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Pentagon's best-kept secret: F-35A development progressing nicely

Started by quiller, December 05, 2013, 10:27:29 AM

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Forbes writer Loren Thompson beautifully dismantles the propaganda that the F-35 fighter program is financially out of control.

QuoteThe reality is that for the third straight year flight tests are ahead of schedule, the cost to build each plane is falling fast, and international partners are so enthused that new customers are getting in line for the F-35 on a regular basis (South Korea will be next).  So how come you don't know any of this?  The reason you don't know it is that political appointees have decided they can score points with Congress by attacking their own program, and national media always lead with the most sensational information.

For instance, Pentagon officials recently disclosed that the cost of building and operating the F-35 had risen to $1.5 trillion — without mentioning that a third of that total is unprovable estimates of future inflation and two-thirds of supposed increases from the program baseline reflect changes in how costs are calculated rather than real increases.  Officials also didn't mention it would cost two or three times more to stick with the current fleet of fighters, given the cost of maintaining aging aircraft.  Most news accounts just cited the trillion-dollar price-tag, preferring to stick with the "troubled program" theme.  Easy to write, no thinking required.


A related Thompson story of interest beautifully capsulizes the Washington uproar over development costs for any new aircraft, saying $550 million per plane is actually fairly cheap....

Quotethe Air Force's new bomber has to do things no other combat aircraft in the world is currently capable of doing — including posing a threat to adversaries so potent that it can deter World War Three across the spectrum of conflict.

And let's keep in mind that the unit cost of a 787 or 777X is based on an expected production run of over a thousand planes.  The Air Force production objective for the bomber is no more than a hundred planes, due partly to limits imposed by arms control agreements. The service intends to buy the bombers at an "economical" rate, but the potential economies of scale that can be achieved in a production run of a hundred planes are pretty paltry compared with what is possible from a thousand planes.

When you consider all the relevant factors bearing upon the cost of the new bomber, a flyaway cost of $550 million (or a fully loaded cost of $700 million) isn't high at all.  If the bombers can deter nuclear aggression and defeat tomorrow's conventional enemies, then they qualify as a genuine bargain.  Before critics assail the price-tag of the bomber, they ought to take a look at what it costs to buy other aircraft that have far less demanding missions.



I'm surprised Obama hasn't managed to gut the US military as effectively as Carter did.  The fact that Barack Hussein knows absolutely nothing about how to be a Commander-In-Chief may be his only saving grace of his Presidency.
''It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.''

- Justice Robert H. Jackson



Quote from: kopema on December 05, 2013, 11:16:50 AM
I'm surprised Obama hasn't managed to gut the US military as effectively as Carter did.  The fact that Barack Hussein knows absolutely nothing about how to be a Commander-In-Chief may be his only saving grace of his Presidency.

He's got an army of welfare leeches to lead, not people willing to defend and if necessary die for their country.

He can do catastrophic long-term damage by cutting into training money and equipment alone, but in decades-long thinking he can throw a serious wrench into our replacement of aircraft carriers. The Enterprise was still new when I was in, and it like both the Ranger and the Constellation are now gone. Under Obama construction of the Bush is now behind, or so I recall from a casual reading recently at Defense Digest or the like. (Late at night; sorry on lack of detail.)

We have drones and spy satellites and other toys the gee-whiz brain-deads think will defend us better than offshore base of an entire fleet of military diplomacy....

Gee whiz, the Muslim Brotherhood's best friend says, take it out of defense. Let's claim everything costs too much, and deny it from becoming operational years from now, when in fact it's overdue already as it is.