Deficit, meh. $17 trillion full steam ahead.
Offscreen, the F-35 is in about as much trouble as a superhero in the third act of an action movie. The advanced stealth fighter — intended to be the backbone of the Air Force, Navy and Marines’ future combat air fleets — is estimated to cost as much as $1.5 trillion over its half-century lifespan. It’s several years late and several hundred million dollars over budget. Its software is complicated, its engineering flaws are numerous, and the Pentagon no longer predicts when it will enter service.
The Navy appears to be hedging its bets against the program ultimately collapsing under the weight of its costs — and inside the Pentagon, there’s concern over whether the F-35 remains, as Sen. Claire McCaskill once called it, “too big to fail.”
So it’s understandable that the Pentagon would consider a Superman movie to be the right cinematic vehicle for the F-35′s introduction to the culture. (Well, except for the web videos.) Although the way Strub tells it, the arrival of the F-35 in Man of Steel was little more than a happy accident for the Pentagon. There is no footage as of yet of the planes in flight, just shots of it on the ground at Edwards. And it appears not to have a role in helping vanquish Kryptonian villain General Zod, the film’s antagonist.