F-35 Maintenance Costs

$42,000 per flight hour that’s 7 switchblade drones per hour. It raises the question of whether the F35 would be cost effective if we got the planes for free (not $80,000,000 each ). Currently F35s manage on average 11.2 flight hours per critical failure (I got that one partly from memory and partly from googling [f35 11.2 hours]. For one thing, that raises the question of how many will be available when they are needed. For another how many pilots will have to eject if the planes are actually needed and avoiding losing them somewhere in South Carolina is not the number one priority. But hey it’s worth the cost (and risk to human life) to deliver 8 bombs per mission . The bombs cost about $500,000 each, so each costs only about 90 drones.

Is this a joke ?

One lesson from Ukraine is that piloted aircraft have been roughly irrelevant. Russia has many more and has gained very little as a result (they are launching missiles from rear positions out of Stinger range which missiles could as well be launched from the ground).

Similarly, crewed ships are not decisisve. Russia has them and Ukraine doesn’t yet Ukraine is managing to ship grain (largely because the Russian navy is hiding from the Ukrainian cheap naval drone navy).

As others have noted, “Every Army in the World is Obsolete”

Ukraine isn’t racing forward because its military, like Russia’s military, is obsolete.

But then, so is China’s. And every military in Europe. And the U.S. military.

That’s not to say that any of these militaries are useless. Obviously, they are not. But what’s happening in Ukraine right now is a kind of “punctuated equilibrium” in the evolution of military operations. In Ukraine, drones—both aerial and aquatic—have reached such numbers and demonstrated such widespread capabilities, that many traditional weapons systems have become limited in their roles.”

This has transformed US miliatary procurement and strategic planning as demonstrated by … anyone .. bueller ? Well actually it hasn’t changed it at all, since the US is proceding with a continuing resolution (hurray for that) but, more generally, I see no sign that planning or procurement has adjusted. It’s almost as if actually preparation for actual possible wars (and therefore actual deterence of possible aggression) isn’t the point (as noted right here the day before yesterday).