Each F-35 burns 22 gallons a minute
The F-35 is a climate killer
Each F-35 burns 22 gallons of jet fuel per minute, 1,340 gallons an hour. Altogether, the F-35A training flights from the runway in South Burlington Vermont burn between 4.7 and 9.4 million gallons of jet fuel and emit between 100 million and 200 million pounds of CO2 per year. That is the equivalent of the annual emissions of 10,000 to 20,000 passenger cars. Scroll down to the footnote to see details of the calculation.1
The Pentagon admits that global warming is a national security threat. Yet, the US military is the single largest user of fossil fuels on the planet, as described in the Brown University, Watson Institute study, “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War.” The study reports that the US military is also the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and that the Department of Defense burns 80% of all US government energy consumption. It also reports that jet fuel—the fuel used by the F-35—is, by far, the single largest category of energy consumed by the US government and by the Defense Department.
The US House recently authorized spending $768 billion in 2022 for more wars. Including 85 more F-35 jets. The $1.4 trillion F-35 program is the poster child of that deeply flawed pro-war policy.
As described in the Watson Institute report, “Job Opportunity Cost of War,”
By spending money on the military and homeland security, we lose the opportunity to spend those funds on other things like education, healthcare, infrastructure, or clean energy. By forfeiting those opportunities, we lose the chance to fund programs that create even more jobs than military spending.
Since 2001, because the federal government has spent trillions of dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan, we have lost opportunities to create millions of jobs in the domestic economy, and we have lost opportunities to improve educational, health, and environmental outcomes for the American public. . . While defense spending is indeed a source of job creation, these other areas create many more jobs for any given level of spending. Education and healthcare create more than twice as many jobs as defense for the same level of spending, while clean energy and infrastructure create over 40 percent more jobs. In fact, over the past 16 years, by spending money on war rather than in these other areas of the domestic economy, the US lost the opportunity to create between one million and three million additional jobs.
This means that, when considered against spending the money on efficiency, renewables, health care, education, and infrastructure, instead spending it on the F-35 is causing a loss in jobs. While massively accelerating climate change.
Nor can the F-35 protect Vermont from a warming climate, mega storms, pandemics, racism, job loss, cyber-attacks, nuclear missiles, terrorism, food insecurity, or income inequality.
The F-35 cannot protect people or planet from sea level rise, famine, mass extinctions, ocean acidification, wildfires, temperature extremes, diminished access to fresh water, and deforestation.
The F-35 cannot prevent mass migration and wars caused by climate change.
The F-35 does not abolish the fossil fuel industry. Instead, the F-35 actively promotes expansion of the fossil fuel industry: The F-35 is a climate killer.
Nor can the F-35 protect black, brown, indigenous, women, LGBTQ, immigrants, refugees, or veterans.
The F-35 program drains $1.4 trillion from health care, education, affordable housing, infrastructure, and preventing more global pandemics. As military spending creates far fewer jobs per billion dollars spent than money spent on any of those things, the F-35 is a jobs killer.
The F-35 does not take on the billionaire class.
The F-35 does not raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour or facilitate organizing workers into unions.
The F-35 does not take on white nationalists.
The F-35 does not drive money out of politics.
The F-35 does not abolish voter suppression.
The F-35 does not abolish tuition and student debt.
When used for training from a runway in cities, as in Vermont, the extreme 115-decibel noise of the F-35 is a non-lethal weapon of mass destruction: damaging hearing, impairing learning and cognitive development, damaging hearts and causing strokes, and making 2,963 affordable Vermont homes uninhabitable.
The F-35 benefits a fraction of the 1% in Vermont. The ones who sell jet fuel and seek to develop the now-vacant 40 acres adjacent the airport where 200 affordable homes once stood, but were demolished because of the extreme noise of the military jets.
The F-35 upended Vermont town meeting democracy, a government accountable to the people, and the rule of law. It is corruption on steroids.
Fortunately, Vermont has the power to halt the F-35 training. No authorization from Washington is needed: The US constitution reserves to the states the authority of training their state national guard units.
The F-35 can be stopped. If an aroused public forced Vermont political and military leaders to use that constitutional authority to halt F-35 training flights, the state would significantly decrease its own greenhouse gas emissions and set an example for other states. Vermont would lead the way to reducing the largest US government driver of climate catastrophe: the military. And the state would do its part to prevent the future wars.
Here is the calculation about F-35 fuel use in Vermont
This calculation is based on two Lockheed-Martin-supplied numbers: the F-35 internal fuel capacity and the F-35 range. It also assumes a modest F-35 speed, straight and level flight, no afterburner use, and no combat training maneuvers that use lots more fuel. Thus, the calculated gallons burned and CO2 emitted are both lower limits. The actual F-35 training flights, that include supersonic flight, afterburner use, high g’s, takeoffs and landings, and combat maneuvers, will use way more fuel than the 22.3 gallons a minute calculated here.
Best case mileage in straight and level flight: 1,380 miles/2,720 gallons = 0.51 miles per gallon.
Flying at 680 mph (.9 Mach) in straight and level flight, each F-35 burns 2,720 gallons / 1,380 miles x 680 miles per hour = 1,340 gallons/hour
1,340 gallons/hr / 60 minutes/hour = 22.3 gallons of jet fuel a minute.
Each F-35 Emits: 1,340 gallons/hour x 21 lbs of CO2/gallon = 28,140 lbs of CO2 per hour.
The VTANG says it takes off 8 to 16 times a day 4 days a week plus 1 weekend a month, which adds up to 1760 to 3520 F-35 takeoffs a year.
1760 flights x 2 hours/flight x 1,340 gallons/hour = 4.72 million gallons.
3529 flights x 2 hours/flight x 1,340 gallons/hour = 9.43 million gallons.
1760 flights x 2 hours/flight x 28,140 lbs of CO2/flight hour = 99.1 million pounds of CO2.
3529 flights x 2 hours/flight x 28,140 lbs of CO2/flight hour = 198.1 million pounds of CO2.
The EPA says “A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons [2,200 lbs] of carbon dioxide per year.”
4.6 metric tons of CO2 per car x 2,200 lbs/metric ton = 10,120 lbs of CO2 per car.
99.1 million lbs of CO2 / 10,120 lbs per car = the equivalent of the annual CO2 emission of 9,881 cars.
198.1 million lbs of CO2 / 10,120 lbs per car = the equivalent of the annual CO2 emission of 19,762 cars.
Thus, the Burlington F-35 program is equivalent to the annual CO2 emission of 9,881 to 19,762 cars.
Write or call your public servants:
Governor Phil Scott 802-828-3333 Chief of Staff <Jason.Gibbs@vermont.gov>
Vermont National Guard's Complaint Line: 802-660-5379 (Note: the Vermont Guard told a reporter that it received over 1400 noise complaints. But the Guard won’t release what people said).
Add your own report & complaint to the new online F-35 Fall 2021-Winter 2022 Report & Complaint Form: https://tinyurl.com/5d89ckj9
See all the graphs and in-your-own words statements on the recently-completed F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report & Complaint Form (513 responses): https://tinyurl.com/3svacfvx.
See links to the graphs and in-your-own words statements on all four versions of the F-35 Report & Complaint Form since Spring 2020, with a total of 1670 responses from 658 different people.
Senator Patrick Leahy 800-642-3193 Chief of Staff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Senator Bernie Sanders 800-339-9834 <Senator@sanders.senate.gov>
Congressman Peter Welch 888-605-7270 Chief of Staff <email@example.com>
Burlington City Council <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger <email@example.com>
Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott <firstname.lastname@example.org>
S. Burlington City Council Chair Helen Riehle <email@example.com>
Williston Selectboard Chair Terry Macaig <firstname.lastname@example.org>
VT Senate President Becca Balint <email@example.com>
VT House Speaker Jill Krowinski <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Attorney General TJ Donavan <DonovanTJ@gmail.com>
States Attorney Sarah George <Sarah.email@example.com>
Vermont’s Federal Prosecutor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Adjutant General Brig Gen Gregory C Knight <email@example.com>
Major J Scott Detweiler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wing Commander Col David Shevchik email@example.com
Vermont National Guard Inspector General Lt. Col. Edward J Soychak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
US Air Force Inspector General Lt. Col. Pamela D. Koppelmann <email@example.com>
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall <Frank.Kendall@us.af.mil>