Gates “savings” are not savings

Gates claim of proposed DOD savings are not savings. In his big defense savings announcement he states that pulling $4B in procurement of the F-35 adds up to the big total.

“So where did we come up with the $78 billion for the top-line reduction?
* First, the approximately $54 billion in DoD-wide overhead reductions and efficiencies I described earlier in this statement, which included a freeze on all government civilian salaries;
* Second, roughly $14 billion reflecting shifts in economic assumptions and other changes relative to the previous FYDP – for example, decreases in the inflation rate and projected pay raises;
* Third, $4 billion of savings to the Joint Strike Fighter program to reflect re-pricing and a more realistic production schedule given recent development delays.”

According to Bloomberg, DOD has a letter about F-35 program fixes, $4.6B will be added to development. Worse, while Gates states that we should cancel the troubled F-35B STOVL for the USMC if it doesn’t work out in 2 years, the taxpayer still has to fund the purchase of F-35B mistake-jets.

How can anyone take the Gates “savings” announcement seriously?

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3 thoughts on “Gates “savings” are not savings

  1. Pingback: Food for thought | Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid

  2. >
    The Air Force will modernize the radars of F-15s to keep this key fighter viable well into the future; and
    It will also buy more simulators for Joint Strike Fighter air crew training.
    >

    As I have said before, most of today’s tactical training and weapons systems work can and will be done by simulators, both to protect GTW modes, codes and bandwidth and to allow full envelope (AMRAAM: 30nm, GBU-39/53: 50nm) and dense target set (EOTS as ISR) ‘realistic combat training’.

    Simulators will allow both Nellis and Tyndall to function for awhile on vaporware, though the moneys expended will be added to the totality of the monumental waste that is JSF when the program itself is shut down.

    If the F-35 performs like a lightly loaded F-16, then a lightly loaded F-16 (with EFE 132/232 engines perhaps) and ‘RCS adjusted’ radar/weapons system functionality can keep pilots current, the same way A-7s and T-38s kept F-117 jocks certified in the 1980s.

    Fully loaded, the F-35 is going to fly like a tank. And as a costly to maintain stealth platform, it does not make sense to aggressively expend it’s airframe life as a maneuvering ACM jet anyway. There is a reason the B-2 has a GTW mode that -limits- flight control throw responses you know…

    Golden Eagle is ‘On Golden Pond’ for an aircraft that really needs to be sent to the glue factory rather than be put out to ANG pasture on a pork rich diet.

    Here is where the total superiority of an agile UCAV over manned-anything also starts to make itself apparent as such platforms will essentially make a joke out of the ‘MITL decision making edge’ of a manned platform in any kind of high speed, highly dynamic, encounter. Doing the wrong thing, quickly, in numbers, is often better than the right thing, 2 seconds later. And a 15G, 2:1 T/Wr, unlimited AOA, platform is at least that far ahead of piloted airframes.

    Unfortunately, the UCAS-N bomber will never be able to fly a Mach 1.5 fighter sweep with an F-22 flight lead, even as a simple robot weapons pylon for the sensor jet. And we don’t have the funds to develop a full scale ‘Gen-6′ unmanned fighter design, did we dump the Just So Flawed tomorrow.

    I don’t see a way to fix this without going to a missile based (i.e. Turbo-AAM or ESSM/NCADE based), 250nmm, netcentric weapons system solution that essentially render the ‘fighter’ a weapons truck regardless.

    >
    They will buy more of the latest model F-18s and extend the service life of 150 of these aircraft as a hedge against more delays in the deployment of the Joint Strike Fighter;
    >

    This is indeed a hedge, and probably an unwise one, on Lot IV/V procurement of F/A-18EF as replacements for the existing fleet. i.e. They don’t want to give Boeing -too much- business or it will look like there is an alternative to the F-35 after all and we will lost Lunch Meat as tacair house altogether.

    I say unwise because any jet (early Es, now the worlds most expensive CASBAI and Whale platform ondeck) without the ACS/NFF is also a jet which will ALWAYS be without APG-79 as a baseline for advanced standoff warfare and thus a waste to invest more money in. Give them straight to the Marines or Finland or Kuwait or whoever has A-D models they need replacing. And buy new.

    Mr. Gates? You need to realize two things:

    1. We are ALL a lot smarter about this, our area of lifelong expertise, than you likely are. You’re just a bureaucratic ‘manager’ personality, shuffled into an generic administrative role for which you have minimal technical expertise to justify your presence or decisions with semantic word games in hollow sounding speeches.

    2. We all know, from 1999, Michael O’Hanlon’s written advice on the utility of a 500 airframe JSF fleet to go along with 90-120 F-22s in the wake of ODS experience.

    We all know Admiral Craig Steidle’s _bottom line_ quote in the (now removed) Code One online article which said 1,600 airframes was the minimum before upfront costs ate too much of the backend supply costs to make JSF economical to Lockheed Martin.

    3. With the USAF down to 1,100 airframes and the USN/USMC having been at around 250 each since 2001 while your own figures predict only 413 by 2016, what we -still don’t know- is the actual theater scenario model by which you plan to actually justify the F-35 in ANY numbers.

    See, in the sane world, _first you define the need_. Then you determine how much you will pay for it’s execution. Then you decide whether you can afford to meet that need using that particular solution. ONLY THEN do you sign a check.

    In this, you have to move on from the ODS F-117 model of 2 GBU-27s delivered from right over the target. Because 1999 OAF showed how easy it was, even with aggressive DEAD, for such a weapon delivery paradigm to be shot out of the sky, literally, using EOCG SAM and AAA.

    You also have to move past the JDAM-on-the-HQ from 15nm at Mach 1.25 of the F-22 engagement model because, apparently, that’s not (Mk.83/BLU-110) good enough either.

    And because, as OIF/OEF showed, most people these days simply evacuate the structure and go distributed, leaving you to bomb empty shells without much effect on the warfighter.

    No, the threat engagement model, you have to justify now is the one which says _EIGHT_ GBU-39/53, from upwards of 50nm subsonic and 80nm supersonic, are going to be required for X number of missions in the first Y number of days before you transition to the ‘legacy flow-in, follow-on, forces’ to bounce the rubble as the tanks role in.

    Specifically, you have to state how many aimpoints need to be hit in a given day and what percentage of those can be serviced by the F-35 -and no other- (Cruise or Raptor) based, penetrative system so that we know the theater conditional model you are planning to fight.

    Now, I know this gets into areas of doctrine and strategic policy and all the other _semantic excuses_ you use to justify not telling the truth.

    But.

    China knows how tough they are. They know how tough they plan to get. They are not stupid in realizing that, as the toughest new kid on the block, we will measure ourselves against them.

    The same truth applies to DPRK and Iran.

    While the -tactics- of how we would actually penetrate, behind a jammer screen, with cruise or decoy penaids or using IW techniques etc.. These things are not revealed by any admission of how many aimpoints in a ‘generic’ MRC/MTW you feel you need a maximum capability stealth penetrator to defeat.

    Thus, if you refuse to justify a continuing JSF SDD commitment by SPECIFYING the number of aimpoints the USAF/USN feel -they have to be able to hit under D1/R1 conditions- what you are instead engendering is a contempt for your ‘managerial’ emphasis on covering up defensive pork spending.

    CONCLUSION:
    What will kill or ennoble the F-35 is simply how much, per airframe, it takes to buy into this D1/R1 mission capability.

    Eight Bombs X 500 airframes = 4,000 aimpoints in a single sortie evolution.

    Halve that number for ‘support’ (Escort, SEAD, etc.) enablers since the Raptor is now not available to fulfill them, and you are still looking at 6,000 aimpoints serviced from beyond the reach of any reasonable target-area defensive system in a given first day of war condition.

    If 1,500 airframes = 127 million dollars per airframe or 190.5 billion dollars then, ‘all things being equal’ (and they won’t be because the COO logistical support profits will in fact go down), 190.5 billion divided by 500 airframes = 381 million dollars per airframe.

    The JSF is not worth three F-22 Raptors (117 million, 2003, one time, single airframe, flyaway cost). It never was, it never will be.

    And the program should be cancelled, just on that alone.

    We’re not stupid sir. Don’t give us cause to think you are.

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