Up in Arms

Published — June 18, 2012

More fun facts about the F-35 fighter

Introduction

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Here are some raw numbers about the costliest military program in U.S. history: The F-35 jet fighter. Three different versions of the plane are being developed, and a total of 2,457 copies are to be manufactured by 2035. (See our first set of F-35 facts here.)

.5

Current number of “flying hours between failures” for the Marine Corps F-35 (a statistical mean)

2.6

Current number of “flying hours between failures” for the Air Force F-35

4

Required number of “flying hours between failures” for the Marine Corps F-35

6

Required number of “flying hours between failures” for the Air Force F-35

73

Percentage increase in cost of F-35 engine since development began in 2002

365

Number of planes the Pentagon says it will build by 2017

1,591

Number of planes the Pentagon said ten years ago that it would build by 2017

$22,500

Cost to fly the F-16 – which the F-35 is replacing – for one hour

$35,200

Cost to fly the F-35 for one hour (if current Air Force targets are met)

$672 million

Taxpayer’s share of a billion dollars in cost overruns on early F-35 production contracts

Source:“Joint Strike Fighter,” Government Accountability Office, June 2012, GAO-12-437

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