The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program has been delayed again and will cost at least $500 million more, according to correspondence between the Pentagon and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) revealed Tuesday afternoon that the Defense Department had confirmed the seven-month delay in the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase, or SDD. McCain has long been a harsh critic of the F-35 program for its delays and accompanying cost overruns, and President-elect Donald Trump has more recently took aim at Lockheed Martin’s development of the fifth-generation stealth fighter jets for its “out of control” costs.
“I have been recently informed the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase has been delayed another seven months, another costly stumble that will cost the American taxpayer at least $500 million,” McCain said in a statement. “This is yet another troubling sign for a program that has already nearly doubled in cost, taken nearly two decades to field, and has long been the poster child for acquisition malpractice.”
The F-35 program’s budget has nearly doubled to $400 billion since Lockheed Martin first unveiled it 15 years ago, making it the Pentagon’s most costly acquisitions program.