… BUT SOUTH CAROLINA DOES
A website in Vermont is rallying public opinion against the F-35 – the United States’ boondoggle next-generation fighter plane. Well … it’s rallying public opinion against these planes being stationed up in Maple Syrup Country (a.k.a Burlington Air Guard Station), where there appears to be considerable public outrage over these jets.
“The F-35 is loud and polluting, a waste of money, an instrument of war and will not create jobs in Vermont,” the website StopTheF35.com states. “We demand that our representatives work to stop the F-35 from being stationed at the Burlington Airport.”
Could Vermont’s loss be South Carolina’s gain? In December 2010, the Department of Defense announced that nearly 90 of these next generation fighters would be stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Beaufort, S.C. - over the objection of former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford (whose family owns a nearby plantation).
Sanford said the Defense Department should have done a better job assessing the impact of the plane’s noise – which can reach as high as 105 decibals when landing (that’s twice as loud as an F-15).
The Air Force is now debating where to put its F-35s, and Shaw Air Force Base (in Sumter, S.C.) and McEntire Air National Guard Station (in Eastover, S.C.) are both in the running for the jets along with bases in Florida, Idaho, Utah and the aforementioned Vermont.
The F-35 program is a decade behind schedule and more than $160 billion over budget. In 2001, the Pentagon’s plan was to build 2,866 jets at a cost of $233 billion. Today, the plan calls for fewer than 2,500 jets at a cost of $400 billion. In other words, the cost per aircraft has more than doubled – and that’s without adjusting for inflation.
“This is what happens when the Pentagon gets virtually unlimited sums to build the world’s most amazing toys,” writes U.S. News and World Report chief business correspondent Rick Newman. “The Russians and Chinese must be happy to let us go broke building Cold War-style monstrosities, while they bone up on cyberwar and become experts at economic espionage.”