What is the most expensive jet fighter

The most expensive jet fighter in history flew its first attack for the United States in Afghanistan

The vertically landing F-35 fighter aircraft is baptized by fire. However, the problems with the development of this stealth jet have not all been resolved.

The most expensive fighter in history, the F-35, first appeared in a US military strike. The Marine Corps confirmed that one of their F-35s made a successful attack against a stationary ground target in Afghanistan last Thursday. The Marines have one of the three variants of the stealth plane, which has cost around $ 400 billion to develop so far.

Float in place

The operation was expected a few days in advance when the amphibious assault ship "USS Essex", on which F-35 jets are stationed, was ordered into the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, the Marine Corps published impressive video recordings of the "Essex" during take-off and landing of the F-35 variant, which can take off on a very short runway and land vertically and hover in place (F-35B). With this aircraft, the Marines increase their effectiveness and independence enormously, as they are no longer dependent on large, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers - as with the F-18, for example. In addition to the Marines' F-35B, the aircraft with the nickname "Lightning II" was also built in variants for the Air Force (F-35A) and the Navy (F-35C). With this broad spectrum, the jet is intended to replace a number of older types of aircraft.

The mission in Afghanistan is part of a test run under real conditions that is to last at least a year. Because not only were the costs of the jet extraordinarily high, but also the number of problems in its development that have by no means been resolved. As recently as June, the Government Accountability Office had warned that there were 1,000 deficiencies in January, 180 of which could not be resolved before the planned start of mass production.

Should the decision be made to formally end the 17-year development stage next year and switch to the production phase, the lead company Lockheed Martin would have to build at least 77 jets per year over the next 12 years. However, a sprint over this finish line could seriously impair the safety of the pilots and the operational capability of the aircraft, warned the supervisory authority. The shortcomings are not unexpected, as construction of the aircraft was deliberately advanced before all problems were resolved. It was hoped that this would result in greater time savings, which would also be reflected in the costs. The Pentagon has now promised to resolve the problems before full production begins.

The Israelis first

The attack in Afghanistan was the first formally confirmed American operation, but not the first ever. Without giving details, the Israeli Air Force reported in May that it had used two of its F-35 "Adir" for attacks in the Middle East. This sparked speculation at the time that Israel switched to the F-35 after an F-16 was shot down over Syria in February.

Twelve countries had ordered F-35s by June, with the USA far ahead with almost 2500 units. Rising tensions with Turkey call into question a planned delivery of 100 units to this difficult NATO partner. That being said, the F-35 is likely to remain the dominant western-made fighter for the next several decades.