Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Foreign countries wonder if the Pentagon ordered a gold plated dodo?

Once a week I spend a few minutes, or hours, reading foreign news sites and magazines.  I can read German if it's not technical or political, otherwise I go for English versions.

Around the world these days a few people wondering if the F-35 will make us a peace loving nation at last, by eating up the Pentagon budget, leaving no money for anything else, an army, or a war.

Actually it is more of a WTF question they ask.  How the hell can we be throwing our future and wealth away on this piece of junk?  The program amounts to 38% of the Pentagon procurement budget.  The price goes up by dozens of millions every few months, each time Congress is told this is the last increase.  Example, last year it jumped 16%, April another 4%, and we are only 20% through the testing program.  If we don't have more increases it would cost $161 million each, times almost 3,000 of these ruptured ducks, and to insure it's use, as they are built other planes will be junked forcing the F35 into use.  $1.5 trillion is the estimate to operate them for 30-40 years, that's fuel, repairs upkeep, that is also a record for a program, it didn't cost that much to keep all those ICBM's chilled and plugged in, this is absurd.

First, the program has shifted from a bid price program to cost plus.  The builder, Lockheed, is guaranteed a profit of (I don't know what but 5 to 10% is normal).  Do you think they give a shit if the costs go up?  The more it costs, the bigger number that percentage is calculated on.  Let the good times roll.
Second, and on and on: Its already the most expensive weapon in history and we don't have any of them yet except a few in testing and they betray the tax payer every time they can jump start one, trouble of all sorts, resulting in modifications to drawings and specs for the planes to be built, at a cost to modify the program, which runs the teat Lockheed and the aerospace industry lockjawed onto.  This is one of those programs where Lockheed worked hard to find a supplier from every congressional district in the nation, a built in 538 member lobby, not totally able to do it, but they found something to buy from most districts, and by the way that is not necessarly a formula to get the lowest bids and sure as hell buying parts from every district means you have to take freight costs out of cost for bids, which is absurd, I can be a dollar less for a heavy component in a near by state and you give the contract to someone in Maine or Alaska and pay hundreds for freight........ it's a puke stimulator ain't it?

The aircraft so far has performed spectacularly mediocre on it's best outings, and flat out disappointingly in the rest.  It appears it is good at nothing except keeping the aerospace industry in the US, England, and Italy employed.  So far, it will cost more than Spains GDP.  It's another dodo bird, yes it is a bird, but it does few things a bird should do, if Darwin was right, it will soon vanish from the earth.


  1. Darrel,
    This is the three in one solution! And, the thing is a buzzard or maybe a pidgeon.
    Thre F-22 is great! If breathing isn't an issue.


    1. Ron, this mornings news...Australia just announced it will buy fewer F-35's than they had signed up for, and they do not want to take them for a few years later than they signed up for. Read between the lines. They also have a few contractors to this program, let them make parts for a few years, then back out of the program, they are a big nation with small population/tax base. What they need is a lot of low cost aircraft, not 25 gold plated dodo's.


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