Writing an opinion column in AW&ST last week, senior international defense editor Bill Sweetman, referred to Lockheed Martin’s criticism of a Rand Corp. report that concludes the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program would cost more than the total of three separate fighters. Sweetman says “wobbly numbers” are warping the F-35 debate and “irreversible decisions are close at hand” for Pentagon leaders, resulting in other programs, including F-16 upgrades and the F/A-18 line, being sacrificed to pay the bill.

Lexington Institute analyst Loren Thompson offers another perspective in a Viewpoint that will appear in the Jan. 27 edition of AW&ST. He says the JSF program is “looking unstoppable.” Thompson believes that politicians and pundits do not fully understand the F-35’s price tag and argues that the “F/A-18E and F-35C have nearly identical unit production costs at the same stages in their evolution.” Read his viewpoint here.

And now we ask our readers: What do you think? Please weigh in.