A tacit admission by the US Air Force that the F-35 has failed its main mission has triggered an outpouring of outrage from Americans who think the stealth fighter’s gargantuan budget could have been better spent on other things.

Frustration with Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation stealth jet flooded Twitter on Wednesday, after Forbes magazine published a story about how USAF commissioning a study into a new, cheaper and lighter fighter amounts to “a tacit admission that the F-35 has failed.”

“We could have used this cash to cancel student loans for every person in America,” lamented the liberal watchdog Public Citizen, pointing to the F-35 program’s estimated $1.7 trillion lifetime cost.

For that kind of money, “we could have completely replaced America’s water infrastructure,” said environmentalist advocate Erin Brockovich.

“That’s enough to house all homeless people in the United States 28 times over,”tweeted Robert Reich, Labor secretary in the Clinton administration.

Democrat activist Charlotte Clymer used the F-35 issue to argue that President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus “relief package” would be money better spent.

Others, like Daily Beast reporter Spencer Ackerman, joked that the plane isn’t really a failure since “It very successfully transfers hundreds of billions of dollars of your money to defense contractors.”

Congress approved the purchase of 93 of the fighters, at $100 million or so on average, in the 2021 Pentagon funding bill.

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Wednesday’s outrage was triggered by the Forbes story published the evening before. Author David Axe referred to an article from Air Force Magazine from last week that had gone largely unnoticed until now. It announced a tactical aviation study ordered by USAF Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown Jr, looking for a “clean sheet design” of something he called a “fourth-and-a half/fifth-gen minus” aircraft.

Brown compared the F-35 to a “high end” sports car, a Ferrari one drives on Sundays only. The plane’s engines are apparently “failing a little faster in certain areas” due to heavy use, so he wants to “moderate how much we’re using those aircraft.” (RT)