The Flying Lemon


Reading the Project of Government Oversight report on the F-35, it’s apparent that the fighter/bomber is a flying lemon, and we the taxpayers are the unwitting buyers. The report claims that the F-35, built by Lockheed Martin, is weighed down with problems and, contrary to Air-Force assurances, not ready for combat.

“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews.”

This development is not surprising. The US’s system of military procurement is hindered by corruption, where the Military/Industrial/Complex, uses programs like the F-35 as opportunities  for price gouging and extra profits. By choosing the most complex, and expensive weapons systems, instead of simple, rugged, inexpensive ones, the MIC ensures that they will make exorbitant amounts of money far into the future. If they have to fix a bunch of problems on these expensive weapons systems, oh well. It’s cost-plus, after all.

“This is all further evidence of program mismanagement. There is still a long way to go to complete the development phase of the F-35 program, but rather than budgeting to resource that adequately, program officials seem to be focused more on expanding future procurement budgets. F-35 program officials both inside the government and at Lockheed Martin have repeatedly expressed their desire to ramp up from low rate initial production. They want Congress to authorize a block buy of 465 planes—with commensurate large pre-payments—for the United States and foreign military partners beginning in 2018.”

If a weapons system, like the F-35 works or protects us is a mystery, thanks to the very same information asymmetry that plagues used car sales, and causes people to purchase lemons. Weapon systems like the F-35, are controlled by incredibly complex sensors and computer software, “…with 24 million lines of computer code.” This complexity ensures that only experts, who usually work for the MIC, can understand and rate these complex weapons systems. Do you think that it’s a coincidence that high ranking military officers, when they leave the service, go to work for the MIC?

This article by Federico Pieraccini, at the Journal of Strategic Culture, examines the dangerous situation the US has gotten itself into with its corrupt military procurement program. While this procurement system might have sufficed when the US was fighting 3rd world nations without an air-force, it’s a real handicap in conflicts with competent opponents.

“Military spending is an essential gear in the machine of the US system of oligarchy, but the consequences are starting to drag down the future military capabilities of the United States. Its rivals are catching up, using systems that are more advanced, more economical, and more effective, while also easier to use or replicate. The military leaders at the Pentagon are starting to show telling signs of impatience, calling for a transformation that will be difficult to achieve, since it will require a sea change in the country’s top-brass establishment. The ultimate consequences are evidence of a pattern that is slowly draining Washington’s wallet and greatly reducing the competitive advantage that Washington possesses.”

I find it darkly humorous that the neoconservatives are having their dreams of empire derailed by the neoliberals penchant for looting.

I mean, how are the neocons going to impose their treasured no-fly zone in Syria with a flying lemon?


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