The F-35 program is already recognized as the most expensive in history. This displeases the US Congress against the backdrop of the slow upgrade of the fighter and the progress of Russian and Chinese air defense systems.
The Defense Policy Committee of the US House of Representatives has warned that the Lockheed Martin Corp. does not keep pace with the improvements of the Chinese and Russian air defense systems. The situation is getting worse against the background of the high cost of the project.
The Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives of the US Congress supported the program for the acquisition of the F-35 in the amount of $ 398 billion. The amount is reflected in the report, which is attached to one of the versions of the bill on defense policy for the 2022th fiscal year. According to the document, the fighter “can be used against modern integrated air defense systems.” But only after it finally gets the key software updates and the promised combat capabilities.
At the same time, the “opponents of the United States” are developing air defense systems faster than expected and the fighter simply does not have time, the Congress notes. The House of Representatives commission has already said that “it is unclear whether the F-35 will be able to develop sufficiently to withstand a future threat in war zones.”
In the open, the committee did not name specific countries that arouse the concern of opponents. However, Bloomberg notes that today, Pentagon officials call China the main threat, and also note Russia’s steps in military development and industry.
Also, congressmen are unhappy with the fact that until now the F-35 has not yet demonstrated its capabilities in modeling against the most complex Russian and Chinese air defense systems.