It Will be a Beautiful Day When the Sequester Actually Reduces Military Spending and the F-35 Fighter Finally Gets Mothballed

With the possible exception of Lord Obama, nobody seems much interested in the economy these days, or government spending, or jobs (and let's be honest, Obama has been ignoring all of these since before he took office).

But for stimulatarians - you know, those folks who believe that federal spending is all good all the time - here's some good news: It looks like the Pentagon - the entity comprising nearly half of all military spending on the planet - is gonna buy itself some more F-35 fighter jets. The Strike Fighter is already overdue and over-budget, but hell, shopping therapy is what it is.

From Christian Science Monitor:

The total number of jets involved is 71, with 36 planes to be purchased in the sixth production lot, and 35 in the seventh, said Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Pentagon's F-35 office. He said that number includes 60 F-35s for the U.S. military, and 11 for Australia, Italy, Turkey and Britain....

"You can feel the momentum accelerating throughout the program," [Lockheed's CEO] said, adding that Lockheed delivered 12 jets in the second quarter and expected to deliver 36 in the full year.

For the Pentagon, the sequester means never having to say you're out of money. Well, maybe for stuff like flying at air shows and setting off Fourth of July fireworks at bases. But when it comes to busting the budget in pursuit of bazillion-dollar boondoggles that may not ever fly a combat mission? All systems are go.

From earlier this year via Fiscal Times:

The Pentagon ordered nearly 2,500 [F-35] planes for $382 billion, or fifty percent more than the original cost.

As the price soared, the Pentagon in 2010 deemed the program “too big to fail.” Yet it continues to fall short. Recent engine troubles are just the latest in a series of mechanical failures. A pilot was killed when oxygen to the cabin was cut off. The aircraft are running too hot, limiting their ability to operate in warm environments.

The original delivery date was supposed to be 2010. Then it was delayed until 2012. Now, it’s not expected to be in service until 2019....

"If the F-35 order is filled, DOD will have 15 times as many planes as China."

Now more than ever: "3 Reasons Conservatives Should Cut Defense Spending Now!"

 

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  • Tim||

    The F-35 was built to beat the Soviet Union in WWIII. Now we drop bombs on illiterates living in caves in Afghanistan. We could do that with Sopwith Camels.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    But could we do it with Fokker Dr1s? That would be cool.

  • Brett L||

    Slightly more seriously, we could spool up a couple of A-10 lines and probably turn them out for under $1M. But then the Air Force would have to admit that its real job is supporting the Army, and they'd rather stick their dicks in an operating turbofan.

  • WTF||

    "If the F-35 order is filled, DOD will have 15 times as many planes as China."

    But, how many does the rest of the world have? We can't afford a plane gap!!

  • Pro Libertate||

    As usual, Obama gets it wrong. "Dad is great, he gave us the chocolate cake!" Not vanilla ice cream.

  • SugarFree||

    Dammit, Nick! Don't know there's a whole world of imaginary enemies to fight?!? And they all have super-planes built by their evil geniuses! What about Cobra, Nick? Do you want Joe out their fighting them with just a Cessna?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Just this morning, I was reading a Popular Mechanics article (right after an article about robot lawnmowers) that was talking about getting the Marines prepared for a war against advanced militaries. Not in anticipation of any specific conflict, but to ensure that the Marines' tradition of rapid, unexpected deployment without fixed base support isn't eroded by all of this counterinsurgency activity over the last decade.

    In theory, I suppose I agree with that sort of preparedness, but it's a little disturbing, too. And, of course, it's very expensive.

  • John||

    Why is it disturbing for the military to be preparing to fight the most advanced foe it could? Better to be prepared for the most challenging adversary than risk being unprepared?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Why is it disturbing for the military to be preparing to fight the most advanced foe it could?

    Because the military is complicit in trying to convince the American people that we need to keep fighting illiterates in shithole mud huts in the middle of Afghanistan because we can't seem to beat them.

    If we need to battle cave dwellers who use little more than duct taped AK 47s for over a decade, how the fuck do we think we can beat an advanced fighting force?

  • John||

    If we need to battle cave dwellers who use little more than duct taped AK 47s for over a decade, how the fuck do we think we can beat an advanced fighting force?

    Because those are two different functions? And also we have killed those cave dwellers by the tens of thousands. If that is what winning looks like, I would rather lose. Moreover, we could defeat all of them tomorrow if we were willing to be ruthless enough about it. But I don't think the Jacket would like that either.

    In the end, the only position that will satisfy people like Nick and a few of his followers is having no national defense whatsoever.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Moreover, we could defeat all of them tomorrow if we were willing to be ruthless enough about it.

    I'm not sure this is true. No one in the history of ever has taken and held Afghanistan, and I'm pretty sure that the Soviets didn't have the same insane ROE that we have. Another reason for that is there isn't the will because there isn't the moral necessity because they don't represent a legitimate enough threat to us (it's no longer a legitimate war).

    We seem to be passed the point in humanity where military might wins wars. The military wins battles, not wars, and as the Afghanis are very competently showing the world, a side can lose every single battle yet win the overall engagement. They don't have to win. They just have to continue being bothersome to not lose.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I suppose it depends on what you're trying to win. The U.S. has won in several senses in Afghanistan, but the problem is one the British, the Russians (twice), and we have faced--they resist on a fundamental level any centralization. They're a bunch of groups with factional loyalty that transcends any concept of national unity. Trying to defeat that rather than rolling with it is a fallacy.

    Of course, I never thought we should've done more than topple the Taliban in the first place. And threaten to come back if they acquired power again.

  • Rasilio||

    "I'm not sure this is true. No one in the history of ever has taken and held Afghanistan, and I'm pretty sure that the Soviets didn't have the same insane ROE that we have. "

    That bolded word right there is the problem. He said ruthless enough, attempting to keep control of the country as it is built into a modern state is not being ruthless.

    You want to beat terrorists for good? Go into afghanistan and kill every single male between the ages of 15 and 50, Dump toxic waste in every arable field, then leave.

    Sure there would be a few terrorists running around hiding in caves trying to eke out a living off the poisoned land but yo will have sent a message to the rest of the world that messing with the US is just not worth the effort.

    Now this would not be a good thing to do, it would be as evil as hell but the history of the Roman Empire shows that it is in fact quite effective.

  • AlexInCT||

    "You want to beat terrorists for good? Go into afghanistan and kill every single male between the ages of 15 and 50, Dump toxic waste in every arable field, then leave."

    Say what you will, but modern warefare has been pussified.If all wars were faught the way that the Romans did in Cartage, I think war would be far less frequent. There is less incentive to fight when you only get one chance to do it and if you fail you are gone.

  • RightNut||

    No one in the history of ever has taken and held Afghanistan

    That's an oft repeated fact that happens to not be true. The Persians, Mongols, and Mughals conquered and held Afghanistan for rather long periods of time. And although its true that Alexander the Great was defeated in Afghanistan, him and his successors did control much of the country. Fun fact, Kandahar may have originally been named after Alexander.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Actually, prior to American intervention, the USSR basically had Aghanistan in a death-lock. And before them, the British took it. Before them, Alexander The Great. Everywhere is totally conquerable. And America has only been doing not so well because of the ridiculous ROEs that tie soldiers hands behind their backs and the WoD being extended to Afghanistan so the Taliban have another revenue source.

  • sarcasmic||

    In the end, the only position that will satisfy people like Nick and a few of his followers is having no national defense whatsoever.

    That's the equivalent of saying that limited government equals no government at all, Red Tony.

    Not wanting to slaughter foreigners on their own soil for the crime of fighting what they believe to be an illegitimate occupying force is not the same as advocating for no military to defend the homeland, Red Tony.

    Derp dee derpity doo!

  • Cytotoxic||

    But basing your policy of engagement on the asinine beliefs of camel-fucking savages just as retarded.

  • Metazoan||

    If we need to battle cave dwellers who use little more than duct taped AK 47s for over a decade, how the fuck do we think we can beat an advanced fighting force?

    Because I think the challenges for a large, organized military in fighting scattered rebels in rugged highland terrain can actually be greater than fighting another state's military.

  • Metazoan||

    And what John said.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes and no. We lose a whole lot more men and equipment in a real war, don't forget.

  • ||

    Um...

    The military is sick to death of fighting useless wars.

  • sarcasmic||

    If we need to battle cave dwellers who use little more than duct taped AK 47s for over a decade, how the fuck do we think we can beat an advanced fighting force?

    An advanced fighting force would have political leadership that could tell its uniformed soldiers to stop fighting.

    These cave dwellers have no central authority, so there is no possible way to get them to stop fighting except by leaving their land.

  • Cytotoxic||

    there is no possible way to get them to stop fighting except by leaving their land.

    Or you can just kill them all.

  • AlexInCT||

    there are alternatives. You can kill them all. Dead men do no fighting..

  • Pro Libertate||

    I did say I agree with the preparedness, didn't I? I do. But a war against a foe capable of any real resistance is disturbing, as most of those are nuclear powers and most could easily involve other countries getting into the conflict.

    We should be ready for real war, since that's a fact of human history, but I hope to heck we can avoid one.

  • Drake||

    How long does it take for you to shit that you read two complete PM articles?

  • SugarFree||

    The members of his race are celebrated poopers.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Busted.

  • RightOnDefense||

    Our G.I. Joe's can take on Cobra with the F-16 just fine, thank you

  • John||

    I would love to see a good objective description of the issues relating to the F35. There isn't a single defense program of any kind in the history of the world that Reason would not support cutting or better yet eliminating. So, I don't take anything they say about the subject at face value. At the same time, there isn't a single program in the history of the world the Pentagon doesn't think is great and in need of more money. So it is real hard to get to the objective truth on the issue.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    True enough. They could cost half as much and work twice as well, and Nick would still write basically the same article.

  • PapayaSF||

    Very true. From what I can tell the plane is controversial even within the pro-defense community. But note that many successful planes went over budget at first and had teething troubles and crashes. The B-17 is just one example.

    My sense is that I don't begrudge the Air Force etc. a new fighter, but it might be the last one they get, before drones replace everything. National defense is one of the core responsibilities of government, and I don't mind having a military a lot better than other countries.

  • albo||

    I agree. The best way to kill your enemy with the fewest losses on your side is with overwhelming force.

    And who can predict the future? Maybe Russia or China lose their shit and once again become existential threats. Or Indonesia goes rogue? Or India and Pakistan exchange nukes and the whole of Asia erupts?

  • John||

    Yeah. Just because it is over budget and they haven't perfected it, doesn't mean it isn't worth having. And people have no idea how spoiled we are fighting with not just air superiority but air supremacy. We don't want any part of a war where we don't own the air. And we can't keep the same generation of fighters forever. We will need a new one at some point.

    That said, maybe this thing is a disaster. If it is, I would like to know why and it isn't just because it is expensive and hard to build.

  • DJF||

    You left out does not work. The plane has yet to fire an actual gun or missile even though they are building dozens of what they call production models
    .

  • John||

    You left out does not work. The plane has yet to fire an actual gun or missile

    Does not work is not the same as "cannot work".

  • DJF||

    We are buying production aircraft that do not work. Would you buy a new production car if it did not work? Would you take the manufacturers word that “Yeah we will fix it, maybe next year or the year after, its hard building a car” and they will charge us for the repair work too.

  • nova3930||

    My assessment as an aero engineer is that if we desire to have multi role fighter jets going forward, we actually need the F-35. There are no issues with the aircraft that are unfixable. What's making things difficult is the spiral development process that was chosen in a ridiculous attempt to cut costs. Every time an issue pops up you have to re-spiral driving up engineering man hours significantly. In fact we heard these arguments before for aircraft like the B1. It's too expensive, too complex, will never work, never see combat, etc etc etc. Granted I don't agree with our extended endeavour in Afghanistan, but the B1 is the workhorse of CAS there and bang for the buck is the best bomber we have in inventory.

    Fact is, our fighter aircraft, like a lot of major weapons systems, were procured between 20 and 40 years ago and are quite simply wearing out. We've successfully pushed out the need date for new systems with a variety of service life extensions and the like but there are some cases where we've pushed that to the limit. The two most notable are F-15s and F-16s, namely the bulk of the USAF fighter inventory.

    I'm all for cutting defense spending but it doesn't need to be done stupidly. I'd lean more towards reductions in ground forces (used in foreign invasions) and elimination of foreign deployments rather than scrapping AF and Navy equipment which more easily lend themselves to actual national defense , namely keeping the bad guys away from the borders....

  • ||

    100% correct nova.

    Hey, Nick. You could hire nova to be your military subject matter expert. Unlike you, he has a clue.

  • nova3930||

    I'm more knowledgable than average but I am not an SME. An actual SME would really blow your mind. I know more about commuter airliners than anything else ;)

  • DJF||

    “”’but the B1 is the workhorse of CAS there and bang for the buck is the best bomber we have in inventory.”’’

    Flying a expensive stealth aircraft half way around the world with multiple refuelings from its base with its climate controlled hangers in central USA just to drop some bombs on goat herders is best bang for the buck?????????????

  • DJF||

    Oops, sorry thought you wrote B-2. However the B-1 is not cheap either when all you are doing is bombing someone with no air defenses. You could use a Cessna

  • nova3930||

    Uhh, no you can't. We're not talking about dumping dumb bombs out the back here. We're talking about delivering precision guided munitions, something that requires a fairly high level of system integration at the platform level, especially when it comes to weapons that can be targeted on the fly via data relay from forward air controllers.

    And like I said, I don't agree with the extended endeavor in A-stan, but when you look at it from a dollars spent vs capability perspective, the B-1B has the best bang for the buck. At maximum loadouts the B-1 can carry more weapons and has a longer loiter time than the B-52H, the other bomber suited for the CAS role. So while the per hour operating costs are somewhat higher than a B-52, since you need fewer aircraft to perform the mission it costs less. You get more capability for less cost ie bang for the buck.

  • ||

    You are as bad as Nick. You are referring to the B-2. The B-1 is NOT stealth and doesn't require climate controlled hangers. The B-1 flys it's missions from the deployed location.

  • DJF||

    “”””The B-1 flys it's missions from the deployed location.””’

    Yeah and I think that was Diego Garcia which is around 6,000 miles round trip to Afghanistan, hardly cheap when bombing some suspected terrorists or goat herders.

  • ||

    Try to keep up. Haven't been in Diego in YEARS.

  • ||

    er flies

  • Bam!||

    "namely keeping the bad guys away from the borders...."

    The ocean does that, not the military.

  • nova3930||

    obviously because there's no such thing as airplanes and boats. The presence of an ocean helps, and gives you a place to intercept adversaries that is not "home" but in the end you need something to intercept their planes and ships....

  • 21044||

    "namely keeping the bad guys away from the borders...."

    The Navy ocean does that, not the military.

    The Navy, the one service mandated by the Constitution. Marines would have been included in the definition of Navy.

    Even during the Revolutionary War, the US Navy to the fight to the other side of the ocean.

  • Overt||

    "Fact is, our fighter aircraft, like a lot of major weapons systems, were procured between 20 and 40 years ago and are quite simply wearing out."

    This is the really big problem. It is compounded by the fact that the development lifecycle of a fighter craft is measured in decades.

    This is completely unacceptable. We have drones being built today that were contracted only a decade ago. Why aren't our fighters developed as rapidly? Because old cold-war standards and practices are allowing it to happen.

    People often forget that many of the "War Winning" fighters of WWII weren't in DEVELOPMENT let alone production at the start of that war. If the US wants to win the future war, it should concentrate on getting back to platform development that takes 5 years instead of 20.

  • Brett L||

    If the US wants to win the future war, it should concentrate on getting back to platform development that takes 5 years instead of 20.i

    Agreed. Somehow the guys at SpaceX and Xcor both designed flight vehicles from the ground up on 1% of the development budget the F-35.

  • nova3930||

    You hit the nail on the head of the ACTUAL issue, which is not the weapons systems themselves but the fact that our procurement system is completely and utterly broken...

  • AlexInCT||

    Our procurement system is about congress critters sending pork to their districts. That's why we have to pay orders of magnitude more to develop platforms that end up sucking for a while, until the bugs can be worked out, because the focus is political rather than bang for your buck. The biggest cost of any weapons platform is the overwhelming cost to overcome bureaucracy and the bureaucratic inertia.

  • RightOnDefense||

    You've got to hand it to Lockheed for overcoming the logistical challenge of spreading their supplier base in as many Congressional districts and States as humanly possible. If only the same could be said of their efforts to deliver a plane either on time or on budget. Enabled by a Congress incapable of asserting oversight and an undisciplined Pentagon procurement process, the F-35 is running 7 years behind schedule and lifetime costs are now estimated at $1.5 trillion.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    If the US wants to win the future war, it should concentrate on getting back to platform development that takes 5 years instead of 20.

    I'm honestly not sure that's possible right now. The aircraft in use today, and the F-22/F-35, are orders of magnitude more complex than the birds of WW2 because they were designed along E/M principles. What's really crippling the newer programs is the "one-size-fits-all" mentality that goes back to the F-4 and POSs like the F-111. Let each service contract separately for a fighter that will fit their specific needs and I suspect the aggregate cost would probably drop.

    People were also willing to accept back then that testing out new, unproven aircraft that needed to get into the field right away was going to result in deaths in order to get the kinks worked out quickly. If even one test pilot was killed pulling the kind of stuff the old-timers did, the media would be all over it with the "widowmaker" labels that would make it politically toxic.

  • sarcasmic||

    There isn't a single defense program of any kind in the history of the world that Reason would not support cutting or better yet eliminating.

    And limited government means no government at all, right Red Tony?

  • Rasilio||

    It is an overpriced boondoggle.

    It suffers from the same flaw that the Shuttle had, they tried to put too many diametrically oppposed requirements into a single airframe under the theory that a single mixed role platform would be cheaper than designing and building multiple custom designed craft.

    While the basic F-35 A has a few nice features non of the other models should exist and support for their needs should never have entered the equation, this would have dropped the development costs per aircraft in half at least then we could have developed new generation vtol and carrier based fighters for the Marines and Navy separately.

    Even with the F-35 A however we would have been better served buying a smaller number of them and then backing it up with a cheaper 4.5th generation dedicated ground attack platform based on an upgraded A-10

    So basically we should have had an air force with 200 F-22's, 800 F-35 A's, 1500 of the upgraded A-10's, and then the navy and Marines could have bought their own custom designed planes separately.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I thought the F-22 was an even worse disaster.

  • Rasilio||

    It has it's problems to be sure but it is not as bad off as the F-35 as it is unquestionably a better Air Superiority fighter than the F-15 was.

    At this point it is easy to argue that we would have been better off just building a bunch of new F-15 E's maybe with some of the Silent Eagle mods to make them Stealthier and it is rapidly approaching the point where the F-16 is a better multi-role fighter than the F-35

  • mad libertarian guy||

    But when it comes to busting the budget in pursuit of bazillion-dollar boondoggles that may not ever fly a combat mission?

    Like we're ever going to have a lack of engagements in which to use fighter jets. In my lifetime, I can't remember a time when we weren't, at the very least, enforcing some no-fly-zone somewhere.

  • DJF||

    “”””The total number of jets involved is 71””’

    These planes are suppose to be production versions yet they have not yet managed to get a single F-35 to fire a gun or an actual missile. The software is years behind and their latest version which is not the production version does not meet their own standards. The plane has restrictions on both speed and maneuvering so it has not tested itself to its supposed limits.

    They are buying these “production” versions in order to funnel money to the manufacturer so they can hopefully fix the problems with the plane and to fool the Congress and public that the plane is on schedule.

  • John||

    So the plane is behind schedule and over budget. Sadly typical. But that doesn't answer the questions that are important. Namely, do we need it and can it be fixed.

    A lot of weapons systems took a long time to perfect and cost more money than initially estimated. And a lot of them turned out to be leaps and bounds ahead of anything our enemy had. Indeed, any weapons system that is worth having and a real leap in technology is likely to take longer to perfect and cost more than you first expect.

  • DJF||

    No we don’t need it, unless of course you support the US militaries “pivot to the Pacific” so that we can defend our worthless Asian allies against China.

    As to fixing it, they have lied repeatedly about the plane so I don’t know if they can fix it. We are building production planes which will need major fixes if the manufacturers ever fixes the design

    The software problem is not a minor glitch, the plane cannot fight without it nor even demonstrate its maximum performance

    The stealth they are paying so much money for is only good if they only carry internal fuel and missiles and that greatly limits the planes capabilities. Plus the stealth is very hard to maintain especially for planes which are suppose to be put on ships in salt water. Our other stealth planes are hanger queens since they can’t be left out in the environment.

    The Navy plane can’t land on aircraft carriers because the tailhook is in the wrong place and the plane is too short to mover it to a better location

  • John||

    No we don’t need it, unless of course you support the US militaries “pivot to the Pacific” so that we can defend our worthless Asian allies against China.

    So we don't need it, as long as you assume we will never have to fight another advanced country. You could say that I guess. But since we don't always get to determine when and against whom we fight a war, I would say you just admitted we do need it. Basically you are telling me that we don't any defense really. Who other than other advanced countries could ever pose a risk to the US? And if you object to preparing to fight them, you are really saying we don't need any defense.

    As to fixing it, they have lied repeatedly about the plane so I don’t know if they can fix it. We are building production planes which will need major fixes if the manufacturers ever fixes the design

    SO fixing it is hard. So what? None of that means it can't work or wouldn't be worth having if it did work.

    The stealth they are paying so much money for is only good if they only carry internal fuel and missiles and that greatly limits the planes capabilities.

    Enemy air defense shooting you down tends to greatly limit the plane's capability too. Without stealth, the plane is pretty much worthless. Even third rate powers have advanced air defense these days.

  • DJF||

    The “enemy “don’t have advanced air defense systems in the USA so stealth is not needed in the defense of the USA. Offensively yes, but if you want to go attack China or some other country then go for it, just leave the US out of it.

    Also stealth is quickly losing it abilities against new air defenses since they can network their radars and pick up stealth aircraft.

    If you want to just bomb Somalis or Afghans then you don’t need stealth.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    The “enemy “don’t have advanced air defense systems in the USA so stealth is not needed in the defense of the USA.

    Are you implying that once attacked, the USA should never engage an enemy outside it's borders?

  • DJF||

    What reason would they attack us if we did not have our military all over the world. When was the last time that Switzerland was attacked?

    Are the Chinese going to steal Detroit or our national debt?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    What reason would they attack us if we did not have our military all over the world. When was the last time that Switzerland was attacked?

    So, you really think nobody ever attacked a someone without being provoked first?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "a someone"...I was going to write "a country" but it doesn't even have to involve a country.

  • DJF||

    We still have F-15’s, F-16’s, F-18’s F-22’s, plus Patriot missiles and M-1 tanks and M- Bradley’s and Burke class DDG’s and Virginia class submarines, so I don’t think we will be defenseless. Especially if the US returns all these back to the USA instead of deploying them to defend other countries.

    We might not be able to go on the offensive as easily but defense will be fine.

  • Overt||

    This is silly. You are basically saying that the US goes and gets in wars that aren't necessary for basic defense, but that other countries wouldn't do the same.

    In any case, even defending our borders would get massive benefit from stealthy planes, as they would be able to avoid airborne radar platforms

  • DJF||

    One, its not very stealthy, its less stealthy then the F-22. Plus stealth is becoming less useful with better air defense. And to top it off the F-35 even though its building production aircraft does not work, it has yet to fire a missile or shoot a gun and it going to take years to fix it because the software is all screwed up.

  • Jordan||

    Who the hell is going to attack the mainland U.S. and what are they going to gain? There is no conventional force that would have a chance in hell of accomplishing anything, even if we cut our military down by 90%. China and Russia barely have the capability to sustain expeditionary forces in their own regions.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Who the hell is going to attack the mainland U.S. and what are they going to gain?

    Wanchese would like to have a word with you

  • Jordan||

    That analogy is so WTF my head just exploded. So who would play the role of the Europeans in this analogy? Aliens?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    That analogy is so WTF my head just exploded. So who would play the role of the Europeans in this analogy? Aliens?

    In your static world, where the US somehow has all the superior military capability while not spending any resources to have it and everyone on the planet would never dare attack another unjustly, I don't expect you would get the analogy.

  • Rasilio||

    "Sadly typical. But that doesn't answer the questions that are important. Namely, do we need it and can it be fixed."

    We need something, the F-15's are on their last legs and the F-16's aren't far behind and at this point there realistically isn't time to scrap the F-35 entirely so yes we need it.

    Whether we need 2500 of them or not is a seperate issue and I would argue that cutting the order down to under 1000 and getting to work on a better design might be a good idea.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    We haven't had an aerial dogfight since 1999. Something tells me, we won't be having one any time soon. I think the F-15 and F-18 are projected to be operational well into the middle of this century. Maybe the F-35 could wait until 2050; in the meantime, we can work out the cost and design flaws.

  • Brett L||

    And the F-15 and F-18 could be spooled up and new copies with new maintenance parts built. We didn't lose the manufacturing technology.

  • ||

    Nick, you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. Hire someone who does and shut the fuck up.

    Your options: Buy the F-35 OR be 2 generations behind in technology. I'll be the first to admit the acquisition system is broken, but your solution is fucking asinine.

    BTW

    A pilot was killed when oxygen to the cabin was cut off.

    That statement is COMPLETELY false. It was an F-22 oxygen problem that killed a test pilot and it wasn't because the "oxygen to the cabin was cut off." You don't even know the difference do you?

    You can continue to be an idiot, making assertions about a subject you are completely ignorant of, but what I won't tolerate at Reason is blatantly misrepresenting the facts to make a point. That's for MSNBC and FOX.

  • John||

    Awesome rant. And yeah, Nick is absolutely the most overrated writer at Reason. I have no idea why people like him so much. I can't remember the last smart or interesting piece he has written. And he is generally woefully uninformed about any subject he writes about.

  • anon||

    Nick's more of the salesman than the brains of the operation.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Namely, do we need it and can it be fixed.

    Being that one can argue that the US hasn't fought a legitimate war (one that has Congressional approval and falls in to the rubric of National Defense - as opposed to proxy wars or other engagements like Libya), and that we already spend more than the rest of the world combined on the military, one can certainly argue that it isn't necessary.

  • ||

    A pilot was killed when oxygen to the cabin was cut off.

    !

  • Jordan||

    I guess nobody in government has head of the sunk cost fallacy. Also, LOL at all the "BUT CHINA!!1" idiots. China doesn't give a shit about us and never will. Same with Russia. This plane is just a welfare program for Lockheed Martin and Raytheon at this point.

  • Loki||

    This plane is just a welfare program for Lockheed Martin and Raytheon at this point.

    ...and Boeing, and Northrup Grumman, and BAe Systems, and Honeywell, and Pratt & Whitney, and...

    That's the source of some of the problems: too many subcontractors, suppliers, and subcontractors of subcontractors.

  • Overt||

    "China doesn't give a shit about us".

    Yeah that is why they are developing ballistic missiles designed at targeting carriers and building subs designed precisely to foil US sonar systems.

    The fact is, China is run by a bunch of sniveling thugs who (even more so than most other governments) will try to use force to get any advantage to they and their cronies wherever possible. They would love to pressure Taiwan, Japan and Korea into concessions that give China better trade terms or eliminate competitors- just as they do inside their borders when they steal patents and engage openly in espionage against non-chinese firms. But they cannot do that outside their borders (as easily) because the US owns the fucking Pacific.

    Whenever they gain enough capability to (credibly) threaten our Carrier groups, you can bet that they will begin fucking with the pacific neighbors.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah that is why they are developing ballistic missiles designed at targeting carriers and building subs designed precisely to foil US sonar systems.

    Yeah, it's a real mystery why they'd view us as a threat.

    Who gives a shit? If you want to defend Korea and Japan, then go sign up for their armed forces.

  • Overt||

    "Yeah, it's a real mystery why they'd view us as a threat."

    They don't see us as a threat. They see us as an obstacle to their dominance of the Pacific.

    "Who gives a shit? If you want to defend Korea and Japan, then go sign up for their armed forces."

    Yes we would be so much better off with those people in communist death camps.

    It was the existence of free economies in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Beijing that convinced China to begin opening its markets in the 90s. These economies would not have existed if the US had benevolently left them to their own devices under communist imperialism.

  • Jordan||

    It was the existence of free economies in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Beijing that convinced China to begin opening its markets in the 90s.

    No, it was the widespread existence of private black markets in the mainland, according to Deng Xiaoping himself.

  • wwhorton||

    I know I'm late to the party, but I can't let that slide. Jordan's absolutely right. Mainland China was surrounded by free market economies for decades with no intention of liberalizing dick. A few things happened to change that.

    1. As Jordan correctly points out, China's black market economy had (has, really) a hydra-like ability to resist destruction, and the government officials sent to stop them almost always wound up taking bribes and leaving them alone. It was a huge black eye for the Party, so there was a strong motivation to "own" it and act like the CCP was in control the whole time.

    2. Mao died, and Hua Guofeng was a dedicated Maoist, whereas Deng was always a much more pragmatic type, closer to a traditional socialist. China's economy was struggling after two decades of Maoism, and, ironically, Hua had purged most of his natural supporters, and so Deng got the nod.

    3. As the 1st gen revolutionaries died off, they were replaced by technocrats: bureaucrats who'd grown up in the CCP but weren't revolutionaries. These guys, especially people like Hu Jintao, were into the idea of centralization and so forth, but also liked the efficiency of markets. By the 90s, most of the middle to upper management of the Party was composed of people like them, not hardcore revolutionaries.

  • Restoras||

    If those people love being free so much they can pay for it. It isn't at all clear to me why fully developed, industrializd nations that are completely capable of fielding technically advanced military forces should rely on us for their defense. It's preposterous.

    Sure, 30, 40, 50 years ago when they were prostrate from WWII or just plain backwards, then you can make an arguement. But now? Please. Japan alone could easily stymy China by building a navy without any help from us.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "You can feel the momentum accelerating throughout the program,"

    That's what Wile E Coyote said about the anvil that landed on his head.

  • Rich||

    Damn your quick fingers, P!

  • Rich||

    "You can feel the momentum accelerating throughout the program," [Lockheed's CEO] said

    Um, what? Maybe *there's* your problem.

  • John||

    I am old enough to remember articles back in the 1980s that were just cut and pastes of this articles about pretty much every single weapons system that now are universally considered successful. People like Nick have been crying wolf and swearing up and down that every new weapons system was overpriced, unneeded and wouldn't work for going on 50 years now. In the same way, I don't pay a lot of attention to generals crying for more money, I don't pay any attention to people like Nick swearing we don't need something. If it had been up to people like Nick, we would still be flying P51s. Those new fangled jets, cost a fortune, ate fuel by the ton and crashed all of the time you know.

  • anon||

    Has anyone made the argument to you that perhaps we're always involved in some bullshit war precisely because we have all these cool new ways to blow shit up?

    I mean, I know if I had an f-35 I'd want to blow something up with it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Desert Storm. Had to put these new weapons to the test, you know.

  • ||

    And porn causes rape.

  • ||

    Guns cause murder.

  • John||

    Absolutely, nothing says peace and security like being completely unable to defend yourself. If we just didn't have a national defense, no one would ever have any reason to attack us. It is not like anyone has ever attacked us before, or when they did we didn't have it coming.

  • anon||

    Why do you value security so highly over liberty?

  • John||

    And the country defending itself against various assholes takes away my liberty how? I am sure when we eliminate our national defense and the Chinese decide California would make a great colony, liberty will flourish there.

  • anon||

    And the country defending itself against various assholes takes away my liberty how?

    Come on, really?

    TSA/NSA/insert alphabet soup agency of choice here.

  • John||

    And those agencies have what to do with the wisdom of the F35 program?

  • anon||

    Sometimes your war boner must get in the way of your screen. You said defending country, I replied with programs meant to "defend the country" that take away our liberties.

    Also, f35's cost a lot of money. A lot of *my* money, which inhibits my liberty to spend it as I see fit.

  • Loki||

    TSA/NSA/insert alphabet soup agency of choice here.

    None of which have anything to do with actual, honest to God, bonefied national defense either. Sure, they like to claim they do, but those agencies aren't part of the military. If you want to argue that they should be defunded and some of their bullshit programs like PRISM ended, I'd agree. But like it or not, national defense, as in defending the nation militarily against an agressor, is one the few legitimate functions of government.

  • anon||

    national defense, as in defending the nation militarily against an agressor, is one the few legitimate functions of government.

    What about TERRORISTZ!?

  • anon||

    Also Loki, John made no reference to actual wars, he just said various assholes. Which I assumed John would consider a terrorist a random asshole. Which I do not think we need to defend ourself against, because it's a crock of shit.

  • anon||

    I am sure when we eliminate our national defense and the Chinese decide California would make a great colony, liberty will flourish there.

    Just noticed this part; I think China running California might actually make Californians more free.

  • John||

    Just noticed this part; I think China running California might actually make Californians more free.

    That would make you an idiot who apparently has no idea how bad the Chinese government actually is.

  • anon||

    No, I don't think you know how bad California government is.

    Think for a second. Those are the same dipshits that keep Nancy Pelosi in office.

    At least the Chinese are up front about being commies.

  • anon||

    Also, I made no mention of being unable to defend ourselves. We have a metric fuckton of weapons that can blow shit up really well.

    Thing is, we never obliterate our enemies. We just kinda mozy around jacking our dicks all day.

  • John||

    We have a metric fuckton of weapons that can blow shit up really well.

    And we did in 1945 as well. But if we still had those same weapons today, we would be effectively defenseless. So the existence of our current weapons doesn't mean they will not have to some day be replaced. Maybe the F 35 is not the way to replace them. That is a fair argument but one Nick isn't making very well.

  • Restoras||

    Many of those same weapons were in use during Korea and Vietnam. The Intrepid was in service until 1974. The Midway was in service until 1992.

  • DJF||

    Well if we did not waste our blood and money on Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq etc etc then we could have just P-51’s or maybe we would have updated F-5’s

  • John||

    Clearly Korea was a waste of time. Not like the world ever benefited from South Korea not being a communist hell hole or anything. God knows we certainly haven't ever benefited from trade with them. Hell, they just would have taken our jobs any way. The best thing that could have ever happened to this country would have been for every single one of our trading partners to have gone communist.

    And why would we have upgraded to F5s? those things cost a fortune and were unneeded anyway.

  • DJF||

    I haven’t benefited from South Korea. Maybe you have so you go stand on the DMZ.

    And what is ‘the world’, when did the US public become slaves to what the world as you call it wants? Were the 35,000 plus dead American good for the world.

  • John||

    I haven’t benefited from South Korea.

    I bet you have. Bought any stereo equipment or a car or about anything else? If it wasn't made in South Korea, the product benefited from the competition created by South Korea.,

    Is it really the case that defense issues make Libertarians so fucking retarded that they forget the benefits of trade? You are really going to argue that the world and the country isn't better off for more countries having free markets and trade rather than communism? Really? You want to go there.

  • DJF||

    Without South Korea I think we would still have stereos available maybe even ones made in the USA if we didn’t have billions wasted on defending foreigners

    Its not free trade if is subsidized by one party the USA having to pay for the defense of the other party South Korea. The US spends more then 4 percent GDP on “defense“ while South Korea spends only 2 percent.

    And nobody these days care about if a country is run by communists, just look at China and Vietnam, as long as they open themselves up to international banking and supply sweatshop labor their considered to be “free traders“..

  • KDN||

    I haven’t benefited from South Korea.

    Apple cultist alert.

  • Loki||

    I haven’t benefited from South Korea.

    What brand of electronics or appliances do you own? If you have anything made by Samsung, LG, or Hitachi, then you're wrong. Plus a lot of components used in other brands are made in S. Korea. Or maybe you just assume that any vaguely asian sounding name must be Japanese.

  • DJF||

    And why wouldn’t those electronics be built somewhere else? Or are Koreans the only ones capable?

  • SugarFree||

    Yes, we fought the Korean War and spent billions since then to defend them because we knew someday we could buy smartphones from them.

  • anon||

    It Will be a Beautiful Day When the Sequester Actually Reduces Military Spending and the F-35 Fighter Finally Gets Mothballed

    I think unicorns are more likely.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Buy the F-35 OR be 2 generations behind in technology.

    I hear this in Hot Lips Houlihan's voice.

  • Rich||

    "I'm not so think as you drunk I am ... "

  • SugarFree||

    Ah, these threads... where people who normally wouldn't trust the government to empty a trash bin think that those same idiots can efficiently and effectively spend billions of dollars to create a advanced weapon of war and then use it only wisely.

  • anon||

    Not people, just John.

  • John||

    And Fransisco and everyone else who doesn't live in a fantasy world where to world would love us if we were just defenseless and groveled enough.

  • sarcasmic||

    Just as Tony argues against a libertarian straw man where limited government equals no government at all, Red Tony argues against a libertarian straw man where a military limited to national defense instead of World Policeman means no military at all.

  • Restoras||

    Red Tony is very tiresome and douchey that way. Sadly, I understand exactly where he is coming from. I used to think the same way. Trouble is, now we're broke and the best military forces ever created will be useless if we don't have our fiscal house in order.

    There is ZERO strategic need for the F-35 right now or even 10 year from now. Use what we have for the moment, and when we can afford some shiny new toys tthen we'll talk. In the meantime it's just more corporate welfare and jobs programs for colonels and generals.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What we need is advanced robotic military leadership as well as weapons.

  • John||

    So your position is that there should be no national defense at all? If you can't trust the government to have any weapons, then it can't have any national defense right?

    I will give you credit, at least you are honest. That is basically Nick's position. He is just too dishonest to admit it.

  • SugarFree||

    So your position is that there should be no national defense at all?

    Yes. That's exactly what I said, John. No national defense whatsoever. Allahu akbar!

    An over-priced, under-performing trainwreck of a plane is the only thing standing between you and the Muslim hordes, American capitalist pig!

  • MWG||

    No, no SF. Not Muslim hordes. It's the Chinese and their appearant desire to take California from us we should be worried about.

  • SugarFree||

    Godless Chinese Muslims!

  • Restoras||

    Jeez, if they want California shouldn't we just give it to them?

  • sarcasmic||

    Questioning or insulting the military is equivalent to blasphemy in the conservative religion.

  • John||

    Go fuck yourself. No one is saying that. We are simply saying Nick is an ignoramus who would have written this article about any weapons system at any time in history.

  • sarcasmic||

    Sure, Red Tony. Because limited government means no government and limited military means no military. We know, Red Tony. We know.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yeah, too bad we can't reincarnate Washington to spend his own money on the military. But, yeah, do you propose privatizing defense?

  • SugarFree||

    No, I expect people calling themselves libertarians to not be so fucking gullible.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    No, I expect people calling themselves libertarians to not be so fucking gullible.

    You mean, gullible, like thinking people never attack without being provoked first?

  • SugarFree||

    Oh, you're one of those. Never mind. I assumed I was engaging someone capable of rational thought. My bad.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Oh, you're one of those.

    Yeah, I'm one of those people that have ancestors in a country that was invaded because it was peddling it's windmills on the world and provoked an occupation. Back to your tuffet, miss muffet.

  • SugarFree||

    Well, goddamn. We better get out of the windmill business then.

  • Jordan||

    So we've already got Red Tony. Looks like we need a Red Chad, Red Edward, and Red Shriek as well.

  • creech||

    The U.S. Military has to have a weapon to defeat each of the most sophisticated weapons that can be deployed against the U.S. It is up to military intelligence (I know, an oxymoron in many cases) to keep the Pentagon abreast of such developments being made by enemies and allies. That doesn't mean building a couple hundred aircraft now to defend against something on China's drawing board. Yes, there are always questions about manufacturing capabilities that must be considered. And the conversation has to include what the effect on the need for defense would be if the U.S. kept its nose out of every conflict around the world.

  • William of Purple||

    lots of war boners in here today

  • John||

    Yes. Because anyone who thinks the country should be able to defend itself has a "war boner". This is why we can't have nice things.

  • Bam!||

    Defend itself against who and what?

  • John||

    Any country that has the urge to come over and take our shit. Has it ever occured to you that the reason why these countries are not interested in attacking us is because we do have such a good defense? You know that whole deterrence thing. If we didn't have any national defense, why wouldn't Mexico take back the SW? Or China come take LA. What would stop them? A nasty note? The kindness of their hearts?

    Is it your position that nation states have now lost the capacity for aggressive conquest? Are we entering some sort of aquarian age of peace? And if they haven't lost such urges, why would a defenseless United States not be a tempting target? These things are only unthinkable because we have a national defense. If we didn't, they would become very thinkable. Who would stop another country? The LA Police?

  • sarcasmic||

    Has it ever occurred to you that the homeland could be defended with a fraction of the military that we are currently using to be World Cop?

  • KDN||

    Of course he does. Let's not forget, 9/10 is still a fraction.

  • anon||

    And don't forget 9/11 for that matter!

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Defend itself against who and what?

    Lots of retarded on this subject. Yeah, nobody really does need a gun that shoots more than 7 rounds.

  • Jordan||

    Let me know when I'm forced to pay for other people's guns.

    You wanna maitain a private army of F-35s? Knock yourself out. But don't ask me to pay for them.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Let me know when I'm forced to pay for other people's guns.

    Okay, I'm letting you know now that you're paying for other people's guns.

    Sincerely
    /Sheriff's Department

  • Jordan||

    Good thing I'm also against the Sheriff's Department buying overpriced toys that they don't need.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Good thing I'm also against the Sheriff's Department buying overpriced toys that they don't need.

    How is it good in any meaningful way other than being able to tell yourself and us that you know best what they need?

  • Jordan||

    Okay, so we should just take the word of Top Men who are in no way self-interested. Silly me.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    take the word of Top Men who are in no way self-interested

    "according to Deng Xiaoping himself"...really

    I'm not advocating taking anybodies word. Not Nick Gillespie's or Chuck Hagel's. I just think there's more to the issue than:
    expensive jet fighters = always a bad choice

  • MWG||

    "I just think there's more to the issue than:
    expensive jet fighters = always a bad choice"

    That's what you got out of the article? As far as I could tell, Nick is not against generic "epxensive jet fighters", but specifically the F35.

  • Spartacus||

    "Well, maybe for stuff like flying at air shows and setting off Fourth of July fireworks at bases."

    I have a colleague whose high-school age son recently went to a "leadership camp" at west point. The camp was supposed to be two weeks, but was cut to one week "because of the sequester".

  • ||

    We don't like war. So let's be unprepared for war.

    For a site called Reason...

  • anon||

    I haven't made that argument, but I'd argue the f-35 is a waste of cash. Probably more a result of how contract "competitions" are limited to what, 2 companies in the world?

  • Restoras||

    Not sure exactly how questioning the efficacy of the F-35 and wondering if we can still use the stuff we have qualifies as being unprepared for war, but sure.

  • anon||

    In this thread, everyone has conflated an overpriced piece of shit plane that will never see service with actual defense.

  • sarcasmic||

    Well yeah. Any cuts in military spending mean no military at all. Nothing. Nada.

    Just as the leftists can't comprehend limiting government without abolishing it altogether, conservatives cannot comprehend any cuts in defense without abolishing the military altogether.

    They're two sides of the same statist coin.

  • Restoras||

    Well said.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    In this thread, everyone has conflated an overpriced piece of shit plane that will never see service with actual defense.

    I see a lot of knee-jerk reactions both ways. The post looks a little slanted towards one viewpoint. It would be nice to see a little counter-argument. If there isn't one, then sure, it's an overpriced piece of shit that will never see service.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Lockheed is building three models of the F-35 for the U.S. military and eight international partner countries: Britain, Australia, Canada, Norway, Turkey, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands. Israel and Japan have also ordered the jet.

    Wonder if all these other countries know this plane sucks shit.

  • DJF||

    Yes, but political and economic deals have been made so they will all pretend that everything is just great.

  • sarcasmic||

    Between the subsidies and foreign aid doled out by our government, it's not like they'll be paying more than a small fraction of the planes' actual cost.

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