Pe War is boring am gasit cateva idei care mie mi s-au parut excelente, asa ca am sa lipesc vreo cateva aici:

Kill It
It’s time to kill the F-35 as a production program and redirect most of its roughly $300-billion future cost into other, more cost-effective aircraft designs spread over a greater number of manufacturers. Taxpayers have already spent around $50 billion on the F-35, but that’s not a compelling reason to maintain the program in its current form. Rather, the F-35 should become strictly a prototyping and technology-development program, rather than a large-scale production program — much in the same way the Pentagon cut the Navy’s $5-billion-per-copy DDG-1000 “stealth” destroyer to just three hulls, meant mostly for experimentation. We’ve paid for 100 F-35s. Let’s put them to good use refining concepts and technology. But we shouldn’t buy more of them.

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Gates should reinvest that money in new and existing aircraft. Specifically, he should:

* Continue F-22 production at a rate of 20 per year, at a cost of around $4 billion annually. Add, say, 200 planes to current fleet. I admit I supported Gates’ earlier plan to truncate the F-22 in favor of the F-35, but circumstances have changed. A roughly 400-strong F-22 fleet could provide air-defense and defense-suppression capability for the Air Force, enabling bigger fleets of less-advanced jets to bomb and patrol with relative impunity. Extended F-22 production would help keep Lockheed happy in lieu of F-35 production.

* Replace F-15Cs with stealthier F-15 Silent Eagles, available from Boeing today. The Pentagon should negotiate to buy 20 per year for less than $2 billion, for a total of 200. Alongside 200 existing F-15Es, the newer F-15SEs would be capable of air-superiority and ground-attack within airspace sanitized by the F-22.

* Buy 400 F-16E/Fs from Lockheed for U.S.-based air patrols and, in wartime, “bomb-truck” duties alongside older F-16s. The new F-16s can be had for just $50 million a copy. Forty per year for $2 billion would recapitalize the U.S. Air National Guard before old-model F-16s age out. Between the F-22, F-15SE and F-16E/F, the Air Force would get 800 new fighters in 10 years, for the same price as continuing the F-35. The risk is smaller; the return is faster on the same overall investment; we lose no capabilities. Plus, the Air Force fighter fleet would remain at its current size of around 2,000 jets.

* For the Navy, sustain Boeing’s F/A-18E/F production at $2 billion per year for 40 jets, while adding new technology and weapons. The sea service should also boost investment in Northrop Grumman’s X-47 armed drone, or the armed Sea Avenger from General Atomics as a less risky alternative. For that, figure $1 billion annually. That funding would help keep Northrop and General Atomics viable as warplane-makers. In sum, the Navy gets enough planes on a sustained basis to avoid depopulating its carrier decks — and adds a new, long-range capability in the form of an armed drone.

* Direct the Marines to buy new F-18s: 20 per year should suffice, at a cost of around $1 billion. That would mean eventually surrendering fixed-wing operations from assault ships, currently performed by the AV-8B jump jet and originally slated for the vertical-landing F-35B model. Ending jump-jet ops does mean giving up a capability, but it’s a capability of marginal value. To replace jump jets on the assault ships, the Marines could add a few attack helicopters to the existing AH-1Z program, at marginal cost. Navy and Marine fighters flying from large carriers would cover beach landings.

* On the fringes, allow F-35 testing to continue, strictly for tech- and concept-development. Findings could fold into next-generation fighter programs starting in a decade or so. Around the same time, the Pentagon should start buying new bombers — something that might not be possible with the F-35 crowding the budget.

* Encourage U.S. allies to replace their planned F-35 fleets with Eurofighter Typhoons, Dassault Rafales, Saab Gripens, F-15s, F-16s, F-18s or light fighters from a range of manufacturers. As with the Marines, the only customers that will lose capabilities are those planning on using F-35Bs from assault ships. That includes the Italians, for sure, plus maybe Spain and South Korea. Again, this represents a capability of marginal value: certainly nothing to justify continued investment in an increasingly wasteful program.

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