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editorial

Cost overruns on the F-35 jet should prompt reassessment

The long and expensive saga of the F-35 fighter jet took another turn when Canada announced it would reconsider its promised purchase of 65 of the Lockheed Martin-built “Chevrolet of the sky.” The cost overruns were simply too much for conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to defend after an independent auditor put the combined purchase and maintenance price of the order at $46 billion over the 42-year life of the project; in 2010, the Canadian government put the cost of the purchase alone at $9 billion. Canada’s decision should be a wake-up call to the Pentagon: Repeated contractual overruns not only affect the US defense budget, but also provoke convulsions in the defense market as a whole.

In the wake of Canada’s decision, the Pentagon needs to reassess its own level of commitment to the whole F-35 project.

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