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Boeing Touts Fighter Jet To Rival F-35 — At Half the Price 497

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-is-it-a-robot? dept.
An anonymous reader sends this news from the CBC: "In a dogfight of defense contractors, the hunter can quickly become the hunted. It's happening now to the F-35. The world's largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, is trying to convince wavering U.S. allies — including Canada — to stick with its high-tech, high-priced and unproven F-35 stealth fighter. But the F-35 is way behind schedule, way over budget and, now, it's grounded by a mysterious crack in a turbine fan. After years of technical problems, it's a tempting target for Lockheed Martin's rivals. It's no surprise, then, that the No. 2 defense contractor, Boeing, smells blood... The Super Hornet, it says, is a proven fighter while the F-35 is just a concept — and an expensive one at that. ... The Super Hornet currently sells for about $55 million U.S. apiece; the Pentagon expects the F-35 to cost twice as much — about $110 million."
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Boeing Touts Fighter Jet To Rival F-35 — At Half the Price

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  • by waddgodd (34934) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @11:45AM (#43034901) Homepage Journal

    I hope they're being sold as "batteries not included"

  • This is not news (Score:5, Informative)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @11:49AM (#43034955) Homepage Journal

    Boeing has also been pushing the Silent Eagle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_F-15SE_Silent_Eagle [wikipedia.org] Which might be an even better choice for Canada. The thing is that Defending Canada is not that high of a priority of the Canadian military. It is working as part of NATO and for that the F-35 will be better. BTW this history of problems and doubt about aircraft is not new. Happened with the F-14, F-15, F-18, B-1, C-5, C-17, Apache, and so on. New airplanes have more problems than older aircraft.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "The thing is that Defending Canada is not that high of a priority of the Canadian military. "
      Isn't that any military's highest priority?

      Here at the Canadian Army, we taking defending our borders second to cutting down trees and smiling politely.

      The seem to be less concerned with overseas quagmires with regards to the air strike missions.

      " BTW this history of problems and doubt about aircraft is not new. Happened with the F-14, F-15, F-18, B-1, C-5, C-17, Apache, and so on. "
      or:
      BTW this history of p

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Frankly both the F15 and F18 as well as the F16 would be better choices for America than the F35. Like the F22 the F35 is a lame duck, its gonna spend more time on the ground than it will in the air, and its designed to fight an adversary that doesn't even exist anymore. Tell me who EXACTLY have we fought since the end of the cold war that a fleet of overpriced stealth planes, which have VERY limited range and armament because you can't mount anything external without making the stealth go away, but name ON

  • ROI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Krazy Kanuck (1612777) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @11:50AM (#43034965)
    Reaper drones run about 37 million per unit, it'd be interesting to see simulations of 3 reapers vs an F-35.
    • Given that big drones are being used for surveillance and ground attack of lightly armoured, unsophisticated Third World targets, no contest.

    • Re:ROI (Score:5, Informative)

      by PhxBlue (562201) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @11:57AM (#43035083) Homepage Journal

      I wasn't sure about that figure, so I went to look on the Reaper's fact sheet [af.mil].

      They're actually $53 million apiece. You could buy four F-16s with that.

      I'm going to go cry in a corner now.

      • Re:ROI (Score:5, Informative)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:14PM (#43035309) Homepage Journal

        That 53 million is for FOUR of them,. with ordnance.

        Yes, taking out the human saves a lot of money.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          withOUT ordnance. gah.

        • by PhxBlue (562201)

          Ah, thanks for the catch. I totally missed that part, and I wondered why the figure seemed so ... well, inflated.

          The MQ-9's a pretty awesome piece of hardware for what it does, but it's no replacement for an F-16 in contested airspace.

          • Re:ROI (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:05PM (#43036029)

            The MQ-9's a pretty awesome piece of hardware for what it does, but it's no replacement for an F-16 in contested airspace.

            ... and an F-16 is no replacement for a reaper when it comes to long duration reconnaissance, or operating in areas were the loss or capture of a pilot is politically unacceptable. They are different planes for different missions.

            What would be cool is to see what we could do if we set out to build a real air superiority fighter drone. We could have each defense contractor build a squadron, and send them out over the desert on a real shoot out with live ordnance. The winner gets the contract. The contest could be filmed and made into a reality TV show to mitigate the procurement cost.

        • by bitt3n (941736)

          That 53 million is for FOUR of them,. with ordnance.

          Yes, taking out the human saves a lot of money.

          that would be a great advertising slogan: "we took out the human so you can take out more humans!"

    • by Joehonkie (665142)
      Given the extremely slow comparative airspeed and the 2-second lag on controls, I'm guessing the Reapers would fare poorly.
      • by synapse7 (1075571)
        If the reaper flies into a lightning storm, it wins. Assuming the reaper can handle lightning.
      • by jandrese (485)
        Plus they are surveillance/ground attack aircraft. A Cessna 182 new costs roughly $400k, but I would still give the edge to the F-18 in a dogfight even though it is grossly outnumbered.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Let's not get ahead of ourselves. The reaper doesn't even have a radar suitable for detecting other airplanes and its only air-to-air weapons are the sidewinder and stinger. Even if the reapers somehow knew exactly where the F35 was, it would kill them all before getting even remotely near their weapons range. Even after the F35 ran out of munitions, it could simply run away from any number of reapers at multiple times their speed.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        It's not a good comparison for another reason.
        The reaper will probably become a drone.

      • by Discopete (316823)

        Screw running away, jetwash sucks. That little Reaper is going 300mph (full throttle, downhill with a tailwind). The F-35 just screams over it at cruising speed (probably around 500ish), interrupting airflow and the poor little drone loses lift and finds the ground.

    • The "declaration of war" is made by blowing satellites to bits. Without any satellites, the Reaper can't fly very far from the runway before running out of signal. (if even that... will it even fully power up without GPS lock and a verified long-range communications link?)

      World War III will not be fought with drones.

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @11:52AM (#43035001)

    The FA-18 has always been the underdog. When it was the concept fighter YF-17 it lost out to the F-16 from General Dynamics but the twin engines and the rugged features were a hit for the Navy, so that became the FA-18 now in it's Super Hornet edition, it is a very, very capable aircraft. What amazes me is that the F-35 program for all the promises hasn't been cut or curtailed. It still goes to show that McDonnel Douglas knew how to build planes and I'm still going to be sad when all those MD80, MD83s etc. all get sent out to pasture to. It reminds me of the Monty Python scene from "The Holy Grail" I'm not dead yet. And like Lazarus it keeps getting brought back from the dead.

    • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:11PM (#43037699)

      What amazes me is that the F-35 program for all the promises hasn't been cut or curtailed.

      That's because the F-35 employs the latest in multi-congressional district job program management. It is also far superior to the older F/A-18 E/F because the latter lacks the F-35's advanced lobby-based cash vectoring nozzles.

      • Oh that's cynical. Meanwhile in the UK, the Labour Party has just announced that if it wins the next election it will replace the Trident nuclear submarines, which has absolutely no connection whatsoever to the Labour votes from the Scottish shipyards, and sabotaging the campaign for Scottish independence. $40 billion for a useless piece of kit that cannot influence any foreseeable wars, but keeps the Scots onside. Perhaps that's it: it's called a strategic deterrent because it strategically deters the Scot
  • Sure the FA-18 has been a proven aircraft for some time, and IMHO should continue to be produced after the F-35 is flying, but it doesn't fit all the roles the F-35 is supposed to (I question that capability too). The F-18 has no vertical takeoff capability and upgrading to the same level of avionics I'm sure they are putting in the F-35 would be very costly.

    Ultimately the biggest advantage of the FA-18 is it handles its role quite well but it also dosen't try to do as much as the F-35 is. Though I'd li
    • by compro01 (777531) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:10PM (#43035235)

      The F-18 has no vertical takeoff capability.

      Neither does the F-35. Only the F-35B is short-takeoff-vertical-landing. The A variant takes off and lands normally and that's the one Canada is/was considering.

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:10PM (#43035239)

      The F-18 has no vertical takeoff capability

      So what? Neither does F-35.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:14PM (#43035299) Homepage

      The big issue is do you want one plane to do the job of three or do you want three planes to do the job of three? The F-35 was designed around the premise that a single airframe could be purposed into multiple roles. Except now the various F-35's have essentially different airframes. Yes, there are some similarities but overall, you aren't saving any money or time and you're losing flexibility - you have a bunch of expensive eggs in a small basket as opposed to a larger number of cheaper aircraft.

      The F-35 is designed to fight against other aircraft that haven't been developed. The F-18 / F-16 are still more than equal to other current fighters. In reality, the only enemy we need to be worried about it the Chinese and if we end up in dogfights with them, which philosophy - a few expensive, highly functional planes vs. a whole shitload of narrower role aircraft - do you think they will chose? (Yes, I know, they're copying the F-22 and F-35 but then again, so are the Iranians).

      • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:32PM (#43035617) Homepage Journal

        Except now the various F-35's have essentially different airframes.

        Ostensibly this means that the F-35 is a failure, in relation to its original intent. Still, though, if R&D is limited to one basic group of planes, then perhaps there could still be overall savings, even with a higher per-unit cost. Programs aren't limited in cost to the per-unit acquisition cost - there is at least R&D to consider in addition to maintenance and supply.

        The bigger trouble, though, is that these things don't seem to be very good at anything. For instance, the -B model, which can do VTOL for the USMC can't do that at austere locations. The USMC says it will have to pour special high-strength concrete pads for F-35 VTOL to work. OK, it's smaller than an air strip, but by time you secure an air base, get a concrete pumper in there, and let it cure, the Marines' job should be well over for a given operation.

        The Marines should use an Osprey if they need VTOL. The Navy can get them close enough and the Air Force can provide actual air combat.

        I say all this in light of the USG needing even more war planes, while it is threatening to cut Meals on Wheels, heating assistance, and air traffic controllers today instead of discarding unneeded weapons platforms.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:48PM (#43035817)

          The "austere locations" crap that the Marines keep talking about is just that: crap.

          What's actually going on is that, in addition to the eleven supercarriers that the U.S. Navy uses, they also have another nine "amphibious assault ships", which would be called a small aircraft carrier if they were in any other navy. (The newest design, the America-class [wikipedia.org], doesn't even have a well deck for launching boats; it's just a smaller aircraft carrier.) These carriers can't field catapault-launched aircraft like the F/A-18; they're more like the UK's carriers in that they only field helicopters and VTOL aircraft. Right now that means the Harrier, but the Harrier is a clunky old piece of shit and BAE ain't making new ones anymore, so once those wear out it's either F-35 or helicopters only.

  • by paiute (550198) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @11:53AM (#43035029)
    "Batteries not included."
  • by jest3r (458429) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @11:54AM (#43035033)

    From a Canadian perspective the big advantages of going with the Super Hornet is backwards compatibility (even more-so than the lower price).

    - The Super Hornet is compatible with the current RCAF in-air refuelling technology
    - The Super Hornet technology is an upgrade to what we already have - our techs are compatible / familiar with it
    - The Super Hornet does not require longer runways for landing - our remote arctic runways are compatible
    - The Super Hornet has landing gear better suited for icy runways - our weather is compatible

    It's not as stealthy but we are a defensive military.

    - The Super Hornet is also half the price.

    The Harper Government has a hard-on for the F35 and the Canadian public really has no idea WHY.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only thing that is correct about this is the air refueling technology.

      For all that, and 'half the price' (it won't be, two engines require a lot more maintenance than one) you basically deprive the RCAF of huge amounts of capability. The F-35 is a force multiplier. Having F-35's means not needing as much EW support or as much tanker support (because they already have plenty of fuel onboard, AND you don't need as many additional assets).

      The F-35 is better suited to return pilots alive from combat, and

      • Except that you're wrong, and the proven TCO of the F/A 18 Super Hornets currently on duty is half of the projected maintenance, fuel, and repair costs of the F-35. $16,000 per hour, instead of $36,000 per hour, as referenced in the article, and confirmed by phone calls to Lockheed Martin.
    • by JavaBear (9872)

      Looking at the smaller European countries, their politicians and decisions makers are also having a severe hard-on for the F-35, despite the abundant criticism of it, and it's budget, as well as doubt over it's actual capabilities.
      It is odd really. What is it that Lockheed have, that keep the greedy little bastards (Politicians) so focused on their design, while ignoring all the faults, and defects?

    • by Pope (17780)

      Yeah, I don't get it either. When Harper first announce the F-35 buying program, my first thought was "WTF? Why not the Super Hornet?" Guess we'll never know other than he likely had someone to get cozy to.

  • I have often have doubts whether these fighter planes really have any use nowadays. Especially dogfighting seems to be a bit outdated in times of cheap shoulder launched surface to air missiles. Moreover, there are drones, cruise missiles, etc. These planes look a lot like super-expensive adult toys to me. Could someone who knows more about military strategy explain to me for what purposes these kinds of planes are needed? What is the strategy behind them? What about cost/benefits? Is such a plane capable o

    • by jest3r (458429)

      Yes this is the question that the Harper Government has failed to answer!!! I'd love to hear the reasoning behind why the Canadian Military specifically needs F35's.

    • Well, Canada... I don't see much a point. They don't have many enemies, and since they're mostly defense-oriented you wouldn't need that many (or at least not Stealth ones). Sure they probably want AN air force but they don't need to go crazy with it.

      That being said... just because the US isn't in any conflicts with countries with fighters doesn't mean it won't happen eventually. Sure, right now drones and bombers appear to be all the rage... since we're mostly concentrating on terrorist factions or coun

    • Especially dogfighting seems to be a bit outdated in times of cheap shoulder launched surface to air missiles.

      Shoulder-launched missiles have a severely limited performance envelope. Besides, maneuverability is still a significant portion of why missiles often fail to hit their target. If you want to survive an approaching SAM, you had better be sitting in a maneuverable airplane.

    • by alen (225700)

      at some point the older aircraft become too expensive to maintain, rebuild, retrofit, etc. and airframe and everything else wears out. electronics die. less parts means it costs more per part.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:20PM (#43035427) Homepage

      There are multiple roles for small fighter jets:

      - Air to Air interceptors. Drones don't go all that fast and as of yet don't have the same sensor processing ability of a human being. You need somebody to scope out the situation and report back. Bonus points for being survivable. You also need somebody to protect the big slow transports.

      - Air to Ground. Yes, the drone can drop a hellfire or two. Absolutely worthless compared to an A-10. (Of course, we don't really have anything that is an upgrade to an A-10 but that's another issue). The current crop of drones are capable of blowing up fragile little meat popsicles but not a whole lot beyond.

      Yes, eventually we will have mecca wars with no humans involved. But not just yet.

      -

      • by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:41PM (#43038091)

        There are multiple roles for small fighter jets:

        - Air to Ground. Yes, the drone can drop a hellfire or two. Absolutely worthless compared to an A-10. (Of course, we don't really have anything that is an upgrade to an A-10 but that's another issue). The current crop of drones are capable of blowing up fragile little meat popsicles but not a whole lot beyond.

        Yes, eventually we will have mecca wars with no humans involved. But not just yet.

        -

        Just to be as accurate as possible.... An A-10 is NOT designed for the fighter role. It is an "attack" role airframe, specifically designed for attacking armored ground targets in this case. It's not that an A-10 cannot be used for ACM, or that the pilots don't train for air-to-air situation, it's just not it's role and wasn't designed for this kind of thing so it pretty much sucks as a fighter.

        How can you tell? Well, in the US we use the first letter to designate an aircraft's role. "C" - Cargo (C130, C5 etc), "A" - Ground Attack/Close air support (A10, AV8B, A-4, etc), F - Fighter (Air to Air platform, F-4 F14, F16, F-18 etc), "O" - Observation (OV-10) , T = Trainer, K = Tanker. Some aircraft have two letters. FA-18 means an F-18 outfitted with Ground Attack capacity that can still do Air to Air missions.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      don't compare 'dogfighting' to what you see in the movies. It takes place in a much larger air space, and you don't need to visually see your target.
      expensive shoulder launching missile to don't reach 20, 000+ feet in the air. They are also slow and detectable.

      If you are dog fighter 1 mile above the ground in an advanced fighter, something has gone horrible wrong... and good luck.

    • by jandrese (485)
      Well, if you didn't have them and Russia invaded, you would automatically lose the air battle, which is bad in modern warfare.

      It's hard to imagine a scenario where this actually happens though. MAD worked and first world countries just don't invade each other anymore.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Modern air defense systems are getting more and more sophisticated in counter missile technology. At some point, and the hypothetical is that you are engaging someone in the next 20 years (the minimum before you even start thinking of another replacement aircraft) with counter missle tech, you need a stealth system to infiltrate far enough into enemy airspace to deliver munitions before the air defense can respond. Stealth on missiles would drive their cost up to ridiculous levels (as well as the maintena

    • by Xest (935314) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:34PM (#43035627)

      Not to bitch at you personally, but it's a pet hate of mine seeing the tired old "These things are useless nowadays" arguments.

      People were saying the same thing years ago about the Sea Harrier here in the UK, then the Falklands happened.

      The point is, just because we're fighting low tech opponents hiding in mountains right now, doesn't mean we wont be fighting a completely different type of war tomorrow.

      These sorts of military purposes are made not because of what's going on right at the time of development, but as a piece in the larger military puzzle that'll be expected to have a life of 20 - 30 years. A lot can happen in that time - in the last 30 years cold war style dog fighting was still a very real prospect, and manned jets were essential to missions in The Falklands, Yugoslavia, and Iraq.

      Whilst we're at a point where drones could replace some functionality, the Slashdot mindset that drones can replace every manned air function is false. This wont always be the case, but right now maintaining a manned air to air presence is smart unless you want to risk being caught with your pants down.

      Put simply, it doesn't really matter what type of wars we're in right now or have been for the last 10 years, the question is, can we absolutely guarantee that there will be no use for manned aircraft in the next 30 years? Is it 100% guaranteed that there wont be say, a small skirmish over disputed islands between China and it's neighbours? Can we absolutely guarantee that Russia wont attack an Eastern European state that is more strategic to the West than Georgia was requiring some intervention? The answer is no, absolutely not, we most certainly cannot guarantee these things, and whilst that remains true, these new planes serve a purpose - getting rid of them, even if they only act as a deterrent and they never actually have to be used, would only make such scenarios more likely.

      The likes of Chinese pilots in their new stealth aircraft would love nothing more than a turkey shoot of pathetic drones with their lack of situational intelligence and awareness, their high latency and so forth in a combat situation in 20 years time.

      Regarding your question about avoiding missiles, shoulder launched SAMs tend to have pretty limited altitude, and even more expensive systems don't necessarily seem particularly effective. Remember that Israel flew some older F15s/F16s right through some brand spanking new Russian bought Syrian SAM batteries to blow up their nuclear program and out again without incident.

      It's about insuring against the unknowns over the next decades until drone technology is genuinely mature enough to completely and utterly replace it. That's what it's about.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Could someone who knows more about military strategy explain to me for what purposes these kinds of planes are needed?

      As far as I can tell, the goal is to be able to deal with the Russian and Chinese air forces if those countries chose to attack us. Of course, there are other ways of preventing those kinds of attacks, like diplomacy and trade, but we don't have time for cheap and sensible solutions!

    • by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:02PM (#43035999)

      I have often have doubts whether these fighter planes really have any use nowadays. Especially dogfighting seems to be a bit outdated in times of cheap shoulder launched surface to air missiles.

      Dog fighting outdated? Not so fast!

      Those who don't know history, are bound to repeat it.

      The art of the dog fight has been dismissed as unnecessary before. Military planners who thought they knew, dismissed the need for dog fighting by saying "Hey, we have missiles and radar, nobody is going to dog fight anymore!" Poof! We got the F4 Phantom, which was a great interceptor with a really powerful radar, but a less than ideal platform for dog fighting. You could quickly get your opponent in range, but you had better kill him with the first missile shot because if you got into a turning fight with most of the opposition, you where going to loose in the bulky F4. We adjusted tactics and used the F4 high speed to swoop in, shoot a missile and bug out at Mac 2 before getting shot at. Didn't always work that well, but it helped keep the kill ratio up. We struggled with that oversight for decades until the F-16 came along and fixed the problem and allowed us to dog fight again.

      History teaches that Air superiority requires both advanced missile technology AND superior dog fighting capacity. Stealth is a great feature, but it is only going to really help if you can shoot the opponent before he can see you. Once you are in visual range, you had better have the best sustained turn rate and a gun or you will loose (which is where the F4 failed).

      You may not need flocks of F-35s, but having some is a good idea. Having flocks of F-18's is not a bad idea, as it's a fine dog fighter too. I vote we buy a mix of about 1 F35 to 4-5 F18's myself. But don't.. Please don't dismiss the importance of dog fighting to air power.

  • We are approaching a limit here, where the cost of a single advanced fighter equals the national budget. Before we reach that limit, the price will go high enough to make it too expensive to ever actually risk an advanced fighter in actual combat - couldn't afford to lose one...
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:19PM (#43035401) Homepage

    From the inception, the F-35 seemed to me like it was doomed to failure.

    It was a massive development project which was set up in such a way as to try to convince allies to buy this plane before any existed and have them fund the development. It was supposed to have several different variants including a VTOL one.

    It's been plagued with cost overruns, delays, and almost everything else. It's always struck me as an obscenely expensive plane with a lot of risks, and as countries are starting to ask "do we really want this", it could leave those still in the program with mounting costs since it's no longer being paid for by as many governments.

    From the start, this was a program designed to get everybody to help pay for a pie-in-the-sky plane which was completely unproven. This is just a program to line the contractor's pockets, and for the US to try to get someone else to help pay for it.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people warned about how this would happen, but they got ignored. If anybody thinks this it's a surprise that F-35 program has been ridiculously expensive with very little results, they haven't been paying attention. And unless Boeing already has a plane in the works, I'm not sure I'd believe their claims of being able to do it cheaper any more than Lockheed's.

    • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:29PM (#43035581)

      I've only looked at a few projects from the 70s to 80s, but aviation contracting is chocked full of bullshit promises and bribes to beat out the other guy. Contractor A uses corporate spies to find out what Contractor B's bid will be, then promises to do it in 75% of the time for 75% of the cost. If that doesn't work, promise the colonel running the evaluation a juicy 7-8 executive job after retirement. Boeing has been busted a couple times doing this.

      After you've got the contract, it doesn't matter how long how much it takes for you to finish since the government is locked in based on how much they've already invested in you. So long as you keep it cheaper for the government to stay with you rather than axe the program and start over with Contractor B. PROFIT!

    • by Binestar (28861) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:44PM (#43035775) Homepage

      And unless Boeing already has a plane in the works, I'm not sure I'd believe their claims of being able to do it cheaper any more than Lockheed's.

      *sigh* It's in the summary. The Super-hornet is what they are talking about. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_F/A-18E/F_Super_Hornet [wikipedia.org]

  • We have zero need for advanced dogfighter and air superiority craft currently. What foreign power are we planning to dogfight against? Over what potential enemy do we not already have complete air superiority?

    I can't really blame the aerospace companies though. The government said "Here's a couple billion $$ to build some war-planes," without ever putting critical thought into whether or not we actually NEED a billion dollars worth of war-planes. But Lockheed isn't really going to argue, so they start

  • Why buy either plane???? The F-35 is a dog and keeps getting grounded and has yet to see a day a service. We're talking hundreds of billions on a plane there's serious question whether we need it at all! Drones are cheaper and save pilots lives and the biggest claim against them so far is they are doing too good a job at taking out targets.
  • by Dishwasha (125561) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:32PM (#43035613)

    Where's the open source 3-d printed fighter jet project? Should I go ahead and start the Kickstarter project for that?

  • Half the price, okay, but still... I remember when the F-18 started out as the YF-17, which I read about first back when I was in junior high -- in 1975 -- and the design dates back into the 60's. Actually "half the price" for an aircraft design that is 40 years old seems kind of expensive.

  • It's welfare for the wealthy. It's yet another overblown, overbudget money pit to keep the Military Industrial Complex employed and well-funded, while Congress tries to cut every social program, including the FDA, because the country is broke.

    Can someone explain to me why we have 50 million hungry in America, including 17 million children, while we lavish billions that will stretch into the trillions, for a fighter plane we don't need.

    If the name of the country I was describing was "Sudan" or "Chad", where

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:27PM (#43036299) Journal

      Can someone explain to me why we have 50 million hungry in America, including 17 million children

      I can try, but you might not understand.

      The number you are citing most likely comes from the USDA ERS report about food security. It does not represent people who ARE hungry, it includes people who had to buy less desirable food at some time during the year, but they still got enough to eat.

      The number of those who are actually hungry, who ate less because they didn't have enough money, is much lower. Among those are people who don't know how to manage a budget and ran out of money just before a new paycheck came. The number of people who are actually starving is very low. We have government programs to deal with these problems already.

      Now, I think we should reduce our spending on warfare, but you at least should understand the numbers you're throwing around.

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