A House of Cards

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Your tax dollars at work.

Problem-plagued missile defense system fails in $214-million test

By W.J. Hennigan. Los Angeles Times

July 5, 2013, 5:28 p.m.

The failure of the $214-million test Friday involved a ground-based defense system, designed by Boeing Co., to defend the U.S. from long-range ballistic missile attacks.

The Missile Defense Agency now has a testing record of eight hits out of 16 intercept attempts with the “hit-to-kill” warheads. The last successful intercept occurred in December 2008.

It’s a significant blow for the ground-based system of 30 interceptors in Alaska and California, which the Government Accountability Office estimated would cost taxpayers $40 billion from 1996 to 2017.

Despite the poor track record, the Pentagon plans to add 14 missile interceptors in Alaska to counter North Korea, which has issued threats since it tested an underground nuclear device and launched a small satellite. The Pentagon expects cost of the expansion to be $1 billion

F-35 fighter jet struggles to take off

By W.J. Hennigan and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

June 12, 2013

After a decade of administrative problems, cost overruns and technical glitches, the F-35 is still not ready for action. The program has consistently come under political attack even though the military considers it crucial to the nation’s defense needs.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, called this approach “acquisition malpractice” last year and said that predictions were too optimistic.

“Now we’re paying the price for being wrong,” Kendall said.

There are 61 F-35s already delivered, 81 completely built and others still being assembled at Lockheed’s facility in Ft. Worth, Texas. The Pentagon estimated that retrofit costs for the first 90 aircraft will amount to $1.2 billion.

Two decades ago, officials wanted 648 F-22 fighter jets for $149 million per plane. Eventually, the military ended up with only 188 at a price tag of $412 million each. Before that, the Pentagon wanted 132 new B-2 stealth bombers at about $500 million per plane. It ultimately bought 21 at $2.1 billion each.

F-22 program produces few planes, soaring costs

By Ralph Vartabedian and W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

June 16, 2013

When the U.S. sought to assure Asian allies that it would defend them against potential aggression by North Korea this spring, the Pentagon deployed its top-of-the-line jet fighter, the F-22 Raptor.

But only two of the jets were sent screaming through the skies south of Seoul.

That token show of American force was a stark reminder that the U.S. may have few F-22s to spare. Alarmed by soaring costs, the Defense Department shut down production last year after spending $67.3 billion on just 188 planes – leaving the Air Force to rely mainly on its fleet of 30-year-old conventional fighters.

“People around the world aren’t dumb,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita). “They see what we have. They recognize that our forces have been severely depleted.”

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-22 is the most lethal fighter jet in the world. But it has also become a symbol of a broken procurement process that’s failing to deliver advanced weapons systems on time, on budget and in sufficient quantities.

The F-22 was originally intended to replace all of the Air Force’s F-15 combat jets that date back to the early 1970s. But today those F-15s still represent the bulk of a so-called air superiority fleet – the jets that are supposed to outgun enemy aircraft and gain control of the sky.

The early cancellation led directly to a new advanced warplane, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that Lockheed also produces. Today, that nearly $400-billion system is headed in the same direction as the F-22, falling behind schedule, encountering serious software problems and suffering sharp cost growth.

On the day after Lockheed won, Rice declined to say that it was the better product and cited Lockheed’s superior management plan for the program.

In a recent interview, Rice conceded that the F-22 was not necessarily the better plane, saying, “There were some reasons to think that the YF-23 might be a better plane for the Air Force.”

The early termination of the F-22 has left the nation with a weaker deterrence to potential enemies, said John Pike, executive director of GlobalSecurity.org. China is building two stealth fighters, one of them able to operate off aircraft carriers, and seems able to build more than 188 aircraft, he said. “You’d have to be worried.”

Feel safer?  Still confident we can nuke Iran into oblivion?

This is what your elites have produced.  A house of cards.


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