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Pentagon Is Seen Short $7.1 Billion on What It Needs to Fly F-35

  • Air Force may cut how many it can buy if shortfall persists
  • Watchdog’s draft report puts new focus on long-term costs
The U.S. is buying 1,763 F-35 fighter jets.
The U.S. is buying 1,763 F-35 fighter jets.Source: U.S. Air Force
Updated on

The U.S. military is confronting a projected $7.1 billion shortfall in the cost of operating its F-35 jets during the years the fighter will be flying at maximum capacity compared with current long-range budget forecasts, according to a draft audit by Congress’s watchdog agency.

The Air Force, Marines and Navy “collectively face annual multibillion-dollar gaps between the projected costs to sustain their respective F-35 fleets” starting in about 2036 and their “stated affordability goals,” Diana Maurer, a Government Accountability Office director, informed two House Armed Services subcommittees Thursday in previewing a draft report.