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July 4, 2014

So, the U. S. military discontinues the RAH-66 Comanche program after spending $1 billion when it had a working, applicable stealth helicopter it simply decided not to deploy. It opts to keep older, less advanced rotor aircraft and divert resources to micro-air vehicles (vehicles that are much less useful for deployment of soldiers or resources, and things that we haven’t seen in any useful capacity since the Comanche was scrapped). Fine, whatever.

But the Pentagon insists on throwing more money into the hole that is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It already cost almost $400 billion without fuel consumed, pay for the pilots testing this big paperweight, the immeasurable loss of not investing such time and effort into something else more practically viable, and we don’t have a single one deployed in a useful capacity on any forward base because of its constant issues. Granted, new vehicles are sure to have them–the tilt rotor MV-22 Osprey does and I still think it is one of the most promising new weapons and transport platforms of the modern age. But after $400 billion dollars I think the government should leave it to long-term research and development rather than forcing it into service like this.

Why does the government insist on funneling more money into the F-35 rather than, say, infrastructure or something with tangible gain? Or a different fighter, one for each respective service until a JSF is practical? Because we promised to sell it to foreign powers. Other countries are asking for the new toy and our government sees dollar signs. It matters little the expanse of developing this vehicle in great numbers, mostly with the intent to sell it, is going to be greater than any revenue it offers for the next three decades when (or if) it is viable.

How many stars on the fancy hat does it take to rob a military of its tactical reasoning? Probably more than the zeros in the bank accounts of military manufacturers like Lockheed Martin.

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