Estimated cost of fighter jet trouble lawmakers

May 19, 2011 - 1:00 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Pentagon official is calling the estimated costs of the next generation fighter jet "unbelievable." He says they have to be reined in or else the military can't purchase more than 2,400 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Ashton Carter, who oversees acquisition, told a Senate panel on Thursday that the Pentagon is working to ensure the program is affordable. Ten years into the program, the cost has jumped from $233 billion to $385 billion. The entire program over 50 years could exceed $1 trillion. The Joint Strike Fighter is the Pentagon's largest acquisition program.

Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee said the costs were unsustainable, especially in the current budget-cutting climate and with other demands on military dollars.