President-Elect Trump: "The F-35 Program is Out of Control"

Posted: Dec 12, 2016 10:30 AM

“The F-35 program and cost is out of control,” President-elect Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning, criticizing the behind schedule and over budget fighter jet program by Lockheed Martin. 

“Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th,” he wrote.

“The people that are making these deals for the government, they should never be allowed to go to work for these companies,” Trump said in a Sunday interview. “You know, they make a deal like that and two or three years later, you see them working for these companies that made the deal.”

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released their findings of the F-35 program and found there will be significant delays in the aircraft's mission systems and flight sciences.  

To execute the program as planned, the Department of Defense (DOD) will have to increase funds steeply over the next 5 years and sustain an average of $12.6 billion per year through 2037; for several years, funding requirements will peak at around $15 billion.

Why the GAO did the study:

The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is DOD's most costly and ambitious acquisition program. The program seeks to develop and field three aircraft variants for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and eight international partners. The F-35 is integral to U.S. and international plans to replace existing fighter aircraft and support future combat operations. Total U.S. planned investment in the F-35 program is approaching $400 billion to develop and acquire 2,457 aircraft through 2037, plus hundreds of billions of dollars in long-term spending to operate and maintain the aircraft.

It's now estimated that the cost of the F-35 will rise to $1.45 trillion over the next 50 years.