F-35 Program Could Be Cancelled in 2023

The expensive and problem-filled F-35 stealth fighter program appears on track to finally getting cut short.

The US Air Force is starting a months-long study of tactical aviation requirements that would lead to winding to the F-35 stealth fighter program. The study will look at a force mix that addresses both near- and long-term requirements. The report will impact the fiscal 2023 budget request, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said Feb. 17.

The US Air force plan for the last two decades has been to buy lots of F-35s and retire the various F-15, F-16 and F18.

Brown acknowledged the F-35 is having engine wear issues. This is on top of many other major software problems, airframe and weapons problems.

The JSF program was expected to cost about $200 billion in base-year 2002 dollars when SDD was awarded in 2001. By 2017, delays and cost overruns had pushed the F-35 program’s expected acquisition costs to $406.5 billion, with total lifetime cost (i.e., to 2070) to $1.5 trillion in then-year dollars which also includes operations and maintenance. Delays in development and operational test and evaluation pushed full-rate production to 2021.

The US will have about 800 F-35s by the end of 2021 and about 970 by the end of 2022. Winding down the F25 program might see the US getting about half of the planned 2443 F-35s.

The US would want to try to create light-weight fighter that was a partially stealthy generation 4.5 fighter. The new fighters would likely not be cheaper than the F-35 or the latest F15. The goal would be to have lower operating costs and a reliable workhorse fighter. The US has not been able to deliver a reliable new fighter for the last 35 years.

A full cancellation of the F-35 seems unlikely. The best result could be phasing out procurement of the F35 over four years.

SOURCES- Air Force Magazine, Wikipedia
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

38 thoughts on “F-35 Program Could Be Cancelled in 2023”

  1. The F-35 might be cancelled and perhaps should be. After all, its technology is well over 20 years old. Today, w/3D printing, we can create a new and fully adaptable aircraft. In the mean time, we should consider our F-15/16's which can be upgraded w/new soft ware. Their airframes are fantastic. As they have been proven in combat. The F-35, (according to open source media) seems to have engine problems. And "problems" between the engine and the airframe. (And no, I have no idea what that means neither. Wish I did, I could make a more intelligent post)

  2. Hey, it may make better sense to kill the F-35. After all, it's technology is at least 20 years old. It may make more sense to buy more 4th generation fighters, like the F-15/F-16's whose capabilities can be improved w/soft-ware upgrades. The "problem" w/the F-35 seems to be (according to open source reports) a "problem" between the power plant and airframe. This is so not easily corrected by soft-ware "upgrades". So lets figure out what's wrong w/the F-35, fix it or move on.

  3. Keep the F-35 n The F-22 they the planes that are the best defense…Iran,China, Russia can not beat them.

  4. Ah that might make the most financial sense, but the defense industry will throw a fit if they lose out on a trillion dollars of contracts to an aircraft made in Sweden.

  5. You want a much cheaper, already developed fighter that can take off from rough island landing strips in the South China Sea? The E version of the Saab Griffin fits the bill. I've said this before & been attacked, but it still makes the most sense. Can cooperate with F-35 sensors to become quite capable aircraft that pilots can actually fly enough to get expertise.

  6. Though the Tigers (and Panthers, and a large proportion of WW2 German weaponry) never reached the stage of being completely developed and able to be mass produced in the numbers they needed.

    As long as the USA doesn't fall into the same trap. Which they did with the F-22.

  7. they went all in with stealth and well turns out now all the near peers upgraded radar can see them clear as day.

    so sacrificing so much for stealth was a bust.

  8. Hi Luk,

    Why would the US be desperate about the Iranians getting the bomb? Iran can't use it because if they did they in turn would be wiped out. You think the US would let Iran use one without retaliating? Drop one on Jerusalem and the Israelis will drop ten on Iran. And then the US Army will come in to mop up the remnants.

    Both Iran and North Korea think the bomb is a deterrent, but the reality is that it's a path to nowhere. Moreover, the war in the middle east is mainly asymmetric and economic. The bomb is useless in that arena.

    Biden has a real good option, which is already using – keeping the sanctions in place and watching the Iranian economy collapse.

    Max pressure is working. The Iranian economy is not growing. The Toman is worth 0.000024 US dollars and it keeps falling. As the Iranian economy gets worse the public will turn more and more against the regime. In turn the regime will use more and more force to maintain its grip on power. The question is who is going to overthrow it first, the people or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. The pressure in the volcano continues to grow. It's just a matter of time before it erupts.

  9. I think the main challenge with the F-35 is that it combines a number of relatively new technologies. Moreover, the whole 5th gen aircraft concept is still relatively new. Generally speaking, whenever you develop a new high tech weapon system there are going to be problems with it. It always takes lots of time and tons of money to iron those out. Eventually they will, but for now the aircraft availability rates are too low and will be until they solve all the problems that are causing them. The F-35 is sort of like the Tiger tank on the 1942 Russian front – a maintenance nightmare but when operational it wiped out hordes of Russian T-34's. One F-35 can wipe out a whole squadron of 4 and 4.5 gen aircraft. That's why the US won't cancel it. That's why the Israelis bought it.

  10. The last numbers I saw showed a 60% availability rate. More than enough to wipe out a whole air force of Gripens. With the F-35 I can pick when and where I want to fight. I can put up a hand full of aircraft and wipe out a whole squadron of Gripens whenever I choose. The Gripen will never see me, never know where I am, or when I will strike. Within a few days of fighting I can destroy an entire force of Gripens and most likely not suffer a single F-35 loss. That's why the US and other militaries are buying it. It's stealth capability gives the aircraft an overwhelming advantage.

  11. Another trillion dollar scam for the USA taxpayer.
    Let` s hope that after wasting 1.5T dollars on the F35 they will waste another 1.5T on the 6th generation fighter.
    At the end, what counts is the demise of the USA

    Just saying


  12. Hi Chris,
    1) Iran is now enriching way more uranium than in 2016 and at 20%. They also have made uranium metal. They are one step away from nukes. The USA is desperate.
    2) Biden is just trying to save face as he has no other options.
    3) how did "maximum pressure" go? Did the Iranians capitulate under sanctions? No. They are just fine and enriching more and more
    4) Iranians maybe should fund more "terrorism" across the ME if this is the best way to kick the arshes of the USA out of the ME.
    5) I hope the F35 does not canceled as well. It is the best way to make the USA lose money.

    Looks like game over for the Da Pukke and the Iraniacs!!!!!
    -> Keep dreaming and dreaming ..

    Just saying!


  13. Read they've already flown a 6th gen platform. I wonder if additive manufacturing has had any role in rapid prototyping and if they've got some ace up their sleeve with that.

  14. If the F-35 program is cancel all that will happen is the Airforce will ask for new planes. It will be trillions and decades and it will be the same result. Cancelling a program has never fixed the problems. It has just created new more expensive problems. Each new F-35 coming off the production line is cheaper.

  15. NOOOooooo!
    Do not distract him from history changing projects to waste his time on a defense program that he could never be allowed to actually revolutionise.

  16. The closest I can see is the comments that they want to use the F35 less, because they are wearing out under the current high tempo.

  17. The gripen probably the most cost effective air to air and light attack plane you can buy.

    Leave the big bombs to expensive and large platforms like f15.

  18. I am not sure how you are supposed to fly a plane like the f35 into combat with such low availability even on new frames under ideal conditions. Nor how it is supposed to turn out when the f35 is non combat operational.

    Suffice to say by the time you buy enough f35s to put one in the air you are probably going to face off against over half a dozen gripens per 35.

  19. Yes, most up-to-date variants of f15/16/18 are all far more capable than much of the existing airforce inventory and would constitute a major generational advancement in all areas of performance and capability.

    A huge portion of the airforce is nearing the end of the life for the airframes in question and will need to be replaced within the next decade. Producing these planes would alleviate this shortage and buy time to field successor planes to replace the remaining half of the fleet.

  20. You get in your Gripen E and I'll fly the F-35. Make sure you have a parachute. You're gonna need it when I shoot you down. The worse part is you won't even know I'm there until the missile hits you. The stealth capability of the F-35 means you will never see me. Heck, I'll even give you a whole squadron of Gripens. You still wont see me. Stealth is king.

  21. Hey Da Pukke, if you even bothered to read the article you would see it's not being cancelled.

    Oh, by the way. How's that whole prediction of yours that the Biden Administration was going to lift sanctions on Iran coming along? We are over a month into his term of office and the sanctions are still there.

    And worse for you Da Pukke, Biden said recently that they wouldn't come off until Iran returned to full compliance, which your idiot Iranian friends have already said they won't do. And even worse for Da Puker, Biden also said the Iraniacs had to stop funding terrorism across the Middle East. We know the religious nutjobs in Tehran can never do that. Looks like game over for the Da Pukke and the Iraniacs!!!!!

  22. Gripen E is a lightweight gen 4.5 NATO compatible multirole fighter with low radar signature and low running costs. It would be a good choice as a cheaper fighter than the F-35. It already contains american tech and Saab would probably happily license the production to the US.

    Lockheed Martin och Boeing could probably also buy a large stake in SAAB.

  23. For sure, China has become the world's premier Fascist state now with its surveillance, labor camps, bullying, land and ocean grabs — all that's missing is the goose stepping, oh wait….

  24. If they’re throwing away $1B that freely why not an open X-Prize like competition for a replacement. They all go up against each other in an open contest. Winner gets $500M, second $250M. $250 split among sub prizes. Contestants MUST operate remotely and autonomously, pilot option gets extra credit. Hence, the competition can be very realistic and have few safety rails. Live ammunition in the Finals. Real kills. Media rights to the air combat helps pay the prize.

  25. By the time they design and procure a replacement they will be obsolete.
    That order will be cancelled to focus on a procurement of autonomous aircraft.
    And that is when Canada annexes USA.

  26. Japan and Europe are both developing stealth fighters as well. Both of them make excellent designs and have very respectable manufacturing capabilities. Maybe a collaboration with these top allies may be in order? We are building an Italian design naval vessel right now, so it is hardly unprecedented.
    Heck, even Russia has armored vehicle designs we could use that are excellent if we could license them. An example would be to compare the ability to cross water obstacles between the BMP and the Bradley's skirt system, which I can tell you from experience is a terrible design to work with while under direct fire or artillery. The Sherp is another top notch system it would be nice to have for our recon cav scout units.
    I think it would also be good for our defense industry to have more competition. Good for our soldiers especially. Good ideas can come from anywhere and should be adopted if possible.

  27. Phase the F35 out and replace them with what? F-16s?

    Really what was the last DOD program that was cancelled after we spent more than $10 billion on it?

    This is all just an Air Force lead up to "we need to accelerate upgraded engines, please add this to the GND bill".

    F-35 won't be cancelled. There is no replacement, the problems are software and engines which are both on track to be addressed. I don't like how it was done but there is no way this program is being cancelled. Z E R O

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