Like Oprah on a sugar high, the United States Congress wants to start giving things away to everyone!
But, unlike Oprah, the studio audience seems to be made up entirely of defense contractors, with those happy folks at Lockheed Martin in most of the seats.
Proof? The F-35 portion of the FY18 omnibus spending bill is one account where the adult supervision is lacking and the big spenders have run amok. Or as Oprah might phrase it: “You get an F-35! And you get an F-35! Everybody gets an F-35!” Imagine those giddy contractors, jumping up and down at their seats as the ApprOprah Committee forked over the cash (see what we did there).
The original F-35 request for Fiscal Year 2018 was hardly modest. First, remember that the F-35 is a “joint” procurement program and all three services who fly tactical aircraft will each have its own “variant” to meet the individual demands of that military service.
The Air Force requested 46 new airframes. Between buying the actual aircraft and the advanced procurement dollars also requested for the Air Force variant, the service asked for $5.3 billion in F-35 procurement.
The Marine Corps asked for 20 new airframes and advanced procurement to the tune of $2.8 billion.
The Navy’s request was the most modest; they asked for just 4 new airframes and advanced procurement for a total of $845 million.
Add up the entire original request for F-35s in the Fiscal Year 2018 Pentagon budget and you have a cool $8.9 billion.
But, the Congress decided that just wasn’t enough. And all those Lockheed Martin folks down in Fort Worth no longer have to imagine what it’s like to go to an Oprah taping.
Because, United States Air Force? You get 10 more F-35s! That’s a total of 56 this year!
Marine Corps? Another 4 aircraft will give you a cool two dozen F-35s in this fiscal year!
Navy? You get 6 more for a total of 10!
Altogether? Another $2.9 billion was appropriated for 20 additional F-35 airframes. And that’s a whopping $11.8 billion for all you lucky audience members.
Lockheed Martin? Hope you have the capacity to build 90 F-35s instead of 70, because that’s what the Congress has decided to fund.
Thanks for participating! See you next (actually, this) year.