Friday, May 04, 2012

FP on the F-35

"The Jet That Ate The Pentagon"

I had read that early studies that put the JSF's performance into doubt had been refuted...but that might be false. The price tag problem seems irrefutable.

I have a private theory about such projects and their cost. (I'm thinking of, e.g., the Osprey etc., too.) My theory is that the principals know that there will be huge cost overruns, but they are fine with that. They basically plan to give Congress price X, knowing that the ultimate cost will be closer to Y. The cost overrun is not a bug, its a feature. Ramping the cost up slowly minimizes the chance of cancellation. Congress will also be loathe to cancel a project if significant money has already been sunk in it.

Rumsfeld was a disaster, but I was kind of psyched when he cancelled the Crusader. Not because I knew enough to make an informed judgment about that particular system, but because I thought it was important for a big project with lots of momentum to be cancelled. (Though Rumsfeld was just enforcing his own ill-founded vision on the Army, as it turned out.) We were tricked into buying the Osprey--which may ultimately prove to be a good decision for all we know--by what seemed like individual acts of dishonesty, so that couldn't be an object lesson.

I kinda sorta hope we make the point with the F-35--you can't just sell us crap and ramp up the price indefinitely.


Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

The DoD and Pentagon spending is sacrosanct and long ago War Profiteers realized they could run up huge profits by selling the "latest and greatest" hardware to the military while engaging in a massive amount of fraud waste and abuse.

4:43 PM  

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