Biggest Defense Boondoggle Ever, F-35 Fighter Jet, Being Built With Illegal Chinese Parts!

The last time I remember writing something about the long overdue and over-budget F-35 fighter plane, it was July 2013 and it was another short bit about how the Department of Defense was going to buy even more of a plane that is already costing at least 70 percent much as originally advertised but, well, you know, shit happens...

Last February, The Fiscal Times wrote a daming expose on "The Pentagon's Incredible $1.5 Trillion Mistake":

Equally impossible to ignore is the $1.5 trillion price tag for one of the biggest failures in Pentagon history. $1.5 trillion is the cost of operating the air craft for 55 years, an amount that has been consistently increased as the program drags on. It’s the most expensive weapons system the Pentagon has ever commissioned. And as problems mount, there are growing concerns that the F-35 will never fly a combat mission.

Now Reuters is reporting that 

The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China's espionage and military buildup.

According to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters, chief U.S. arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers, Northrop Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc, to use Chinese magnets for the new warplane's radar system, landing gears and other hardware. Without the waivers, both companies could have faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program could have faced further delays.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will release a report on the matter in March.

Read the whole thing.

Another fun fact: If the Pentagon gets all the F-35s it wants, it will possess 15 times the number of planes that China has. Assuming at least some of those rustbuckets work (and aren't carrying Chi-Com hardware that is beaming info back to Beijing), we should be pretty safe from that air war over the Pacific everyone is predicting to commence any minute now.

Oh yeah, and while we wait for the GAO report to hit the newsstands, suck on this: The United States already accounts for fully 40 percent of the planet's spending on military and defense spending rose by 80 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2001 and 2012. And somewhere in Arizona is a military aircraft graveyard packe with over $35 billion (with a b!) in never-used and nearly-new planes.

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  • SusanM||

    Didn't they build SR-71s with Soviet titanium?

  • Agammamon||

    Some of the early ones were manufactured from titanium from soviet suppliers - not parts, just raw materials.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Foreign molecules are inferior, missing protons and shit.

  • Sevo||

    They're not as bad as stuff from Davis, CA. That's a 'Nuclear Free Zone', so nothing has any nuclei.

  • playa manhattan||

    Berkeley too. It makes me wonder how their smoke detectors work.

  • Sevo||

    Work? In Berkeley? Naah.

  • Agammamon||

    Its Berkley - a combination of welfare, unemployment benefits, and grants from the NEA.

  • Sevo||

    And the alarms are to mellow to be alarmed.

  • ||

    conflict minerals!!!

  • db||

    What a load of horseshit that bullshit is. Shit.

  • ||

    That Tin is smelted with the blood of innocence!!!

  • db||

    My hemoglobin only fixes virtuous oxygen.

  • Copernicus||

    He who smelted, dealt it

  • MasterDarque||

    It's ok because they were only trying to protect my freedoms...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Look Nick, if they don't build the F-35, what are they going to use to shoot down al Qaeda fighters? How will our defense contractors keep their jobs? How will the next generation of Navy pilots express their barely-contained homoerotic urges?

  • Agammamon||

    They'll use F-22's. There will nbe no next generation of navy pilots since they'll all be flying drones by then.

    And the F-35 contractors will just go to creating the next generation, bleeding edge technology, flying boondoggle - just like they do every 10 years.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    just like they do every 10 years

    The F-16 is 39 year old technology.

    The F-15 is 42 year old technology.

  • Agammamon||

    That's why they've been replacing them with the F-22.

    And you're forgetting the F-18 - which the AF *could* have had, except it was a dirty navy plane.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    And you're forgetting the F-18 - which the AF *could* have had, except it was a dirty navy plane.

    After their experience with the F-4, which didn't even have a gun at first, you can hardly blame the Air Force for not going with the F-18--which was the YF-17 at first and lost out in a head-to-head competition with the F-16.

    The F-18 is the Air Force's sloppy seconds.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The F-22 is a replacement for the F-15. The F-35 is a replacement for the F-16. They are not interchangeable.

    There are 400ish F-15s being replaced by 187 F-22s. There are over 1200 F-16s.

    The F-18 is inferior to the F-16.

  • optimusratiostultum||

    F-15's are perfectly suitable to dominating airspace that no one else contests.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    What happens when it is contested?

  • The Last American Hero||

    $1.5 trillion buys a lot of sand volleyball courts.

  • ||

    HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE

  • LynchPin1477||

  • Hugh Akston||

    Epi, you can ride my tail anytime.

  • ||

    That's as utterly gay as I could have hoped, Hugh.

  • GILMORE||

  • db||

    The way shit's going now, al Qaeda will be flying Iraqi Air Force fighters withing 18 months.

  • Agammamon||

    Our military's procurement system is so horribly broken. The Navy's new amphib, LCS, and replenishment ships, the Army's Crusader, Comanche, and Bradley, and the Marine's Osprey and *everybody's* F-35.

    Fuck, we can't even successfully develop a new *rifle*.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    I thought Crusader and Comanche were cancelled a while ago.

  • Drake||

    Rumsfeld cancelled both.

    The Army did for the Stryker which cost about 10 times what it should have since it was off-the-shelf technology and the Marines had been using LAV's for 15 years.

  • Agammamon||

    They were - because, in a rare fit of lucidity, the Army realized that they were ridiculously expensive systems that were only marginally better than what they were replacing.

  • Drake||

    Nope - we still have a piece of shit designed almost 60 years ago. Once in a while the Army publishes a study about how great the M16/4 is - and everybody has a good laugh.

  • Bam!||

    Military's procurement has become a game of liar's poker.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Things are only illegal if the government says they're illegal. And anyway, this is globalization. Or the start of the Alliance.

  • SusanM||

    Yeah, the law and constitution are overridden when the government wants to do something for the common good.

  • ||

    And somewhere in Arizona is a military aircraft graveyard packed with over $35 billion (with a b!) in never-used and nearly-new planes.

    Somewhere? How 'bout a few miles from me.
    http://goo.gl/maps/VCbiI

  • playa manhattan||

    Is it just me, or is the sat resolution lower around the boneyard?

  • ||

    It's not just you. Google uploaded hi res of the boneyard a couple of years ago. The aviation buff sites got a collective hardon.

  • ||

    Some day I'll go check it out.
    http://www.pimaair.org/view.php?pg=16

  • Timon 19||

    Pima's pretty nice. The boneyard itself is awesome. I and some colleagues had a free, private tour. Way cool.

  • ||

    I've been to Pima a few times. The last time was to see the "art" planes. I've been here 24 years and still haven't toured the boneyard

  • ||

    Oops. Forgot the link.
    http://tinyurl.com/l6qr6p5

  • Agammamon||

    Its just you - zoom in and the stuff is pretty clear.

  • playa manhattan||

    It is now. Maybe you're the NSA plant everybody has been looking for....

  • Byte Me||

    I see a lot of A-10s, F-16s, & F-15s. In other words, planes we should be updating the avionics, engines, and weapons systems of, rather than sinking ungodly amounts of money into tech we really have little to no need for.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    They've been updating avionics for 40 years on those planes. They are LITERALLY falling out of the skies.

  • Drake||

    Just buy new ones. When was the last time we had an air-to-air loss?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    When was the last time we had an air-to-air loss?

    Why do you suppose that is? We also haven't had a bomb dropped on a US soldier since Korea. Why do you suppose that is?

    Hint: It's the same reason. Because no one can challenge us in the air. Now every major power has 5th generation technology and you propose we should regress to Gen 4?

    Really?

  • Drake||

    Don't we have F-22's? For some reason we shut down that production line so we could waste the GDP of a mid-sized country on a less capable fighter.

    I was never a big fan of the strike fighter concept. Luckily this is the last one ever.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Don't we have F-22's?

    Yes, 187 of them. But they don't drop bombs. They have a very limited air to ground capability. The initial number (before the end of the cold war) was for 800. Then went down to 400. The AF said the bare minimum was something like 240 (I forget the exact number) and they got 187. So, instead of replacing all the Eagles, the AF continues to fly 40 yo aircraft to make up the difference. Logistically speaking, it's NUTS to be flying two different airframes.

    When Obama cut the number of F-22s to 187 his excuse was, we don't need them, we have the less expensive F-35 about to come on-line and they will take up the slack. Anyone in the know laughed their ass off at this.

    a. The F-35 isn't designed as an air-supremacy fighter. It's designed to drop bombs. They are NOT interchangeable.

    b. ALL military acquisitions are late and over budget. Under the rules they are forced to work with, it cannot be any other way. Everyone KNEW there F-35 was going to be worse off than the F-22.

    So the AF spends just as much, can't retire its old planes AND gets an inferior product. Leave it to the government.

    And yes, I agree, it will be the last manned fighter.

  • Drake||

    The F-22 obviously should have been the last.

  • Timon 19||

    The F-35 trainers kick ass, FWIW.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I have to say that I kind of like having total science-fiction-like superiority over other countries. If only we could do it in other ways as well, like robot slaves and flying cars. Maybe if we stopped with the command-and-control nonsense, we could have all of the above.

  • db||

    Why don't we just use robots to enslave other countries?

  • Byte Me||

    The F-16 is still good all around, as is it's naval counterpart, the F/A-18. I'm sure thrust vectoring and stronger engines could be put into an F-15 (our previous air-superiority fighter), which has the ability to do a 90 degree takeoff as it is. And I believe legitimate funding would be available for this if we didn't have so many overseas bases. In other words, we could do it while also cutting general military spending.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    First, they will not survive in a 5th generation engagement.

    Second, you are talking about redesigning the entire aircraft. How do you control thrust vectoring engines? New software. New hardware. Slapped on an antique. It's like saying you are going to put a bigger engine in a 67 Mustang to take on a Ferrari.

    When I left my job at Wright-Patt in 06, after thousands of engagements, an F-15 had yet to score a single kill on an F-22. It's THAT much of a difference.

  • Byte Me||

    Interesting, I wasn't aware of that. Then again, I'm a civil engineer so I'm better with targets than advanced weapons.

  • Timon 19||

    F-15s are great, but they would have no chance against anything we're building now. Only MAYBE the Saudi jets they're getting would have a shot, except the avionics in those are intentionally hobbled and weaker.

  • Not an Economist||

    We could make the F-15 perform about as well as the F-22. It would just cost as much as an F-22.

  • Timon 19||

    I'm pretty sure the fuselage cracks they had a few years ago are going to make it a bad idea to make massive structural updates.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    We also haven't had a bomb dropped on a US soldier since Korea by a hostile force (other than the USAF).

    FIFY

  • optimusratiostultum||

    exactly who else has 5th gen stuff? pretty much everyone who wasn't soviet bloc has our old stuff, anyone who was soviet bloc has their old stuff which is total crap.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Yeah, the Russians, the Chinese and the French NEVER sell their shit to third world shitholes. Russia and China wouldn't dream of selling their SA-10/20s.

  • juris imprudent||

    So, we are terrified at the prospect of Mexico and Canada having these advanced weapons, right?

    Or is it Nicaragua and Jamaica?

    Where exactly is the threat that every fucking piece of high-tech militaria is intended to counter?

  • ||

    Drive down Kolb road and you see a mile of C-130's

  • Timon 19||

    Pretty spooky on a moonlit night.

  • The Last American Hero||

    For $1.5 Trillion, I'd expect the planes to turn into giant ass-kicking robots.

  • ||

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck government funded research, including military product development. Let companies pay their own money to develop shit, and then pitch finished products to the department of defense and whoever else might want to buy it.

  • Rich||

    Are you kidding? The next thing you know, companies will want to develop, say, *pharmaceuticals* on their own nickel and then pitch finished products to … Oh, never mind.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Let companies pay their own money to develop shit, and then pitch finished products

    Why would they do that? You going to spend $30B developing a new aircraft only to be told no?

    Half the reason development of military vehicles is so expensive is that the government always reneges on their promises.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Why would they do that? You going to spend $30B developing a new aircraft only to be told no?

    But that's the whole problem. These guys don't have any incentive to deliver a product on time, within or under budget, and that meets requirements, because they know their allies in Congress will keep kicking them money as long as they show any sort of progress at all, however superficial it may be.

    Part of it is the short-sighted idea from the Pentagon that the military has to have variants within a one-size-fits-all framework, which forces Boeing, Lockheed, etc., to come up with prototypes that ultimately don't come close to perfoming all the functions the military wants it to do, at the operational levels they want it to. And the longer the development process gets drawn out, the more expensive the platform becomes and the fewer units that can be bought as result.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Before I reply, I want to be perfectly clear on this...you will NEVER hear me defend the military acquisition system. It is as fucked as fucked can be. And I can sum up why in one word...Congress.

    Part of it is the short-sighted idea from the Pentagon that the military has to have variants within a one-size-fits-all framework

    The reason for this strategy was to save money by having a majority of the parts be interchangeable between services. Anyone who's familiar with military aviation knows that each service has unique operational missions which drive different requirements for their aircraft. So the question is this...is having the three variants cheaper than developing three different aircraft?

    The complexity of integrating everyones requirements into one airframe probably makes it a push.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The reason for this strategy was to save money by having a majority of the parts be interchangeable between services. Anyone who's familiar with military aviation knows that each service has unique operational missions which drive different requirements for their aircraft.

    And on paper, it makes complete sense, due to logistical considerations. It's why AFSOC is trying to retire their legacy C-130 platforms as fast as possible and move everyone into the J-model.

    But with cross-service platforms, it gets really tricky. The F-4 is a good example. It was designed as an interceptor/bomber to protect ships, not get in a close-turning dogfight, so it had no gun, and as you know, the AF pilots had a hell of time engaging MiG-21s as result of the design deficiencies.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    But with cross-service platforms, it gets really tricky.

    Agreed. Jack of all trades, master of none. Same with the pilots. F-15/22 pilots are the best in the world at what they do. They do one thing, air to air, and only one thing, and they are fucking awesome at it. F-16/18 guys are okay at everything. No focus.

  • Timon 19||

    I will take rather massive exception to that. All the F-16 drivers I work with are fantastic.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Some of my best friends are Viper drivers (and some of them are even pretty good pilots ;-)). But as a bomber guy, who lives and dies by the quality of the OCA, Viper guys can't hold a candle to Eagle drivers when it comes to air to air. They just don't do it enough and the F-16 isn't an air superiority fighter.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    They just don't do it enough and the F-16 isn't an air superiority fighter.

    That's the Air Force's fault, though. The F-16 in its original form was a superior air-to-air fighter. But the brass fucked with the plane and added capabilities that degraded its performance envelope.

    When it comes to its fighters, the Air Force has never really figured out that with weapons, it's best to do one thing REALLY well, because when you try to get them to do a whole bunch of things, they never quite live up to expectations.

  • juris imprudent||

    Not just an AF problem - look at the Navy and the "modular" LCS. Or Marines and the EVF.

    Anyone here remember the Army's FCS?

  • juris imprudent||

    crap - EFV. If only there was a way to check before posting...

  • Redmanfms||

    Anyone who's familiar with military aviation knows that each service has unique operational missions which drive different requirements for their aircraft. So the question is this...is having the three variants cheaper than developing three different aircraft?

    The complexity of integrating everyones requirements into one airframe probably makes it a push.

    And yet you think a People's Liberation Army/Navy is a good idea...

    WOW

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You just don't listen Redman. A purple service still does all the same missions. You save money where those missions overlap, and MORE importantly, in consolidating administrative functions.

  • Redmanfms||

    No, I listen (or more accurately, read), I just think you're full of shit.

    Certain administrative functions are unnecessarily duplicated. I'd agree that the Air Force could be rolled back into the Army and the Marine Corps eliminated entirely or its amphibious capability become a function of the Army. But having "cross-trained" officers administering two completely different and totally incompatible defense functions won't work for exactly this reason (only increased by orders of magnitude):

    Same with the pilots. F-15/22 pilots are the best in the world at what they do. They do one thing, air to air, and only one thing, and they are fucking awesome at it. F-16/18 guys are okay at everything. No focus.

    Army officers should never have anything to with running a ship or overseeing those who run ships. Likewise, Navy officers shouldn't be running Army units. The Navy and Army are fundamentally different organisms down to their very administrative structure, for a fucking reason.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Again you're not listening.

    Why would an Army officer run a ship?

    Do you think missileers in the AF command flying units? Jesus Christ, fighter guys don't even command bomber units. You have your speciality and you stick to it. Why in gods name would you have an Army officer command a boat? You'd have officers who specialize in naval operations and land/battlefield ops and air ops, just like you do now, but you trim the areas of overlap and the support functions.

  • Redmanfms||

    You'd have officers who specialize in naval operations and land/battlefield ops and air ops, just like you do now, but you trim the areas of overlap and the support functions.

    The areas of overlap? Such as what, pay, disbursement, and accounting? Oh, that's already been done (badly) in the form of DFAS.

    There is little overlap in administrative functions. Fat can be trimmed from upper ranks, but administering the command and support of two entirely different services performing unique defense functions are in themselves specialized skills.

    Do you think missileers in the AF command flying units? Jesus Christ, fighter guys don't even command bomber units.

    You've repeatedly pimped the idea of "cross-training." What possible purpose would that serve if not to allow a non-expert to command (or administer, whatever) a unit not in their expertise field? You are essentially arguing against exactly the thing that would make your "purple" force possible to implement.

  • Redmanfms||

    You'd have officers who specialize in naval operations and land/battlefield ops and air ops, just like you do now, but you trim the areas of overlap and the support functions.

    The areas of overlap? Such as what, pay, disbursement, and accounting? Oh, that's already been done (badly) in the form of DFAS.

    There is little overlap in administrative functions. Fat can be trimmed from upper ranks, but administering the command and support of two entirely different services performing unique defense functions are in themselves specialized skills.

    Do you think missileers in the AF command flying units? Jesus Christ, fighter guys don't even command bomber units.

    You've repeatedly pimped the idea of "cross-training." What possible purpose would that serve if not to allow a non-expert to command (or administer, whatever) a unit not in their expertise field? You are essentially arguing against exactly the thing that would make your "purple" force possible to implement.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    What service are/were you in?

  • optimusratiostultum||

    that was how we got automatic and semi automatic weapons, Colt, Browning, Luger, Remington, Maxim and others designed their own weapons and then pitched them various governments

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    That used to be how we got new aircraft as well. Before it cost tens of billions to design them.

  • juris imprudent||

    That was in the day when a manufacturer could sell their wares to anyone in the world. Defense companies these days have only one customer - the U.S. govt. Either for sales to DoD or govt-permitted foreign sales.

  • LynchPin1477||

    70 percent much as originally advertised

    You mean 70 percent more?

    a daming expose

    I was about ready to make a snarky comment but apparently Daming is the name of several locations in China, so I hestitated. Then I read this

    The United States already accounts for fully 40 percent of the planet's spending on military and defense spending rose by 80 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2001 and 2012.

    and this

    a military aircraft graveyard packe with over $35 billion

    Hitting the bottle a bit early on a Friday, Nick?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Seven gorges or so? Make that gorgeous!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Department of Defense was going to buy even more of a plane that is already costing at least 70 percent much as originally advertised

    That makes it a 30% bargain in regular talk, or more in government talk.

  • Tim||

    If only we could trick the Chinese into developing bankrupting, useless weapons that take decades to deploy.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Yea, a plot that involves making plans, marking them "advanced" and "tip-top secret" letting them steal said plans and build them out.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Well, they are working on a carrier... and a moon shot.

    -jcr

  • juris imprudent||

    The plan is working!

  • ||

    If they are going to spend that much money on a needlessly advance fighter, can't they just go all the way and build an X-Wing or a Colonial Viper?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    They did.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, you know what I want? The fucking Eagle from Space: 1999. That's a bad-ass ship. Just go into orbit and blow shit up from there.

  • Entropy Void||

    Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

  • VangelV||

    I am sorry but while I agree that the program is a waste I do not see how Chinese magnets are a big problem rather than a solution. Given the fact that some of the components require specialty materials that the Chinese have in abundance but are not plentiful in the US it seems that the program will have to purchase the components from suppliers that have access to the specialty materials.

    I think that the piece would make a lot more sense if it concentrated on the amount of spending and the waste that is evident in the Pentagon, not where some screw or magnet came from. And for the record, magnets can't beam information to anyone. All components have to be built to exact specifications and are checked throughout the manufacturing process.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Recalibrate your sarcasm detector.

  • Jayburd||

    Alaska has plenty of rare earths but you know, we just can't seem to get at them for some strange reason. Kinda like the gold and 100 billion+ barrels of oil, natural gas etc etc.

  • Sevo||

    FRACKING!
    Do I win?

  • jonl||

    Sevo, why did you not request for a cite?

  • Entropy Void||

    Fucking watermelon Chi-Com Symps.

  • Specail Sauce||

    Just yesterday I heard one of the Team Red talking heads on Sirius radio (I believe it was Louie Gomert (R) who was filling in for Hanity?) panicing about the drastic cuts in defense spending under Obama. Then came the phone calls from outraged patriots! I just about threw up on the steering wheel.

  • db||

    Why would you want to listen to a political call-in show if you were worried about vomiting in your car?

  • jonl||

    What would a war time ROI need to be to justify the programs cost? At $25 million for the Chinese Chengdu JF-17 Thunder, the F-35 would need to shoot down roughly 65,000 without any losses.

  • Drake||

    Countries without defense contractors to subsidize are so much better off.

    India and Brazil just went through a process of having producers send them an example of their best fighters and a cost estimate. Brazil picked Saab, I forget what India did. Neither paid a penny in development costs that wasn't part of the purchase price.

    The Saudi Army did the same thing when they needed a new rifle - just tried out a bunch and decided they like the Steyr. No lobbing by the Senator from Colt or any of that bullshit.

  • optimusratiostultum||

    its sad but that is how things used to be in our country too.

  • ||

    Over 1 trillion bucks and the plane will get its ass kicked by the crafts of in the coming Strike Vector resource wars.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXD5MIPPRCw

  • Dave Krueger||

    Luckily we're talking about the United States. Otherwise it would be called government corruption.

  • db||

    Francisco, what about the F/A-18?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's a good Gen 4 fighter. It was an offshoot of the F-17 which lost the fly-off to the F-16 to be the Air Forces A-G fighter. The Navy slapped some big landing gear on it and bought it as the Navy A-G platform. It's got a limited combat radius because of the extra weight. The Navy has been using them (suboptimally) in an air to air role since they retired the F-14. They regularly lose to the F-15 in A-A engagements.

    The new Superhornets have upgraded avionics but I don't know if they increased the range at all. They won't survive in a 5th generation engagement.

  • db||

    I have a co-worker whose son works on the F/A-18 (as a computer guy for Boeing). As I understand, it is still pretty formidable. According to him, whenever they make software changes, the programmer has to ride with the test pilot on the test flight.

  • db||

    How much of the survival depends on the plane versus the pilot here?

  • db||

    In other words, would a U.S. pilot flying a U.S 4th gen beat at Chinese pilot flying a 5th gen machine?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It depends. As I said above:

    When I left my job at Wright-Patt in 06, after thousands of engagements, an F-15 had yet to score a single kill on an F-22.

    The pilot can make up for a lot of inadequacies in an aircraft, but a Chinese pilot flying and F-22 equivalent, is going to beat an American pilot flying Gen 4 stuff most of the time. An Iraqi pilot? A Canadian pilot? Who knows? ;-)

    And it takes less time to increase their training than it takes to build new aircraft.

  • OldMexican||

    re: Francisco d'Anconia,

    They won't survive in a 5th generation engagement.


    Do you know who will not survive a 5th Generation engagement? The taxpaying boobs that meekly continue to finance one.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The answer, OM, isn't to stop making cutting edge weapons, it's to stop using them.

    Adopt a policy of non-interventionism, allowing us to purchase fewer of them. Stay the fuck home and let the rest of the world protect themselves.

  • jonl||

    In this case a responsible BCR should have lead to a decision to stop making cutting edge weapons.

  • juris imprudent||

    Of course this whole debate assumes a one-on-one or one-on-a-couple kind of engagement. As I recall, the problem comes in if the enemy has numerical superiority even in an inferior platform. The fancy bird just doesn't have enough weapons (and the pilot's cognitive abilities) to defeat 4 or 5 attackers.

    I believe air-to-air also assumes you are not operating over ground anti-air.

  • db||

    The U.S. is the greatest country that ever subsidized the rest of the world in history. War, medicine, we have it totally covered.

  • RishJoMo||

    Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with it dude.

    www.GetzDatAnon.tk

  • OldMexican||

    $1.5 trillion is the cost of operating the air craft for 55 years, an amount that has been consistently increased as the program drags on.


    But it is all worth it because the F-35 makes for one cool plastic scale model. So keep spending it away, America!

  • Not an Economist||

    The DoD spends a lot of money making sure they don't get cheated and they get what they pay for. As an example, about 20 years ago, I saw an article on a GAO report on the DoD travel system. The GAO reported it would be cheaper to allow for fraud. The DoD declined to change its system.

    If you want to see a movie on the DoD acquisition system that while dated in some aspects, is unfortunately, far too accurate today is The Pentagon Wars

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    That's a hilarious movie, but you should check out the book, too, if you want a fuller description of what Burton had to go through--a used copy is about $75-90 on Amazon, so see if its at a nearby library first. It's more infuriating than funny, but extremely fascinating.

  • optimusratiostultum||

    I think that it is sad that people don't realize that we don't need to keep up with the joneses when it comes to military tech. America, in all of its wars prior to Korea, was well behind the military curve before starting the war. Yet somehow the first war we did not win was Korea. Another amusing factoid that war-hawks hate to consider is that all of the U.S. and its territories were acquired and protected without a massive peacetime military and accompanying budget.

    Blood and treasure are the sinews of war, there has always been (and hopefully always will be) plenty of patriotic Americans willing to answer the call. So why then, squander our treasure so frivolously during what is ostensibly "peacetime" (we may be at war with terrorism but it is as close to peace as we are likely to see in a long time, besides f-35's are not needed to bomb goat-herders f-15's would suffice.)

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    F-15s do not drop bombs.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Well, E models do.

  • 904cc||

    I love your attitude toward lying, then shrugging it off.

  • kevrob||

    Opty counting Korea as the USA's first non-win is inaccurate. US v. UK, 1812-1815, was arguably a tie. The Treaty of Ghent restored the status quo ante.

    Some think the Brits won, because we didn't take Canada. Some think the US won, because the UK was war-weary and didn't demand territorial or other concessions, such as creating a buffer client state for the British-allied natives of the Old Northwest.

    The tribes lost the war.

    Kevin R

  • 904cc||

    "F-15s do not drop bombs."

    I knew you were wrong about this as soon as I saw you shit the bed with it.

    Understand, you don't get to go through this thread acting as though you know what the fuck you're talking about, big dogging people because you were in the service, asking people what service they were in as if it matters since it didn't help you, and then make a fool of yourself by being wrong about something like that.

    You can shut up now, your opinion is worthless, largely because you need google and 12 minutes of searching to verify what you claimed, only to realize you were wrong and needed to save face.

    I fucking HATE you people.

    Shut up and go away.

  • juris imprudent||

    We don't bomb goat-herders with piloted aircraft any more. We now have the perfectly surgical drone strike!

    Notice that the discussion, even with FdA doesn't involve UAS vs. manned fighter.

  • 904cc||

    FdA is too short sighted and mentally constrained to consider things outside his personal bailiwick.

    Which is pretty much everything.

  • Frank_Carbonni||

    Maybe Francisco can explain this to me, but why is the F-35 a decent replacement for the A-10? I can see it as replacement for the F-16 and maybe the F-18 (as long that version has a reinforced body and the right landing gear), but the F-35 seems like an extremely poor replacement for the A-10 seeing as how it doesn't have as powerful as a cannon which is the main weapon of the A-10 nor does it have the armor of an A-10. In fact, the F-35 seems like it would be too fast and too fragile to be a useful close air support platform in a high-threat environment.

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