Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why are we debating this?

Congress wants to keep producing the F-22. To purchase 7 more planes will cost the taxpayer 1.8 billion dollars. That's a hefty chunk of change. The question is, is the plane obsolete in this day of modern warfare where the battlefield isn't so much a field as it is an urban setting?

Seems to me that if we're going to produce any warplanes, perhaps we should revive the A-10 Thunderbolt which has played an integral role in both Iraq and Afghanistan. For some reason, I don't think we'll be going to war with Russia or China in the near future, and we really should focus on our more immediate needs. For comparison, the A-10 costs ~$11 million per plane, the F-22 costs $135 million per plane. So we save (even majorly perhaps) by providing planes which have an immediate practical use ... and then we bank the savings to pay down the debt. And we keep jobs because we're still manufacturing warplanes.

Of course, I may be oversimplifying things, and initial startup costs will be expensive ... oh whatever, just cancel all the damn projects. And if China invades ... Wolverines!

6 comments:

Genomic Repairman said...

I vote C. Thomas Howell for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Seriously, we are shifting from the conventional and even more outdated cold war model of battle to an unconventional one. I agree about the A-10s. Besides cannot they not still make the F15 and F16s, they may be a little outdated but who care. I understand keeping up with the joneses militarily but it shouldn't break our backs and our banks.

Thomas Joseph said...

With the case of the F-22 it's not even a case of keeping up with the Jones. I looked up China's Air Force (Wiki) and by the looks of it, they're at least a couple of generations of warplanes behind us. The F-22 will definitely dominate the skies ... the question is ... do we need more than 140 of them? I believe that is the current total we have in our arsenal.

Besides, I've always heard that China's main strength is their numbers, not necessarily their technological prowess. Seems the A-10 can address that quite readily.

Philip H. said...

And, if movies are to be believed (!) when we fight future wars the A-10 will be the plane of chioce! Seriously, Warthogs may be low and slow, but they get the job done, and their pilots get a lot more respect then other fighters.

Of course, if we stopped paying so much to other countries in military aid, we could save even more money . . .

Genomic Repairman said...

Lets face it, we could send out an 18 year old kid with a slingshot and beat most country's air forces. The few countries that might pose a serious threat, China, Russia, N. Korea (who probably does not have much) are what we have to be concerned with. Russia has an aging fleet of antique aircraft, and purportedly China is behind us in the game. Why do we need 140 new aircraft if it does not seem that we will be waring with China anytime soon. Although with Chinese airplanes I wouldn't be too concerned about then, they are probably too heavy to take off since they have lead in then anyway :).

Thomas Joseph said...

Philip: Foreign aid ... don't get me started! There are a lot of things I think we waste our money on overseas. It's bad enough that we throw good money after bad here in the US. Do we need to do it abroad too?!?

GR: LOL, and too true! If their military machinery performs anything like the products they ship over here, we really have no reason to worry about getting into a war with them.

Genomic Repairman said...

Debate over this has gotten a little heated over on the boards at WSJ.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203946904574302511270077996.html