F-35s On Budget Chopping Block

Hungry budget cutters are eyeing some tasty targets at the Pentagon.
Specifically: two of the largest weapons contracts ever awarded by the Pentagon.

The Joint Strike Fighter program is building 2,500 high-tech warplanes and could cost more than $1 trillion. The program would build F-35s, which are the same jets the Navy is considering placing at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock.

The Navy has said it could put as many as eleven F-35 squadrons at Cherry Point, while other squadrons would go to the base in Beaufort, S.C. New squadrons of fighter jets would bring a significant economic impact to any military base and surrounding town.

The Government Accountability Office, in a report Thursday, says costs for the Joint Strike Fighter Program and the Army's Future Combat Systems are likely to balloon because the technology is not fully proven. The Army's vision of high-tech, interconnected battlefield equipment has a $158-billion pricetag.

The military is under pressure to cut costs as the government devotes trillions of dollars toward righting the economy. The Obama
administration has promised a rigorous review of weapons programs
with a view toward making sure their technology is proven before
they go into production.

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