A winner had been picked to design and build the Joint Strike Fighter.
The American people were assured the new jet would enter service in 2008 and be a high-performance replacement for the military's aging airframes while only costing between $40 million and $50 million.
The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages and cost overruns. And it's still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted "flyoff" planes that were crude and undeveloped "technology demonstrators" rather than following the better practice of submitting fully functional prototypes, to concurrent acquisition malpractice that has prevented design flaws from being discovered until after production models were built—have led to where we are now.