*
Boldly Going Nowhere
Bret Burquest

Potential for Misplaced Power

Posted Thursday, May 17, 2012, at 4:00 PM
Comments
View 3 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Seeing as how the House has just passed a bigger budget than the Pentagon wanted, this post Bret is exceedingly timely. Case in point, the F-35 JSF.

    Anyone recall John McCain observing, "The facts regarding this program are truly troubling," said McCain. "No program should expect to be continued with that kind of track record, especially in our current fiscal climate." [1]

    Back then he was aghast the original per unit purchase price was a mere $69 million per aircraft. When McCain was doing his wondering the price had jumped to $103 million. But that was back a year ago.

    My what a diference 11 months can make. Now it's $289 million. [2]

    A modest proposal - since the US is gonna have to borrow from the Chinese to pay for the plane anyway - why don't we just buy from either them or the Russians. Their 5th Gen variants are far cheaper and, given the problems we're seeing with our F-22 arguably higher quality. Of course we can't know 'cause our F-35s aren't gonna get operational for another decade at the soonest.

    "But, but, but," we collectively sputter, "What about all the bucks we've already spent?" (True, we've got six airplanes delivered since the below link was posted - but it is illustrative.) Today is May 18, 2012, jump back exactly one year and posit, "What does the US have to show for the investment of $54.3 BILLION?" One year ago $54.3B paid for a grand total of 12 (twelve) aircraft:

    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2011/05/family-poster-of-f-35-flig...

    Six more than 12 implies last year's cost of $54.3B is now very likely at least $76B. I do wonder if Lockheed's employees got any pay increases in the interim?

    "Keep in mind HDucker, this is more than just about measly money - this is about JOBS!" How many jobs I'd ask? Something in the neighborhood of 127K maybe?

    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2011/08/scrutinising-lockheeds-cla...

    And lest we forget, there's more than a few men and women we've sent over to fight our wars - how is the House figuring on budgeting for them?

    http://formerspook.blogspot.com/search?q=Tri-Care

    Glad you've mentioned Eisenhower - another quote maybe?

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

    Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    [1] http://www.informationdissemination.net/2011/05/lockheed-martin-takes-broadside-...

    [2]

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/26/the_jet_that_ate_the_pentagon

    Okay. Off my soapbox.

    -- Posted by HDucker on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 8:42 PM
  • Apologies Bret, ordinarily I wouldn't take over your post like this but I just got a call (phone) asking some "But, but, but, what ifs?"

    The caller took exception to the above comment so I'll respond on this same post.

    There was the question of "What to do about the likely threat aircraft?"

    Those would be China's J-20 and Russia's PAK-FA (otherwise known as the T-50). My answer would be simple, straightforward and cheap. "Cheap" in the sense there're existing weapons platforms.

    SSBNs and TLAM Tomahawks. Submarine launched land attack cruise missiles in other words. In the very unlikely event either nation attacks the US - since both the J-20 and the T-50 require longish runways. Crater the runways, no runway - no airborne planes.

    Using a submarine, shoot from a standoff position. Subs are notoriously hard to spot, runways on the other hand - heck, just use Google Earth satellites. For example:

    http://geimint.blogspot.com/2008/06/soviet-russian-space-surveillance.html

    What! "Not aware of any problems with the F-22. And just what's the problem with the F-35?!!"

    Raptors have been all over the news lately. Something to do with the pilots suffering from hypoxia and refusing to fly. As for the F-35, "loiter time" is something that's very useful for ground support. Supersonic capable aircraft aren't very well known to have long loiter times. Two minutes is the Pentagon's own estimate. I think I'd rather have an A-10 protecting ground forces. Some few differ but even those arguing acknowledge the Warthog's surviviability:

    http://aviationintel.com/2012/05/17/thank-goodness-the-usaf-will-not-replace-the...

    I'd prefer no more phonecalls - if you wish to argue, let's do it here. Pretty please?

    -- Posted by HDucker on Sat, May 19, 2012, at 10:42 AM
  • Well yes - you're correct. The images I posted have noting to do with the sites in Iran.

    So I made a call myself. TLAMs should be sufficient given what's available in today's (May 21st) post.

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/05/iran-nuclear-sites/

    -- Posted by HDucker on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 5:51 AM
Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration: