Friday, December 21, 2018

Want to save money in the defense budget? No more F-35's, more modernized F-16's and F-18's according to the CBO!

Thanks to Super Rhino for the link!

via Flight Global.
The Congressional Budget Office floated a number of cost-cutting ideas for the US federal government including reducing the number of additional Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II purchases, retiring the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor or Rockwell B-1B Lancer bomber fleets, and deferring development of the Northrop Grumman B-21 stealth bomber.

As part of a report titled “Options for reducing the deficit: 2019 to 2028”, the CBO outlined dozens of cuts in discretionary spending, within and outside of the Department of Defense, that could close the US government’s gap between revenue and expenditures. The agency’s analysis was in light of a federal deficit that is projected to rise to an average of 5.1% of GDP between 2022 and 2025 – losses which would drive the federal government’s debt to levels higher than what was incurred during World War II.

The plan to cancel additional F-35 purchases between 2019 and 2028 is estimated to save the Pentagon $13 billion, according the CBO. Instead of buying the F-35, the US Air Force would purchase 510 F-16 Fighting Falcons, and the Navy and Marine Corps would purchase 394 F/A-18 Super Hornets, through 2028. Those purchases would occur on the same schedule as that currently in place for the F-35s. The services would continue to operate the 429 F-35s that have already been purchased.
Story here. 

Amazing isn't it.  I've said for a long time that the secret sauce to the F-35 was it's AESA.  If it had built on time it would be king of the skies.  Time has passed and now AESA is almost standard.  Internal carriage and stealth?  Mitigated by the detection range and modern computing.

In short, the big advantage that the F-35 has been whittled away.

Worse for the military?

The penchant for fighting dirt wars makes the idea of an entire fleet of F-35's seem foolhardy.  Why do you need (a supposedly) cutting edge fighter to bomb Toyota pickups?

Trump seems to be on a warpath.  Seems like he's ready to finally shake things up.  If he can hit the Pentagon and bring fiscal sanity there then trimming the budget in other areas will be much easier.

Whether we like it or not the threat of Pentagon cuts has been the primary protector of spending we don't like.  Discipline there might mean discipline everywhere.

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