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F-35 Upgrades See Costs Surging by $2 Billion, GAO Says

  • ‘Block 4’ upgrades now seen costing at least $14 billion
  • Current schedule for upgrades is ‘not achievable,’ report says
An F-35B combat aircraft from the United States Marine Corp refuels from an RAF Voyager aircraft over the North Sea.

An F-35B combat aircraft from the United States Marine Corp refuels from an RAF Voyager aircraft over the North Sea.

Photographer: Leon Neal/Getty Images
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A Pentagon project to upgrade the F-35 jet with new capabilities every six months has seen about $2 billion in recent cost growth and continued delays as the result of an unrealistic schedule, according to congressional auditors.

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin Corp. haven’t been able to follow their plan for “Block 4” upgrade work on the next-generation fighter, the Government Accountability Office said Thursday in a new annual report on the almost two-decade, $398 billion program.