When you consider the cost of the F-35, as well as the tactics that could be used to defeat the weapon, it starts to look like this might be a bad idea:
In this day and age, drones are much cheaper to deal with. They require less thorough engineering, less safety testing, and less built-in safety measures. They also require less maintenance due their simplified design. These all translates to drastically reduced unit cost
and upkeep. That reduced unit cost/upkeep means you can afford more of them. So, in a
thought-game, lets consider a scenario for how you could defeat an F-35:
You have a sortie of 3 F-35's, teamed up with a couple F-22's, and maybe a mix of last gen fighters.
All in all, you have 10 planes moving to assault a target or control an airspace, inside a zone threatened by China. Now China doesn't have the fancy F-35 on it's side, but they do have excellent radar systems, both mobile-ground and fighter-craft based. They also haven't spent 92 billion on only 38 F-35's, so they have pocket change to spare. They use their funds to buy thousands of fighter drones, especially of the stealthy variety. They are relatively cheap, and can be far more maneuverable when they are engaged in combat (no physical stress for the pilot means drastically increased turning capability) so they are actually an effective weapon.
Our sortie enters the disputed airspace. They arrive, finding themselves outnumbered by drones, 10 to 1. These drones each carry 4 air-air missiles. That's 40 missiles attacking each plane, to the 10 missiles carried by each F-35. The F-22's are carrying 16 air-air missiles. That's still half what they face. You also have to consider that the effectiveness of missiles
can be spotty. The US planes have a significant disadvantage in jockeying for space in order to deploy their weapons from the optimal position (up the other guys tail-pipe, and hopefully out of his line of fire), because they are so heavily outnumbered. Even if the American sortie manages to destroy half the fleet, they are now out of ammunition. Drones feast easy that night.
Drone-swarms are cheaper, can be more maneuverable, and can easily outnumber and out-gun their manned counterparts. They may not have an operator in the middle of the fight who can react in unique ways only a human can, but then again, as a swarm they don't necessarily need to: they have 10 other drones watching their back.
I recently had someone point out that the F-35 did push a technological envelope, as well as provide jobs. However, both points could still easily be applied to the design and manufacture of drones. Not only would our country have a cheaper, safer weapon for self-defense, but we'd also have lot's of spare cash to invest in other technology...Like clean renewable energy...So we don't need to wreck other countries for their oil...Thereby creating far more terrorists than existed before.
The F-35 fighter jet was created to combat the War on Terror. I have a source at the Department of Homeland Security that gets me this information directly. Yes, I admit it was a failure, but it wasn't a "planned" failure, so to speak.
The F-35 fighter jet was designed before UAV's (un-manned aerial vehicles) were in full production to combat terrorists and carry out surveillance missions.
The federal government might be doing dubious things behind our backs, especially with Richard Nixon's "Watergate" scandal, but a scandal on this level, the Obama Administration would take such a risk with news of it getting out in the media. It would ruin the administration.