Amerika

The Joint Strike Bed Of Procrustes

stubby_f35_in_flight

The geniuses over at The Five-Sided Puzzle Palace outdid themselves with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. They would build that one big Death Star that would replace a variety of more specialized fighter aircraft. One size fits all. It’s the Post-modern panacea. It was supposed to work miracles. Just like the Bed of Procrustes. So just how well is this brilliant idea working out?

The program is six years behind schedule and tens of billions of dollars over budget. And now, 16 years after the JSF prototypes took off for their first flights, top officials are finally owning up to the trauma the $400 billion fighter program has inflicted on America’s finances and war readiness.

So the USAF has ‘fessed up to the f’up. They’ve come clean that they done took us all to the cleaners. But like all things Post-modern, the timing of this stunning admission is positively suspect. Like John McCain grumbling that he’ll build the damn wall after 12 million illegals have already waded El Rio Grande, this public candor is a basically just an old sex-grime encrusted dildo. If they were to compose a piece of music in honor of the F-35 Program Management Office it would “Circle Jerk of Cockless Conquistadors to be Played in F-Minor.” They’ll not only shut the barn door after the racehorse escaped, they’ll slam it. And stamp their feet and shake their fists in condign indignation even.

For at the same time as the admissions of guilt, the F-35 was passing several bureaucratic milestones that make it more or less impossible to cancel. Too much money’s already been spent. Too many well-established jobs are at stake. Too many F-35s are already rolling out of the factory……..At this point, abandoning the F-35 is politically impossible. Producing the jet reportedly involves 1,300 suppliers supporting 133,000 jobs in 45 states. The Marine Corps declared its first squadron of F-35s war-ready in July 2015. The Air Force expects to make its own declaration of combat-readiness by December this year, with the Navy following two years later.

Well, since the lemon is off the lot and it’s all been bought and paid for, we reach the climax of the gameshow known as Amerikan Democracy. Come on out and show ‘em what they win, Dom Pardo!

Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin’s program manager for the F-35 program, told reporters Tuesday that the cost of the F-35A — the Air Force variant of the aircraft — was expected to drop from nearly $100 million per plane to about $85 million by 2019, thanks to efficiencies and cost-cutting manufacturing technologies. The B and C variants designed for the Marine Corps and Navy, which are heavier and purchased in smaller quantities, are not included in the 2019 goal. By contrast, the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft cost about $60 million apiece.

So translating Program Manager Speak into honest English we learn the following. “We’ll start out Waaaayyyy too expensive compared to our Acquisition Program Baseline, but if you just bear with us, we’ll be sensitive and screw you all over far more gently once we’re in full production due to economies of scale. Now those other ones that the Navy and Marine Corps are buying are going to cost a bit more. So we came up with a dope deal not to count those when we quoted you our disingenuous unit cost stats. Of course Sam’s Navy would be way better off if they didn’t have to buy this crappy airplane, but now they have to. So fvck’em if they can’t quite seem to take a joke.”
And just what value do we get for such a ridiculously exorbitant and dishonestly quoted price? The DOD’s Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE) Agency has a well-earned reputation for a certain prickly honesty that makes them unpopular with those who push the establishmentarian narrative. They fail us not with respect to the F-35 Joint Strike Fist-Fvck.

The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) recently released a scathing assessment of the F-35 program as part of his annual report. Buried inside 48 pages of highly technical language is a gripping story of mismanagement, delayed tests, serious safety issues, a software nightmare, and maintenance problems crippling half the fleet at any given time. The report makes clear just how far the F-35 program still has to go in the development process. Some of the technical challenges facing the program will take years to correct, and as a result, the F-35’s operationally demonstrated suitability for combat will not be known until 2022 at the earliest. While rumors that the program office would ask for a block buy of nearly 500 aircraft in the FY 2017 budget proposal did not pan out, officials have indicated they may make such a request next year. The DOT&E report clearly shows any such block commitments before 2022 are premature.

So like the nineteen 9-11 hijackers who wanted to learn how to fly planes, but really didn’t care if you showed them how to properly land, the USAF is gung-ho on buying 500 models of an aircraft that may not be safe to even operate. This at a price that’s a huge multiple of its initial projected cost. It should surprise no one who qualifies as a sapient being that the USAF is facing a pilot shortage. It should also surprise no one that the smarter guys in the USAF brass are now dragging their feet on scrapping older aircraft that have actually flown into combat and come back a few times.
The leaders in the USAF have left their subordinates in an impossible scrape. The bosses have made them a Procrustean bed with an unworkable piece of hardware. Their standing orders are to lie in it. People with common sense and no great tolerance for pointless mortal risk don’t join. Those giving it all for God and Country are now having to pretty much pull a workable solution out of their rosy rectums. None of this optimal. None of this was how the plays were drawn up on the chalkboard back in the locker room. But this is what happens to the last brave and worthy men, piloting an overpriced and under-capable death trap, on behalf of a soulless empire sick with the cancer of declining social cohesion and trust.

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