$1 Trillion Projected Price Tag for F-35 Program

Lockheed Martin's F-35Congress is in an uproar over the recent procurement estimate from the Pentagon for the F-35 program.  According to a 50 year forecast created fir the new Pentagon “Selected Acquisition Report”, the new stealth aircraft designed to replace the F-15 and F-18 jet fighters will cost 1 trillion U.S. dollars.  This estimate is only for the expected maintenance and operation costs, it does not include the initial $385 billion to acquire the planes from the manufacturer – Lockheed Martin Corp.
Defenders of the program state that the number is an estimate, and accounts for inflation, rises in fuel costs, and other variables that are difficult to assess on a 50 year scale.  A more useful and relevant number would cover a 5 or 1o year span.
Lockheed Martin claim that the planes are more expensive to operate than their predecessors (by about 33%), but are far more sophisticated.  Operations that previously required several jets, can now be carried out with only 1.  The technological advancements of the fighter will also be far less  visible by enemy radar.  The company also says the number can be significantly reduced as the programs progresses and processes are streamlined.