Thursday, March 12, 2009

Modern Weapons and CPAs

"When Lt. Col. Lane Pilch climbs into his F-22 fighter jet, he is confident that he's about to fly the most advanced, fastest and stealthiest thing in the air. He boasts that to even compare his fighter to the workhorses of the Air Force, the battle-worn F-15s and F-16s, is unfair. 'People often forget the F-16 and F-15 are 30-plus-year-old aircraft,' he said, as several of the fighters in his 12-plane squadron buzzed overhead. 'You don't drive a 30-year-old car. You trade it in after six or seven years.' But you don't necessarily buy a Ferrari. ... In one of the new president's first major decisions on U.S. defense spending, future funding for the radar-evading stealth fighter will soon be on the block, affecting nearly 100,000 jobs spread across every state in the U.S. and impacting military planning for decades to come. Opponents say the more than $65 billion F-22 program is sucking money away from other, more immediate needs and might be better spent on a different plan altogether. ... Doubters in the [DOD], including [SecDef] Robert Gates, have been hesitant to build more than the 183 F-22s the U.S. is now committed to. That is a huge cut from the fleet of 750 planned in the late 1980s when the plane was developed as a counterbalance to fighters produced or planned by the Soviet Union. ... In tests against other fighters, it has shown itself to be unbeatable, with only 'kills' marked as a result of clear pilot error", Eric Talmadge at the Houston Chronicle, 22 February 2009, link: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/world/6274757.html.

"The F-22 Raptor is 'the most capable multiple combat aircraft in production today,' according to the think tank Air Power Australia. Yet only 203 have been ordered out of the original Air Force request for almost four times that many, and within weeks President Obama must decide whether to order more or let the assembly line close. ... Its stealthiness will make trigger-happy combatants shoot at birds. It has the agility, air-to-air combat abilities and missile defense penetrability far beyond that of the F-15 Eagle which entered service 33 years ago. It cruises at Mach-plus speeds without using fuel-guzzling afterburners. During Exercise Northern Edge 2006, the F-22 'fought' as many as 40 'enemy aircraft' during simulated battles, including F-15s, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and F/A-18-F Super Hornets. It achieved an incredible 108-to-zero kill ratio. .... Originally the Air Force requested up to 762, but the Pentagon's 1990 Major Aircraft Review reduced that to 648. This was subsequently cut to 442, then 339, then to 277, before the current 203, of which 134 have been built. ... Technology development costs are fixed. Each time critics slashed the F-22 order, they then cited the 'stunning increase' in per-unit cost to slash away again. This game has been played out with one weapons system after another, helping to explain why an initial plan for acquiring 132 B-2 Spirit bombers ended with a pitiful puchase of 21 of those incredible aircraft. At the current tiny order size, F-22s are $339 million each. But with the R&D paid for the current cost for each additonal F-22 is only about $136 million, according to the Air Force. ... 'Only the F-22 can survive in airspace defended by increasingly capable surface-to-air missiles,' declared Air Force Association President Mike Dunn in December. ... Yes, Virgina, we really do have potential enemies with weapons other than AKs and IEDs. We deperately need far more F-22 Raptors--preferably to prevent wars, but if need to to win them", Michael Fumento, 26 February 2009, link: http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelFumento/2009/02/26/raptor_program_must_keep_flying.

The article was titled, "Plane that never fought is in budget war". The title is an editorial in and of itself. The F-22 hasn't fought yet, so? The best plane may be one: THAT NEVER FIGHTS! Think about it. We buy fire insurance, yet do not want our houses to burn down. What idiocy, having 33-year old "top of the line fighters", see my 11 June and 12 and 26 December 2008 posts:


"More immediate needs", like what? Our Iraq and Afghanistan wars? We have trillions for banker bailouts but might not equip our fighter pilots with the best money can buy. Their blood is cheaper than that of: Lloyd Blankfein, Vikram Pandit, Henry Paulson, etc. Sometimes my fellow CPAs and I include Congressional Budget Office accountants, disgust me. What's the "opportunity cost" of losing our next major war? Opportunity cost, what's that? If SecDef Gates isn't a traitor, he's the functional equivalent. Why did POTUS Obama keep Gates anyway?
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"Cost", means what? If we build 203 F-22s the total program cost will be $69 billion. Let's not stop here. The $69 billion consists of: $41 and $28 billion of development and production costs, respectively. Whaat, the F-22's "marginal" cost is $136 million each? Yes. Let's build 800 more. It's just $109 billion. Cheap at twice the price in my opinion. $350 billion for Citigroup but not one-third of that to replace 33-year old fighters. SecDef Gates, go to hell.

Does anyone remember what Pentagon "Brain Boys" did during Vietnam to our F-105 pilots? It killed many and got others captured during "Operation Rolling Thunder", 1965-68. Sometimes even when the next threat is anticipated, it is ignored, like Fleet Problem 14, my 10 November 2008 post: http://skepticaltexascpa.blogspot.com/2008/11/us-air-force-rip-2.html. Reader Printfaster asked in response to my 1 March 2009 post, if I remembered Francis Gary Powers (FGP) ill-fated trip. I specifically recollect FGP was shot down 1 May 1960 over the USSR. FGP flew our most advanced 1960 reconaissance aircraft, the U-2A, supposedly untouchable at its then 85,000 foot ceiling. Khruschev said when FGP was hit he was at 68,000 feet. Why not? FGP "knew" the Rooskies had no SAMs that could hit him at 68,000 feet. The Rooskies had just developed the SA-2 which our pilots became familiar with in Vietnam. Yes, I remember. Reading suggestion, Vannevar Bush (VB) (1890-1974), Modern Arms and Free Men, 1949. Even our smartest are wrong. In 1949 VB estimated the USSR could not set off an atomic bomb for ten years. It exploded its first A-bomb on 29 August 1949!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes IA...

It made me ill to think of Citi getting propped up with 100s of billions and we forgo upgrading the arms our country...

Note to Pres-O...

Go slow on these big decisions... history will reverberate with the consequences...

Junior said...

BHO doesn't need top of the line fighter planes since the next war will be waged here in America against a grounded and crippled population of - shock! - Americans.

Think the tent city in Sacramento can afford planes? ammo? defense?

Talk about overstepping Presidential authority...

guntraders said...

You sure don't disappoint with your article. Very gripping indeed!

Independent Accountant said...

Guntrader:
Thanks. I frequently get flak over posting on "non-economic" issues. I say foreign policy and military capability to back it up if need be, are more important than whether or not Goldman Sachs investment bankers get $1 million bonuses. I would rather we buy 1,000 F-22s and never use them than use them.