Saturday, November 18, 2017

F-35 propaganda critique..."how they want it to perform, but not how it performs today.”

via The American Conservative.
They call Washington a bubble. A la-la land. Home of the “Deep State.” A long-forgotten 1980’s television series, ‘Tales of the Darkside,’ once described “a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit” as our own world. Sounds a bit like Capitol Hill.

Nowhere was that more evident than yesterday, as defense industry giant Lockheed Martin hosted an auspiciously-timed reception on the Hill to tout its multi-billion dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which as anyone reading in this space would know has been more than 16 years in development, and plagued by everything from poor performance reviews and cost overruns, to grounding over a lack of spare parts and tussles over technical data and cybersecurity concerns.

Then there is the expense to the taxpayer, which as of June is projected to be more than $406 billion to complete, and another $1.4 trillion over the life of the program to be maintained. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said at the time there was a 60 percent increase in the cost estimates from 2001 to 2012 due to three major restructurings of the program. But the military kept building more planes—even delivering them to partner countries—throughout the development stage, even though operational testing has yet to begin, and won’t, until late-2018, at the soonest. That’s left the taxpayer with at least $1.7 billion in retrofitting costs as plans change and more technical bells and whistles are put onto the planes. Spare parts are in short supply, and the funds to retrofit all of the older prototypes aren’t readily available. Marine Corps Capt. Dan Grazier at the Project for Government Oversight (POGO) reported in October, that may leave some 108 planes behind as “concurrency orphans,” not fit for service, ever. At more than $100 million per plane (the military has so far built more than 250), that’s a lot of coin to be left idle in a hanger.
 But what “we want” and what exists today are two different things. As Grazier pointed out to TAC, the planned event was an exercise in the former, a carefully designed artifice that emphasized the hoped-for outcomes of the most expensive program in U.S. military history, while downplaying the very real problems as momentary turbulence. Even the simulator, the flashy draw at the corner of the room, boasted capabilities that recent reviews have said the planes don’t have quite yet.

“It was a great sales pitch, it was interesting, it was neat sitting in the cockpit,” he said afterwards. “But it was a display of the brochure promises, not the finished design. It was how they want it to perform, but not how it performs today.”
Story here. 

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