A new whittle

by reader ilsm

More reason to worry about the USA’s AAA bond rating.

The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, United Kingdom Joint Strike Fighter, F-35 Lightning II (see P-47 from WW II Army Air Force fame) is the latest capability dream whittling away US resources, and stopping any war machine corporate welfare worries about Obama making any change in Washington. As the F-22 might go out of production at 183 useless money pits, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has given Lockheed a tit for tat. He is pushing the mostly untested F-35’s be paid for early.

May 20, 2009 the annual GAO report on the sham of the F 35 program, GAO 09-711T was issued titled: JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER; Strong Risk Management Essential as Program Enters Most Challenging Phase.

GAO found: development is slipping by 1 to 3 years and development costs are increasing by $2.4 to 7.4B, according to whether you compare early program office baselines to rosy revisions or less optimistic independent assessments. The department is not funding an alternate engine to the Pratt & Whitney F135 (they ignore the’ great engine war’ over the P&W F100 which made the F-16 a lawn dart). Manufacturing processes are not proven and there is doubt that 9 more test aircraft will be delivered by 2010. Test flying remains in its infancy and is far behind the F-22 at the same point in its development process.

Worse, the taxpayer is doing all this early buying using cost reimbursement contracts. These contracts mean that Lockheed gets paid whether anything happens or not. You and I are holding the bill for all the scrap and rework, and no one will terminate it because there are too many jobs at stake.

Back to Secretary Gates: With all the contrary indications the Defense is supporting raising production to 130 aircraft per year by 2015, that is almost tomorrow given the slow and faulty progress of the F-35 development to date.

To order these quantities under statute existing for years, the F-35 would have to go through operational test and evaluation and tell congress it is effective and suitable. That will not happen unless the definitions of effective and suitable are highly compromised (as the MV 22 and other systems).

It will be another build them all and try to make the thing fly. Good thing there is no need for the capability ‘promised’ to get the taxpayer to waste this money.

No risk management here, might as well whittle $240B worth of beaks.
by reader ilsm