The F-35 Trap: How the Air Force Can Avoid Trouble Before Building a New Fighter Jet

Robert Farley

Robert Farley

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The F-35 Trap: How the Air Force Can Avoid Trouble Before Building a New Fighter Jet

The idea of avoiding a project the magnitude of the F-35 makes a ton of sense. Even if the F-35 eventually proves successful, it nearly became a victim of its enormity, attracting harsh criticism because of its size and expense.

Could a rethink of U.S. acquisition policies bring back the heady days of the “Century Series,” a time in which the Air Force could pick and choose between a variety of different fighters specialized in certain tasks? Could such an approach free the Pentagon from the specter of another gigantic, F-35-sized procurement project? An increasing number of people seem to think so, but before we take steps down that road we should make note of the pitfalls.

(This first appeared last month.)

As reported by Stephen Trimble in Aviation Week, Will Roper, the assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, has argued that the United States needs to stop and rethink its acquisition policies before embarking on the Next Generation Fighter project.

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