The Unaffordable F-35: Budget History and Alternatives

The Unaffordable F-35: Budget History and Alternatives

National Security  | Research & Analysis
Apr 24, 2014  | 1 min read

At least $8 billion of the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal year 2015 is devoted to a single aircraft program: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Already on track to be the most expensive weapon system in history, the F-35 is becoming a black hole in the Pentagon budget.

In the face of continuing budget cuts, it is worth considering more conservative investments the military could be making. The DoD “base” budget request for this year is $495.6 billion.1 This single aircraft, one item in the entire U.S. military arsenal, is eating up approximately 1.6% of the entire Pentagon budget in FY15. 2

Of the total Pentagon FY15 procurement request of $90.6 billion, $6.3 billion – just under 7 percent of the entire Pentagon unclassified procurement request – is being spent on procurement of a single aircraft program.

The focus of this analysis is on the affordability of the F-35 and the ready availability of existing alternatives.

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