The F-35 on display in 2006.
The F-35 on display in 2006.
Photo: LM Otero (AP)

The F-35, the next-generation fighter plane that the U.S. government is planning on dropping $1.5 trillion on at the same time it’s planning on slashing health care and kicking the disabled off Social Security, still sucks shit and can’t even shoot straight, according to a report in Bloomberg.

Bloomberg says that a recent report by the Pentagon’s test office found numerous cringe-inducing problems with the F-35, including 873 major “software deficiencies” that are being fixed only slightly faster than new bugs appear, undisclosed cybersecurity “vulnerabilities” that have yet to be resolved, and “unacceptable” accuracy in the 25mm rotary cannon on the Air Force version, which just so happens to also be mounted in housing that cracks. Air Force and Navy versions of the aircraft also continue to have cracks in structural components, which could be reasonably interpreted as a bad thing to have in a fighter jet.

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In other words, it can’t shoot for shit, it’s possible someone can hack it, and it’s falling apart.

Note that this list doesn’t include further issues being identified in current combat tests involving 64 exercises replicating performance against “the most challenging Russian, Chinese, North Korean and Iranian air defenses,” according to Bloomberg. The news agency added that hundreds of the craft have been delivered and will “require extensive retrofitting.”

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The testing office also reported that “no significant portion” of the existing F-35 fleet “was able to achieve and sustain” a goal of 80 percent capability to pull off at least one type of combat mission. (Any type of combat mission.) Bloomberg wrote that the Pentagon found that while individual units managed to hit the “80% target for short periods during deployed operations,” every model of the F-35 lagged “a large margin” behind the goal of “Full Mission Capability,” which is military jargon for actually being able to use.

To be fair, once they figure out how to actually make the F-35 work, its “Beast Mode” configuration will reportedly be able to simultaneously drop five Paveway IV laser-guided bombs into another unending, unwinnable military quagmire that started because someone thought it could win them re-election.

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Brett Ashworth, a spokesperson for F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp., told Bloomberg that “although we have not seen the report, the F-35 continues to mature and is the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter in the world.” Ashworth reassuringly added that “reliability continues to improve, with the global fleet averaging greater than 65% mission capable rates and operational units consistently performing near 75%.”

"... An upperclassman who had been researching terrorist groups online." - Washington Post

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