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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fighting The Fighter

Feb 16th, 2011

F-35 Publicity Still
Having railed long and hard for the total abandonment of the F-35 Fighter program, it was pleasing to read today that there is finally some momentum in congress against the project. 

Elise Foley reports for HuffPo:
"More than half of the House Republicans voted on Wednesday to earmark $450 million in funds for a duplicative fighter-jet engines that the Department of Defense has repeatedly said it does not need. But a bipartisan coalition, including just over half of GOP freshmen, voted against the F-35 engines, approving an amendment to strip an expenditure long bemoaned as pure pork, but defended by members of Congress from the states who would benefit from the project." EMPHASIS OURS

Well, it's a start. The real goal for both the budget conscious and the military brass should be to mothball the program completely. No endeavor in the last 20 years has better embodied President Eisenhower's perennially unheeded warnings about "the military-industrial complex." The total cost for the the targeted fleet of 2500 planes is now at a whopping $382 Billion dollars

The F-35 is a radar evading plane designed to battle an enemy that not only does not currently exist, but one that can't possibly be created by any potential adversary for decades. No other country in the world has an air-force at this time that can match our existing F-22 Raptor fleet. In fact, to suggest that our air supremacy is at risk in any form at all, including from a potential future Chinese threat, is as patently false an assertion as can be made.

The project is also a boondoggle. In developing the program, which is beset by cost overruns and spiraling charges of mismanagement by Lockheed Martin as well as other vendors, our country has engaged in an arms race without an opponent. Indeed, the so-called "second engine program" which congress took aim at today was only conceived in an attempt to grapple with the failure to meet targets for the first engine. Another pressing concern is that the F-35 is just not particularly well designed.

Alas, we have far to go before cutting this and so any other weapons systems which are at the very root of our nation's fiscal crisis. 

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