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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.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by MostCynical on Monday June 02 2014, @12:21PM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Monday June 02 2014, @12:21PM (#50172) Journal

    Australia will buy 58 of these (plus maintneance contracts)
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-23/australia-to-buy-58-more-joint-strike-fighters/5405236 [abc.net.au]
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-to-buy-58-joint-strike-fighters-20140422-zqxvr.html [smh.com.au]

    Australia has therefore committed to buy planes with a 2220km (1380mi) range, when the closest possibe threat (Indonesia) is 2940km (1825mi) away.

    They can provide air support for the M1A1 tanks that were aslo bought from thre US (second hand, though)
    Austerity. New taxes. More defence toys.

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Dunbal on Monday June 02 2014, @12:53PM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Monday June 02 2014, @12:53PM (#50181)

    "Australia has therefore committed to buy planes with a 2220km (1380mi) range, when the closest possibe threat (Indonesia) is 2940km (1825mi) away."

    The military is for use against your own civilian population. Have you not been paying attention? (Libya, Syria, Ukraine).

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Monday June 02 2014, @02:29PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Monday June 02 2014, @02:29PM (#50221)

      Do they have any aircraft carriers?

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday June 02 2014, @02:57PM

        by c0lo (156) on Monday June 02 2014, @02:57PM (#50237) Journal
        I'm pretty sure US mil-ind complex would be willing to sell them some if the price is right.
        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02 2014, @03:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02 2014, @03:24PM (#50252)

        Can the F-35 land on a carrier?

        • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Monday June 02 2014, @03:32PM

          by Angry Jesus (182) on Monday June 02 2014, @03:32PM (#50257)

          > Can the F-35 land on a carrier?

          Yes

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agwKHeumcto [youtube.com]

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Monday June 02 2014, @04:30PM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 02 2014, @04:30PM (#50276) Journal

            In fact, this is one of the problems with the F35 design.

            Instead of building a custom aircraft for the Air Force, and a different aircraft for the Navy, and yet a different aircraft for the dense European airspace, they tried to do it all in one airframe with slightly different bolt on gear.

            Lesson learned. A separate airplane for each theater is likely going to be cheaper. If you need a follow on for the F/A18, let bids for one, and let the bidders decide which airframe they want to offer. Don't require it also be flyable by the Air Force, salable to Australia or suitable for operation in Norway.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02 2014, @03:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02 2014, @03:30PM (#50254)
      • (Score: 1) by axsdenied on Monday June 02 2014, @04:30PM

        by axsdenied (384) on Monday June 02 2014, @04:30PM (#50278)

        They are all too busy pushing back the asylum seeker boats :-)

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by quacking duck on Monday June 02 2014, @01:25PM

    by quacking duck (1395) on Monday June 02 2014, @01:25PM (#50192)

    Canada's ruling Conservatives also doubled-down on this mess a year or two ago, despite the fact that a single-engine fighter is inappropriate for patrolling the vast and mostly empty great white north. No one denies that our aging CF-18s need a replacement, but we need fighters that have a chance to make it down in one piece if one engine fails.

    The Super Hornet, while not the latest-generation fighter, is still "modern" enough for our needs. Even if Prime Minister Harper tries fulfilling some fantasy about taking on Russia directly in some far north dick-waving contest, it still makes more sense to go with a Super Hornet: based on cost alone, we could buy two Super Hornets for every one F-35, and we could buy them *now*, with roughly equal performance but missing the stealth advantages of the F-35.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02 2014, @04:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02 2014, @04:36PM (#50284)

    Australia has therefore committed to buy planes with a 2220km (1380mi) range, when the closest possibe threat (Indonesia) is 2940km (1825mi) away.

    If so then it's really for defense isn't it? ;)

  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday June 02 2014, @04:37PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 02 2014, @04:37PM (#50285) Journal

    Australia has therefore committed to buy planes with a 2220km (1380mi) range, when the closest possibe threat (Indonesia) is 2940km (1825mi) away.

    Things have changed since World War II, and aircraft don't have to be built to fly from their base to the enemy and back again.

    The Australian Air Force already knows this. (How come you don't?). They've ordered aerial refueling tankers [wikipedia.org].

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 1) by MostCynical on Monday June 02 2014, @08:57PM

      by MostCynical (2589) on Monday June 02 2014, @08:57PM (#50404) Journal

      Even with air-to-air refuelling, the f35 will have to refuel, perform its mission (including evasion and possible aerial combat), and return for refuelling (possible far) less than 1000km from the target.. Hardly ideal!

      --
      "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by isostatic on Monday June 02 2014, @05:03PM

    by isostatic (365) on Monday June 02 2014, @05:03PM (#50296) Journal

    I don't know, I watched this documentary about Austrailia being attacked -- the wall protecting Sydney lasted about 2 hours.