In the same week that the Air Force admitted it has to repaint fuel trucks in order to keep F-35 planes in the air, the US House is on the verge of providing more money than the Pentagon requested for the most expensive plane in history.
It’s not just expensive; it doesn’t work very well, for example catching fire on the runway.
In a report posted December 6 on an Air Force web site, spokespeople for the 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron in Luke, Arizona, acknowledged they are repainting their fuel trucks white. It’s not a fashion thing.
"We painted the refuelers white to reduce the temperature of fuel being delivered to the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter," said Senior Airman Jacob Hartman, a 56th LRS fuels distribution operator. "The F-35 has a fuel temperature threshold and may not function properly if the fuel temperature is too high, so after collaborating with other bases and receiving waiver approval from (the Air Education Training Command), we painted the tanks white."
NBC News notes “there have been no publicly reported cases of current jet fighters experiencing problems with hot fuel. At the same time, repainting trucks bright white could make them easier targets if based in hostile territory subject to high temperatures, such as deserts. Temperatures in Iraq, for instance, can exceed 120 degrees.“
Meanwhile in Washington, House budget writers have padded their trillion dollar proposal – which needs to be approved by tomorrow to avoid a government shut down – with “funding for four more F-35 fighter jets than the Pentagon requested, for a total of 38 of the fifth-generation stealth aircraft,” according to Brendan McGarry of military.com.
It is no coincidence that Lockheed Martin, the F-35’s prime contractor, has spent more than $10 million lobbying so far this year and invested more than $4 million in politicians, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. #GUI2016
The F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in history, with a total cost of $1.5 trillion.
The F-35 program has been plagued by cost overruns and delays, has been grounded twice, and even has been criticized by those within the Pentagon.
The $1.5 trillion that will be spent on this wasteful Pentagon program is an enormous sum. It is equivalent to the cost of the sequester.
By the way, military.com says the House proposal also includes funds for “three Littoral Combat Ships, even though the House wanted to decrease the number to two; 15 EA-18G Growlers (the Navy didn’t ask for any, but included 22 of the aircraft on its so-called unfunded priorities list); M1 Abrams tank upgrades, even though the Army says it has enough tanks; and the A-10 Warthog, even after the Air Force pushed to retire the aircraft.
“Lawmakers also included $273 million for Israeli missile-defense programs. That includes an additional $175 million for the so-called Iron Dome system, which was used extensively this summer to intercept rockets fired from Palestinian fighters in Gaza. The funding brings the total U.S. investment in the system to $1.2 billion since 2011.”