It must be great times for the pentagon: a blockhead in the white house who’ll spend any amount on “defensive” weaponry, and law-makers from both parties that will sign any check so long as it’s for wars. Shopaholic heaven!
So what if the F-35s didn’t turn out to be very good for any purpose except a single very expensive stealth strike against another high tech nation? We can supplement them with a new plane, by calling it a new version of an old plane and making it sound like it’s not a new design. [bloom]
The U.S. Air Force outlined a five-year plan that showed the extent of the Pentagon’s push to bring back Boeing Co.’s F-15 fighter in an upgraded version, a $7.8 billion investment that would jump from eight of the planes next year to 18 each year through 2024.
While Lockheed Martin Corp.’s newer F-35 would get $37.5 billion over the five years, the more advanced plane would still take a hit. The service now plans to buy 48 F-35s each year from fiscal 2021 through 2023 instead of the 54 previously planned.
The F-15 was an “air superiority fighter” – an aircraft designed to knock down other aircraft. It totally makes sense to buy a load of those because 99% of what the air force does anymore is drop bombs on civilians who can’t shoot back, through skies that have been swept clean of aircraft by the fact that the target cannot afford anything expensive. The defensive capability of late-generation capitalism: our airplanes are so expensive nobody can afford to fight.
Meanwhile, another $20bn or so is being devoted to the B-2 bomber, and dog knows what else.
General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Pentagon officials decided to buy the F-15X partly because it’s “slightly less expensive for procurement than the F-35, but it’s more than 50 percent cheaper to operate over time and it has twice as many hours in terms of how long it lasts.”
That’s a very clever roundabout back-handed damning with faint praises way of saying the F-35 is an overpriced hangar queen. So, since it is, let’s buy some other stuff too! I’m surprised they haven’t resurrected a 2.0 version of the A-10.
So the F-15X initiative is not some cold-call Boeing pitch, it was born out of hundreds of ever-strengthening discussions between various stakeholders within USAF and the aircraft manufacturer. All parties involved had worked hard not to disclose the talks out of respect for ongoing procurement programs and the USAF’s stated needs.
In other words:
“Daddy look what I found, can I keep it?”
The various stakeholders did whatever they could to protect the money-valve, which is jammed in the full “on” position.
They are also painfully aware of the “Sinclair effect”: if it becomes known that you have a better version of a product in the works, it may cannibalize sales of the current version, while customers delay purchasing until you’ve got a product that is
not crap better. Surely the big customers already know. It’s not the death-knell for the F-35, because the US is going to buy loads of all the airplanes, but foreign purchases of the F-35 will, I predict, dry up: [wib]
Israel is asking the United States for a squadron of advanced F-15 Strike Eagles and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotors as part of a “compensation package” for lifting American sanctions on Iran. The package would be worth more than $3.1 billion according to reports.
Wait, what? Is the US going to get the money back now that Trump has put sanctions back in place?
That’s not without precedent when it comes to Israel – the United States is subsidizing its purchase of the F-35 stealth fighter. Tel Aviv is paying for its first batch of 19 F-35s entirely out of the military aid that the United States provides it with. The country has thus far ordered 33 F-35s while securing a special deal to integrate domestic components onto those jets – a consideration that hasn’t been offered to any other nation participating in the program. It also has the option of buying 17 more jets under the contract.
“Those planes you gave us the money to buy from you aren’t very good, so we want more money so we can buy more planes from you.” That’s doing ‘economic stimulus’ the right way.