Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Monday June 02 2014, @11:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the buddy-can-you-spare-me-a-dime? dept.

The US military's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is proving to be a pain in the neck in more ways than one. Not only did the Pentagon spend almost $400 billion to buy 2,400 aircraft - about twice as much as it cost to put a man on the moon - the F-35 program is 7 years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget. This at a time when cuts in the defense budget are forcing the Pentagon to shrink the size of the military. CBS 60 Minutes took a closer look at the troubled fighter plane a few months back, but their rebroadcast on Sunday evening seems like as good a reason as any to revisit one of the biggest ongoing budget debacles in U.S. military memory. David Martin gets an inside look at what makes the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter the most expensive weapons system in history.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Monday June 02 2014, @05:23PM

    by evilviper (1760) on Monday June 02 2014, @05:23PM (#50304) Homepage Journal

    A dollar in the 1960s was different to a dollar now. Are the variables adjusted by some formula to give relative equality?

    Yes, the numbers were properly adjusted for inflation.

    I would presume the task of putting a man on the moon in the 1960s would have been a MUCH MUCH more costlier and harder problem to solve. So how come it ended up being solved for only half the cost of this project?

    It might have something to do with the fact that there were less than 20 Apollo rockets built, compared with 2,400 F-35s.

    Compare with the B-2 bomber program. There were only 21 built, yet the program totaled $44.75 billion as of a decade ago. Or the more-recent F-22 program, $66.7 billion for 195 aircraft.

    Also, in some ways the F-35 is far more complex than a space program... Rockets don't need stealth, advanced targeting systems, electronic jamming, super-cruise, thrust vectoring, etc., etc.

    IMHO, the whole F-35 program shouldn't exist. The F-22s should have been adapted for more of the duties the F-35 is slated for. The F-35 was justified as a cheaper aircraft, but the per-unit costs for the two craft are nearly the same. Half as many models, would have meant half as much R&D, and an operational fleet much sooner.

    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03 2014, @12:00AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03 2014, @12:00AM (#50463)

    The F-22s should have been adapted for more of the duties the F-35 is slated for

    ...and, where its characteristics for the mission are unsurpassed, the A-10 should have been retained. [] (orig) []
    The Air Force has always hated the role of supporting ground troops, however, so that would never happen.

    -- gewg_

    • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Tuesday June 03 2014, @05:13AM

      by evilviper (1760) on Tuesday June 03 2014, @05:13AM (#50532) Homepage Journal

      the A-10 should have been retained.

      While I love the idea of the A-10, much the way everyone loves the idea of the SR-71, the argument against the A-10 is compelling.

      Smart munitions have undeniably been effective replacements. Iraq and Afghanistan ground support has been carried out by B-52s or B-1s, as well as some drones, quite well. Ground troops get more support from long-lingering bombers than they would from many times more A-10s. There's something to be said for an airborne platform to launch smart bombs out of.

      Complaints about the potential of GPS jamming are not compelling, as laser-guided munitions pre-date them and remain in the arsenal.

      The article you linked, suggests that close combat support requires more than dropping munitions, which I'd like to hear about, but did not elaborate on the topic, nor did the link provide more information.

      I have the benefit of Monday-morning quarterbacking, where the writers of the article did not, I realize, but the effectiveness of bombers and drones in support roles has been proven effective over many years of operation, in a post-A-10 world. Similarly, attack helicopters have the capability to perform many of the close air support roles the A-10 was needed for, and in some ways superior to the A-10.

      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.