Monday, January 28, 2019

Could budget deficits kill the F-35?

via National Interest.
Another option is to save $16 billion per year by not buying any more F-35s, and instead using older designs. “Under this option, DoD would halt further production of the F-35 and instead purchase the most advanced versions of older, non-stealthy fighter aircraft that are still in production,” CBO explained. “Through 2028, the Air Force would purchase 510 F-16 Fighting Falcons, and the Navy and Marine Corps would purchase 394 F/A-18 Super Hornets. 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.”

“An advantage of this option is that it would reduce the cost of replacing DoD’s older fighter aircraft while still providing new F-16s and F/A-18s with improved capabilities—including modern radar, precision weapons, and digital communications—that would be able to defeat most of the threats that the United States is likely to face in the coming years,” CBO added. “The F-35s that have already been purchased would augment the stealthy B-2 bombers and F-22 fighters that are currently in the force.”

Another $18 billion would be saved ff the Navy stops building Ford-class aircraft carriers after the third vessel in the series is completed. CBO points out that the existing fleet and the carriers under construction would maintain the current size of the carrier force for a long time because the ships are designed to operate or 50 years,” CBO said. “Three Ford class carriers, including the Enterprise, have been delivered or are under construction. They will replace the first three Nimitz-class carriers when they are retired in the 2020s and early 2030s; so as late as 2036, the Navy would still field 11 carriers under this option.”

Other options include canceling development of the B-21 stealth bomber, slashing the Navy’s ambitious plan to buy 301 ships over the next 30 years, and reducing the number of nuclear weapons.
Story here.

Budget meet trainwreck!  The crazy thing is that the Pentagon knows this.  Congress has told them this.  Trump even sent a shot across the bow.

After 2020 its almost a given that budget increases will be gone with the wind.

Which brings us back to the F-35.

This program has been so late.  So filled with if not fraud then waste and abuse that its hard to fill sorry for the Pentagon.


I suspect that all these glowing stories of how the F-35 can flex into killing ICBMs, or how its gonna provide the Marine Corps a new way to kill ships is nothing but what it seems.  Propaganda designed to save a flawed and late program.

Everytime I start to edge toward learning to accept the F-35, reality slaps me in the face.

The reality is stark.

We had a short time period to reset/modernize our forces and it appears that we've squandered it.  The F-35 played a part in this and for that alone the airplane will go down in history as one of the biggest boondoggles in military history.

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