More on the F-22, the F-35, and big expensive airplanes

The Atlantic has been your one-stop site for all aspects of the "F-22 question" -- the decision on whether to buy more copies of the Air Force's latest fighter plane. Mark Bowden's article in the magazine here; various perspective from me here, here, and here;  SecDef Robert Gates's rationale in calling off purchases discussed here and here.

Apart from the F-22, the other fighter in gestation over the past decade has been the "Joint Strike Fighter," known as the F-35, shown here in vertical take-off mode for use by the Marine Corps. (Photo via Discovery channel). It is also designed to take off and land "normally," from a runway, for the Air Force version, and a from an aircraft carrier deck for the Navy's.


The case for this airplane (discussed at length in this article back in 2002) was that it would avoid the cost and complexity problems that plagued the F-22. The case against it, as presented in a recent document by the legendary military analyst and designer Pierre Sprey and Winslow Wheeler of America's Defense Meltdown, is that it too has turned into an example of those very same disorders. Their article about the two airplanes, "What 'Sweeping Reforms' in DOD?", takes a skeptical view of Sec. Gates's current procurement reforms and is available here. Worth reading not just about these aircraft but for the overall approach to defense spending.