The Federation of American Scientists has made available, via Secrecy News, a CRS report on the F35 Joint Strike Fighter. If you read this carefully, you’ll note that the planes are probably going to cost about $200 million USD.
Conversely, the Swedish (SAAB) Gripen can be had for $40 – $60 million USD.
Here you will find a five-part blog on the F35. In short, it’s badly designed, and its development program was, and still is, badly designed. Its software is enormous and supposedly 80% tested.
In the CRS report (first hotlink above) you will find that some countries are pulling out or reducing their orders. Canada found out that Israel, which is contributing significantly less to the project, is getting significantly more money in parts work or other compensation. You will also find out that the short-takeoff, vertical landing version is on two year hold. That’s the F35B.
My point: the F35 plane may never fly, and it for sure won’t be competitive in price. And, it’s very slow – it can only exceed the speed of sound for a short time. The Gripen can do mach 2 at high altitude, and can cruise above mach 1 without afterburners.
Meanwhile Canada is ‘reconsidering’ the airplane we need, but leaving the F35 in the list of contenders.
Normally I’d put a dumb question here, but the whole blog is about a dumb plane and dumb politicians making dumb decisions. Meanwhile the contractors for the F35 are raking in money; again, see the CRS report for the gory details.