My last post on the F-35 elicited a great comment from a man who’s been there and done that, as far as serving in the military. He’s served in two branches, pulled time with two tours in the infantry in Vietnam, and retired out as a Warrant Officer.
Here’s his comment:
“As far as that “…things change” crap, how about the A-1? It was an old beat up prop job that all the hot-shot jet jockeys (USAF) used to laugh at. Of course, it could loiter over the battlefield for hours, carry a boat load of ordnance, and blow the smack out of the bad guys sitting a few yards in front of your position. Just for grins, there were also documented instances of them going head-to-head with Migs and shooting them down.
“Things change? Not really. The procurement folks are always going to bought off by the Govt contractors, the military are always going to be stuck with the latest gee-whiz crap, and the taxpayers are stuck footing the bill.
“Whoever came up with the “Joint” part of this project pretty well made it bullet proof against cancellation. You’ve got all the services slated to get it, production facilities all over the country, (so lots of senators and congress critters will keep voting regardless of the merits), and lots of lobbyists raking in the big bucks to keep it going.
“I think “Joint” projects go along with “Comprehensive” legislation. You just keep throwing more and more stuff in there and everyone making money on the result is happy.
“The Army’s rotary wing aircraft seems to set a good example. They have a good variety of platforms, each designed for very specific missions. It makes sense to (1) identify the mission, then (2) design the platform. The design, testing, and deployment is much more direct and simple, and KISS is still a valid operating principle.
“Trying to force multiple missions on one platform is a sure recipe for disaster. B-1 Bomber anyone? Billions and billions spent, and obsolete before it was released.”
Keep the faith,
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and entrepreneur who spent nine years running a weekly newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.