Take Two for December 12, 2012

Will budget cuts threaten the future of the pricey F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet?

Test Flight

U.S. Navy/Getty Images

In this image released by the U.S. Navy courtesy of Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight February 11, 2011 over the Chesapeake Bay. Lt. Cmdr.

As the country edges closer to the fiscal cliff, the pentagon is facing some particularly deep cuts. But there's one program that not only seems invulnerable to cuts; Its costs actually keep ballooning.

We're talking about America's newest jet fighter, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Here in California, building the plane involves 300 manufacturers and tens of thousands of jobs. To build and maintain the aircraft, the government estimates it will have to spend over $1 trillion, making it the most expensive weapons program ever.

To put it in perspective, $1 trillion dollars is roughly the size of the Australian gross domestic product.

Winslow Wheeler, director at the Project on Government Oversight in Washington DC, is here to explain.


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