The PJ Tatler

McCain Questions 'Cronyism' Regarding A-10 Replacement F-35

He’s awake!

Republican Senator John McCain on Monday said he was concerned by recent revelations of U.S. government-industry “cronyism” in developing Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet, and said the $398.6 billion program still had “major problems.”

McCain, a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he had long been troubled by the Pentagon’s payment of 85-percent or higher award fees to Lockheed on the F-35 program despite cost increases and schedule delays, adding the background to those decisions was “disturbing.”

Former Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last month said the Pentagon’s F-35 program manager told him he had kept the fees high because he liked the Lockheed executive in charge, and the company official had said he would be fired if the fees fell below 85 percent.

The schedule delayed, high cost jet is one of the planes replacing ground troops’ favorite, the A-10.

Ironically, one of the main selling points for the new jet is efficiency and cost. OK, that’s not really ironic when the federal bureaucracy is involved, it’s pretty much business as usual.

There is an outside chance McCain is finally coming to the defense of his constituents, many of whom have claimed he’s been absent on this backyard issue. The A-10s are the primary reason Davis-Monthan AFB is still in business in my hometown and there is a lot of worry that their demise could spell doom for the base.