J.mo ... errr... have you heard of the European Fighter Aircraft ... sorry, EFA ... sorry, Eurofighter ... sorry, EF2000 ... sorry, Typhoon (but only for export (!) version). The last a/c programme (as far as I'm aware) that was built To Spec, To Cost and To Schedule was the SR-71.
Half of the problem is the fact that we are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in an operational environment. Half of it is The Customer asking half way through the programme, "By the way, can we have it in pink? Oh, but that's stealthy pink that can't be picked up on camera..."
Now add some European politics ... "Ich mochte ... Io vorrei ... I would like..." and the whole lot becomes a mess.
Just for some really good measure, add in Mr (not wishing to be sexist) Time. The average a/c programme takes about 20 years from conception to service entry. How far have we come since 1982? The RAF (supported by RN) performed the first public (...) combat toss attack. Now we're into JDAM, JSOW, various missiles, a/c that can't be seen on radar (tee hee hee) etc., despite the fact that they were designed by these same people.
The fact is that we want our ladies and gentlemen in light blue to have the best kit that is available. Even if that means unfortunate circumstances in the mean time.
It's like the computer industry. We can have the best computer tomorrow, and the best software tomorrow, but if we want both that will work together, it will be the day after tomorrow and will cost three times as much. But we are in the business of killing people and not getting killed ourselves, so we want to make sure...
The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...