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Report: F-35 struggling to maintain combat readiness

Congressional Budget Office says two of three F-35 variants recorded lower availability rates in 2022 than the year before.

NORFOLK, Va. — More bad news for the military's F-35 Joint Strike fighter.

In a new report, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the F-35 fleet is struggling to keep up its combat readiness and it said the aircraft did worse last year than the year before.

The CBO said that the "A" and "B" variants of the F-35 saw a reduction in their "availability rates" by 11% and 7%.

Only the Navy's "C" variant improved by 5%.

"All three F-35 variants have experienced generally declining availability and use with age," the report stated. "However, all three fleets are composed of mostly new aircraft, so estimates of the effects of aging on F-35s are tentative and are subject to change as those aircraft mature."

 At $1.7 trillion over the course of its lifetime, the F-35 has been called the most expensive weapons system in U.S. military history.

Then-House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington) in 2021 called the F-35 program "a rathole."

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