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The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has weathered numerous delays, controversies, and cost-overuns. The troubled jet, set to be the world's most expensive weapons program, will replace the majority of America's legacy fighters. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the F-35 the "backbone of America's tactical aviation fleet for decades to come."

Read: The F-35 is "a failure waiting to happen"

The F-35 will come in three variants: the F-35A, a conventional take off and landing (CTOL) version, the F-35B, a short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C, a carrier-based (CATOBAR) version.

At nearly $200 million per unit, the F-35 has exceeded all cost estimates.

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