Motherboard has two excellent articles that take on the seriously flawed thinking in the Pentagon.
As part of its mission, the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about does its best to promote war and profit from it; its greed drives military leaders to constantly acquire bigger, more expensive weapons. In the case of the F-35 Raptor, they’ve spent $1.5 trillion — yes, Trillion, with a T — developing an aircraft that’s vastly over budget and seriously under-powered. And now, to cut costs and rush the planes into the field, the Air Force has watered it down. The manufacturer is set to deliver a jet that has no infrared missiles for air-to-air combat, no small GPS bombs, no cruise missiles, and no gun. One of its intended missions was close air support — and yet the plane has no small GPS bombs or guns. So, #MissionFailure. The F-35 is basically an overly complicated, hard to fix, incredibly expensive brick.
And was it needed? A lot of people say no. The one existing aircraft that can kick the Raptor’s butt in terms of close air support is the A-10 Thunderbolt, a.k.a. the “Warthog.” It’s a legendary Vietnam-era aircraft that does that job and does it incredibly well. The irony is that in order to pay for the piece-of-junk Raptor, the Warthog fleet had to be retired. Isn’t that brilliant?
But what about other planes? Is there something out there that can serve our ground troops with great air cover? Yep. It’s made in Brazil. And it has a propeller.
It’s time for the military to stop ordering expensive toys, and start equipping our troops with what they need. If they must fight wars, they deserve the right tools for the job.