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Squawks & HeadlinesThe Jet That Ate The Pentagon

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The Jet That Ate The Pentagon

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Richly hyperlinked article in Foreign Policy argues that the F35, trying to be multiservice, STOVL, supersonic, multirole AND stealth, and with an inefficient concurrent-with-development acquisition strategy, is chewing up huge amounts of procurement funds and shaping up to be a lackluster aircraft. An F111 for the 21st century? (www.foreignpolicy.com) More...

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99NY
99NY 3
The same thing is happening with the LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) program the Navy is mucking around with. A failing attempt to make one platform capable of performing multiple missions and therefore saving costs and time etc...All you get in the end is a platform which actually can perform a number of missions, but cant do any of them well.
coffee3425
Coffee Colvin 3
We've not lost an F15 or F-16 in air-to-air combat yet. The f-16 is a terrific air to ground attack vehicle. The F-15 is a true successor to the F-4. Remember Ockams Razor: or Keep It Simple Stupid!
erisajd
erisajd 2
Why are we wasting our time and effort trying to build an airplane that is all things to all people?

There is almost NO reason why are fighter needs to be stealth. A true fighter exists to shoot down other airplanes. Period. They'll find out you are there soon enough.

Now, an ATTACK aircraft would need to be stealthy, does not need to be supersonic - it just has to maneuver well and be able to take a hit and keep flying. Think Warthog.

A Bomber can be stealth if it is going to be an all-weather and primarily bomb at night aircraft - since pretty much during the day if you can see it you can kill it. Think B2

Building a stealthy, supersonic attack / fighter / bomber is exactly the same stupid idea that Hitler forced on the Luftwaffe with the Me-262 - an airplane designed as an interceptor is forcably converted to a bomber [i.e., multi-role] which it is not designed to do and therefore does not do the job especially well.

If we want a fighter - build a damn fighter. Fast, manueverable and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and shoot down anything else in the air. We already have the F15C - prob still the best purpose built figher in the world - and we could have simply updated the F14 air frame with new avionics and engines and that would have only millions per air frame.

If we want an attack aircraft - then build one. We can probably make an F-18E/F airframe stealthier than it is with just a little effort - remember - you get 95% of the gains with 5% of the money spent. Attack aircraft are generally support aircraft on a battle field - they KNOW we are there - there is little point to stealthy airframes. If we need to launch stand off attack weapons the stealth is not necessary - its STAND OFF remember?

If we want a recon airplane - then build a purpose built FAST stable air frame - and bring fighters to protect it if you need to on ingress and egress. Bring the Rivet Joints and the other jammers to spoof the trackers in the electronic war environment. Speed is like there - not stealth.

Finally, if we want a bomber, then build more B2's or whatever - you don't need stealthy bombers - bring the fighters for top cover, the attack airplanes to SEAD, and then stand off weps in the attack airplanes if needed.
davysims
David Sims 2
I thought of the F-111 disaster as soon as the JSF program was announced.
klimchuk
Why F35 cost is more than Boeing 777-300ER?
KineticRider
Randy Marco 2
Why the disappointment???

This is just ANOTHER example of what the Industrial Military Complex does best; creating the most obtuse kind of welfare there is..... corporate welfare so the rich get richer, thank you Repugnant's.

The Industrial Military Complex figured out LONG ago if they meted out contracts to contractors in EACH state funding will NEVER be cut and the sheeple (You) will support this absurdity, until we fall just as the Roman Empire did!

Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the U.S. in his closing address as President, in 1961, about the Military Industrial Complex over expanding and becoming too much of a debt burden on the GDP of the United States.

Our Military uses 13% of ALL the world’s oil produced DAILY, the U.S. now accounts for approximately 40% of the WORLDS global arms spending (yet we are only 5% of the World's population) and our Military spending is over 6 times larger than the military budget of China. Bush & the Repugnant's increased the military budget by 50% while in he was in office.

From the article, the F35 OPTIMISTICALLY will ONLY cost $1.5 trillion... more than the annual GDP of Spain!!! Our total defense spending is now greater than the next 14 countries COMBINED, yet we have no industrial enemies, Al Qaeda is down to a scattered force that drones can handle, Bin Laden is dead, yet we keep raising the defense budget.

Sadly for America when it comes to defense, the sheeple have small penis syndrome and believe more is better and the Repugnant's will continue lying, saying the deficit is due to entitlements.

What a deplorable testament to TRUE hero's whose sacrifice WAS a necessity, those of the greatest generation, those that fought WWII.



dtschuck
You speak the truth, but when the military has unlimited access to our checkbook, spending is not a problem, price tag means nothing and too often, we end up with a camel instead of a horse.
shortimer
Vern Schulze 2
While most of us want to see taxes well spent, I'm always amazed that possibly 1/2 billion was spent on the Solyndra Solar Panel project created a huge uproar among the Tea Party members and Republican Congress. Yet when many times more taxpayer money is wasted on Defense projects kike the F-22 & F35 we hear nary a peep from our spineless members of Congress and the tax cutting Tea Party.
billhorton7
billhorton7 1
How long were the F-15 and F-16 in service before they were actually used in war-time combat? When your crystal ball that is so accurate tells you what the next air superiority fighter specs should be, then go tell the Pentagon and they can get it right the first time. If you don't have a solution to the problem then quit complaining about it. Developing weapons systems to meet an unknown future threat is very difficult and, yes, sometimes it costs a lot of money. You can come live in Bahrain where I work if you don't like the way your tax dollars are being spent.
oldpronc
Henry Johnson 1
Colonel John Boyd (USAF, Ret, deceased) would have bellowed "I told you so." His exhaustive studies and thinking reshaped the way we ought to approach hardware procurement, particularly airframes, and warfare in general. But, we continue to ignore those lessons and repeat past missteps, with too few exceptions. Robert Coram's book, "Boyd", is a great read.
bishops90
Brian Bishop 1
Strikingly similar also to a $Trillion stimulus plan that threw a massive sum of money in a zillion different directions, seemingly for the purpose of political payback, that it actually didn't do much stimulating.....
No wonder we think our government is broken.
tenxes
Oops, sorry... Didn't see David Sims' earlier comment. He's correct, of course - the putative do-everything TFX morphed eventually into the the single-role Aardvark.
CurtKrehbiel
Curt Krehbiel 1
If the F35 is that abortion that can take off vertically from an aircraft carrier, my first reaction when seeing it perform was that it was a mistake. Too many compromises were made in its design for it to ever compete with F16s or any other airplane that did not try to be a helicopter as well as a fighter. It might best be described as a money disposal machine designed by Rube Goldberg.
tenxes
Does anyone here remember Robert McNamara's TFX?
Volpe
Andrew Kendra 1
I second Henry's recomendation below about the Col. John Boyd biograph. Fortunately he didn't die flying a defective aircraft. I recall that the bio desribes that after ejecting from an F-100, I think it was the Hun(F-100), he was to be court-martialed for ejecting from a perfectly good airplane. He had to prove, on an aircraft of the AF choosing, a defect in the hydraulics. I'm sure his "I told you so" would have been very colorful, language wise. We need a Boyd like maverick to trick the Pentagon into procuring a F16 like replacement like Boyd claims to have done with the 16.
rfbailey
Robert Bailey 1
....and the Canadian government wants to buy them too?!?
dtschuck
We keep building these super duper expensive fighters with no an opposing threat in the skies, now or any time in the forseeable future.

We can build a $780M fighter to fight a threat that doesn't exist, yet a $10 dynamite vest is our foes most effective weapon---and we have no answer. Our intercontinental bombers, our intecontinental nuclear subs and intercontinental missles, to say nothing of thousands of multi-megaton nuclear weapons, all worthless in the face of a $20 IED.

When are we going to be as smart as our adversaries?
chalet
chalet 1
No but I remember the Gulf of Tonkin lie he erupted to the American people to justify the invasion of Viet Nam. He should be interned in the VT hall of shame and tried even after death
billhorton7
billhorton7 1
You have only mentioned the latest adversary, not the ones these systems are designed to protect us against. Don't forget that the Chinese are still Communists and are developing a larger navy and longer range missiles. I personally don't want to see them do what Japan did 65 years ago and they will do it if we don't stay ahead of them in capabilities.
dtschuck
Developing a weapons system for a future threat is difficult, but developing a weapon system that actually works should not be. York gun, F-22, F111, Osprey....the list is long...and costly. Expensive failure is the default product.
billhorton7
billhorton7 1
I'm not sure the VSTOL version of the F-35 is operational yet. You may be thinking of the Harrier and it has performed quite well for it's designed purpose. Ask the Brits how it did in the Faulklands.
dtschuck
Right! Out multi-billion dollar fighter will really be effective against those long range missiles that will make it half-way to Hawaii. And of course, their awesome airforce....rumor has it they may actually put an ENGINE in their only aircraft carrier.

No doubt the Yellow Threat will be used to extract more money and bigger weapon systems out of Congress, just like they did with the Soviet Bear.

China laughs at us. We pour our money into weapons and they pour their money into highways and plants. The war with China will be economic, and they are whipping our butts because we are wasting our resources on military equipment which is of not value in battling the Chinese.
billhorton7
billhorton7 1
And the list of successful weapons systems is even longer. F-117, B-2, F-15, F-16, F-18, nuclear aircraft carriers, M-1 tank, etc. These were also VERY expensive systems in their day and all very successful in the last two combat situations. Ask the guys who fly and ride in the Osprey if it hasn't improved their combat capability over the helicopters it replaced.
dtschuck
Bin Laden's damage was a misquito bite compared to the damage the military-industrail complex are inflicting on us.
dtschuck
Well, see, spending on social programs and infrastructure is wasted money thrown down a rat hole, but spending on military hardware is an investment in the future, and is always money well spent, even spending $145B on the F22, which is yet to fly a combat mission and puts pilots at threat of hyoxia on every flight, should be considered a great victory...and then there's the F111 bomber at $1B a crack....with no mission.

Every great nation, had a great military....right before its collapse.
onceastudentpilot
tim mitchell 1
three words-long range missiles
chalet
chalet 1
Right on the nails head
dtschuck
And let us not forget about the Osprey....notable for killing more US troops than enemy.
dharmaj
Girnar Lion 0
The headline on this should read "The jet and (LMCO) that ate America". Lockheed Martin and the Industrial Military complex have the republicans in their pocket. Together they are bankrupting America and doing so much damage to this country, it is in a long term decline. Rome is burning!!
Volpe
Andrew Kendra 2
The concept and demonstration contracts for the F22/F35 were first let in November of 1996. Give plenty credit to both parties.
erisajd
erisajd 1
ah, if it was only so simple as to be the Republicrats fault . . . such simplistic analysis gets you and us nowhere