"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Are the F-22 and F-35 the Tip of the Iceberg for Taxpayers?

After reading this article from IBD and starting to write up comments, it hit that this is only the tip of the iceberg in the Air Force for wasting money. It is easy to spot the waste of money when we are talking about a new shiny plane like the F-22 or F-35, but what about other peripheral but extremely necessary systems that are wasting millions and millions of dollars.

Starting next week we will delve into the contracting world of the Air Force -- you will be left shaking your head, shocked, and angry to realize these are your tax dollars at work.

We are going to give you the background that has led up to this point starting in the early 90's when checks and balances pretty much were thrown out the window. Those checks and balances lie at the root of the problem that a lot of things wrong on the F-35 were not discovered a lot earlier. This is not a Democrat or Republican problem as it spans four Presidencies starting with GHW Bush to Barack Obama.

One example of this culture of 'mega and bright, shiny, and new' found its way into the Automatic Test Systems (ATS) group at the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC). We will detail what is happening and how this one small program that is so vital to the weapons systems is wasting millions of tax dollars and planning to to turn that into the billions by their actions. In the process, they will be putting over 60 business entities out of work and hiring lots of civil service.

ATS affects every Air Force weapon system including the F-35 which was promised to have the latest and best ATS ever. Is Lockheed going to deliver that product promised in the contract or are they out of money and will have to rely on the depot?

We filed the Freedom of Information paperwork not only on the ATE but also on the F-35. We received a reply back that was extremely short on data (none) and long on half truths and arrogance on ATE and nothing on the F-35.

With over 100 years of experience between us dealing with the Air Force as military, employees, and contractors, you know when something isn't right. That is what has happened to us when the FOI answer was received.

Read this article below which is excellent, but understand this is only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned next week for the beginning of a series that details not the F-35 but other systems as well and how it relates to our tax dollars.

F-22 Or F-35: The Plane Truth
Feb 5, 2010

Defense: The administration decision to scrap a proven aircraft in favor of a supposedly cheaper, more flexible replacement is proving to be an expensive mistake. We may wind up defenseless and broke.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that was supposed to be America's frontline fighter for the foreseeable future is in big trouble. Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired the general in charge of the program this week amid concerns of spiraling costs and program delays.

Gates also announced he is withholding $614 million in fees from the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin. Daniel J. Crowley, one of Lockheed Martin's project managers, has acknowledged that the program is running at least six months behind schedule.

Gates was questioned about the program at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. He said he was unaware of a report by a special Pentagon assessment team in late 2008 that found development of the plane could be delayed by 2 1/2 years with $16.6 billion in cost overruns. Judging by his decisions, he is not unaware that the F-35 program, designed to fill the needs of all three services, is in trouble.

After hearing Gates' testimony, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said: "I'm still concerned about whether the services will get the (Joint Strike Fighters) when they need them."
He's right to be concerned: Further program delays will drive up per-unit costs, the wings are literally falling off our F-15s and F-16s, and the administration has killed further production of the F-22 Raptor. With what will we fight?

We've seen this one-size-fits-all, on-the-cheap procurement policy before. The 1960s saw the development of the TFX (Tactical Fighter Experimental), later the F-111, which was supposed to fill all requirements from being a land-based fighter-bomber to a carrier-based aircraft. It wound up too heavy to be a carrier jet and not fast or agile enough to be in a dogfight. Other aircraft had to be procured to fill those needs.

Production of the F-22 Raptor was capped at 187 in the defense cuts slated for the fiscal 2010 budget, with the last aircraft slated to be delivered in late 2011 or early 2012. It was felt we couldn't afford both an F-22 dedicated to air superiority and the F-35, even though the latter is vastly inferior in both air-to-air combat and ground-defense penetration.

The Raptor is perhaps the only plane that could evade the sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system Russia has contracted to sell Iran. "Only the F-22 can survive in airspace defended by increasingly capable surface-to-air missiles," declares Air Force Association President Mike Dunn.

Source: IBD

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