter jet — it paid a lot of hard-working contractors' salaries. It is completely made of jobs.

  27. HobbesEvilTwin

    So the F-35 fighter jet works as well and as often as a certain reservist jet pilot from Texas.

  28. BaldarTFlagass

    There's a very interesting Nova episode, Battle of the X-Planes, about the competition between Lockheed and Boeing for the design/construction contract for this plane. Worth a watch, last time I looked it was available on Netflix streaming…

  29. gurukalehuru

    I haven't worked out all the bugs yet, but here's the plan…they're building a new tallest building in the world now in Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that the latest world's tallest building, in Dubai, is losing money faster than a drunk in Vegas. So, we fly this sucker into it, like a reverse 9/11. The Saudis are forced to invade the U.S. and after they win and take over, they can pay off all of our debts with their oil billions.
    It worked for the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

    1. YasserArraFeck

      fight the Calgarians over there, so we don't have to fight them here…makes perfect sense to me

    2. Lionel[redacted]Esq

      Please. They are in Texas and California. Clearly they are designed to take out the highly sophisticated Mexican air force.

  30. bureaucrap

    "…a bunch of sad garden gnomes polluting the landscape with their tacky, trillion-dollar existence. "

    So you're saying they're like [Donald Trump/The Koch Brothers/Bill Gates/Sam Walton]?

    I'm not sure which is worse, the thought of the planes or the thought of the trillionaires polluting the landscape.

  31. BaldarTFlagass

    I'm put in mind of an old bumper sticker I used to see around 20 years ago, something to the effect of "In my world the schools would get all the money they needed and the Air Force would have to hold a bake sale to buy a B-1 bomber."

  32. prommie

    You know, when I am delusional and at the height of my rationalizing and wearing my rose-colored glasses, I think to myself that Obama did obtain for himself a debt limit bill that mandates across-the-board cuts to defense spending, if the bipartisan comittee fails to come to an agreement. Think about that one. IF the bipartisan committee fails to come to agreement? That would be WHEN the committee fails to come to agreement. He set them up to fail, because its the only way he could get defense spending cuts, is something I sometimes fantasize. But then I come to my senses, and realize that Hopey McUnicorn just got rolled.

    1. JoshuaNorton

      All's the Repugs need is for Harry Reid to appoint one Blue Dog and they'll get what ever they want out of the deal.

    2. GregComlish

      Seriously. Republicans are just going to accuse the democrats of being "soft on defense" and then they're going to cave like a bunch of bitches.

    3. Dashboard_Jesus

      funny I JUST heard that EXACT same thought come out of Randi Rhodes' mouth as I was reading this thread…synchronicity or WTF? (yummm, Randi Rhodes' mouth :)

  33. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    I think you all are forgetting just how cool they will look when they make Top Gun II.

  34. north_of_moscow

    We need to get rid of Medicaid and Social Security so we can put these poor unemployed jets back to work.

    1. DashboardBuddha

      May I borrow that comment?

      edit: too late…I did, but I cited you. did you feel it?

  35. prommie

    So whats the big problem? McCain personally destroyed way more jets than that. Hell, he almost sunk an aircraft carrier, and killed 80 sailors.

  36. SayItWithWookies

    Clearly the solution to this problem is for the DoD to commission a second alternate engine for this baby, just like the ads (from Westinghouse? Lockheed? Shit, they were ubiquitous and I can't remember who they were for) said.

  37. Guppy06

    We need a new air-superiority fighter to counteract the Taliban's… um… fleet of hot-air balloons?

      1. Guppy06

        I'll be interested in reading about the Paultard Blimp in the latest publication of Jane's All The World's Airships.

  38. Fare la Volpe

    Meanwhile my job is trying to figure out where we'll get $2,000 to fix the A/C in a 100 degree summer.

    Fuck I hate living.

    1. jus_wonderin

      "In my day, we didn't have fancy schmancy air conditioning, and we liked it!"

      Of course, we dropped like rocks from heat exhaustion.

  39. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Remember:

    Helping the poor or the sick = Socialism

    Building needlessly expensive military equipment that doesn't work = Freedom.

    Do you need a chalk board to understand this?

  40. northernbassist

    Great–what are we going to use to shoot at Bruce Willis in the new movie "Die Hard, you Tea Party Douchebags, Die Hard?"

  41. MissusBarry

    Completely OT, I was just looking on Facebook and saw a picture of a five year old with a scoped rifle on a bipod next to the woodchuck he'd just shot (his dad is so proud) followed by a girl spewing about her wonderful husband taking her glamping (thanks, wonkette, I wouldn't have had a clue what this meant). Think it's time to do some purging and possibly emigrate.

  42. weejee

    /snark off

    Mmmm, the F22, which the F35 is to replace is the only production "5th Generation" aircraft out there and it has flown no combat missions in either Iraq or Afghanistan. To continue with this effort to go one more giant step to fight an aircraft foe that does not exist seems to me to be nothing more than a flight of masturbatory delight for some DoD flyboyz and Lockheed execs and stockholders.

    1. Fukui_sanYesOta

      Hmm, not quite sure that's right. The F-22 is a not-for-export 5th gen, whereas the F-35 is, hence its use of some Rolls-Royce engine technology.

      There are three levels of international participation. The levels generally reflect the financial stake in the program, the amount of technology transfer and subcontracts open for bid by national companies, and the order in which countries can obtain production aircraft. The United Kingdom is the sole "Level 1" partner, contributing US$2.5 billion, which was about 10% of the planned development costs

      The UK are buying the F-35 to put on their two new nuke carriers. Yes, the UK can waste billions as well.

  43. DahBoner

    "Fancy Fighter Jets Costing Nation Zillions of Dollars Do Not Work"

    This means we can't raise taxes on Rich people. When will you little people understand the workings of Big Gum'mint?

  44. owhatever

    We have to spend the money so that our fighter jocks can continue to lick the fighter jocks of every other nation.

  45. Beowoof

    Well the trouble is clearly they are being built in Texas. Texas is last in high school diplomas. I think there is a correlation. If they were built in say Vermont where the state has the highest smart ranking, things may be different.

  46. WVUer21

    Can't snark about this. I was in the USAF in '01-'02, and even then everyone knew this was a waste of time and uber loads of cash. Thank you, military industrial complex.

  47. widestanceroman

    Has a (R) said that these planes are essential to create jobs yet (even though it's the government, so it cannot by law create a job)?

    1. GOPCrusher

      Yes. Cue Boehner crying on camera that stopping development of the F-35 is further proof that President Obama is a job killer in 3……2…….1……

  48. smitallica

    So when you say they "don't work," does that mean they're NOT capable of killing innocent Pakistani civilians?

  49. James Michael Curley

    "they are hanging out in Texas like a bunch of sad garden gnomes polluting the landscape" Sounds like the six months after Viet Nam I and a bunch of chopper jocks spent in Fort Hood when we were assigned to a tank company.

  50. poncho_pilot

    this reminds me of the book i just read about the AK-47. specifically about the Vietnam War and the collusion between arms manufacturers and the Springfield Armory.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      I've been meaning to read that; somebody posted the Esquire excerpt of Chivers' book a while back; this article mostly looks at the scandalous path that led to the adoption of the Mattel-16. (Warning: Annoying autoplay ad)

  51. Nostrildamus

    Well, at least it's $1 trillion those stinkin' teachers won't get their socialist hands on.

  52. chascates

    I thought they had been working on these things for five and a half years now! FIVE AND A HALF YEARS!!!

  53. GeorgiaBurning

    Since they're built in Texas a football analogy is appropriate. One of these planes costs as much as TEN NFL stadiums complete with luxury boxes. The cost of two of them could buy season tickets for the entire US population. You'd still need to pay for your parking, we're not socialists.

  54. ttommyunger

    Just one more reason that Leon Panetta moved that torn pocket of a mouth of his to say that we needed to cut SS and Medicare so we could spend more money on worthless expensive shit like this.

  55. mrbubb

    I just want to wake up from this nightmare to find I'm safe in my bed in Copenhagen, passed out from too much weed and filthy sex with fire-breathing nordic goddeses. ("I'm as horny as the hatrack in a viking bar!)

  56. lulzmonger

    An enemy able to launch assloads of dirt-cheap drones running on Radio Shack technology could probably kill this piece of poo deader than Sarah Palin's soul in five minutes flat (assuming it can stay airborne & intact that long) – & at fighter speeds they wouldn't even need munitions, just plain old brute inertia – so your ULTRAMEGAKILL MARK 5 DESTRUCTOTRON 2000™ will cost out at $x-billion per minute per poo-mobile in combat.

    Hmm … I just sensed a sudden massive disturbance in the Forces, a sensation like legions of arms lobbyists climaxing …

    Exactly like the Ford Pinto … if the Pinto cost as much as the GNP of Peru.

  57. Warpde

    Well, look at it on the bright side.
    Kind of hard to kill civilians when you cant get it up.

    Kind of hard to make more civilians to kill under the same cir"cum"stances.

  58. magginkat

    The planes are nothing more that high falutin' toys for the fly boys. We have no use for them what-so-ever. This is insanity at it's worst stage. The military expenditures will be the death of this country unless it's stopped.

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