Another $21 Billion Worth of Pentagon Welfare Orphans?


How much healthcare would this have paid for?

The new F-35 Program Executive Officer, Vice Admiral Mat Winter, said his office is exploring the option of leaving 108 aircraft in their current state because the funds to upgrade them to the fully combat-capable configuration would threaten the Air Force’s plans to ramp up production in the coming years. These are most likely the same 108 aircraft the Air Force reportedly needed to upgrade earlier in 2017. Without being retrofitted, these aircraft would become “Concurrency Orphans,” airplanes left behind in the acquisition cycle after the services purchased them in haste before finishing the development process.

Left unsaid so far is what will become of the 81 F-35s purchased by the Marine Corps and Navy during that same period. If they are left in their current state, nearly 200 F-35s might permanently remain unready for combat because the Pentagon would rather buy new aircraft than upgrade the ones the American people have already paid for. What makes this particularly galling is the aircraft that would be left behind by such a scheme were the most expensive F-35s purchased so far. When the tab for all the aircraft purchased in an immature state is added up, the total comes to nearly $40 billion. That is a lot of money to spend on training jets and aircraft that will simply be stripped for spare parts.

Sum up all the money wasted by the Pentagon preparing for global thermonuclear war – throw in the minimum cost of our military stationed in 150-170 countries [varying according to who we’ve pissed off this month] – and you have the biggest cumulative waste of GDP in the history of the world.

6 thoughts on “Another $21 Billion Worth of Pentagon Welfare Orphans?

  1. Hanger Queen says:

    “With the F-35, Industry Is Holding Taxpayers Hostage : Support contracts invite abuse” http://warisboring.com/48277-2/ “Defense contractors are creating complicated support systems for the increasingly complex weapon systems the Pentagon buys, which allows the contractors to secure long-term contracts for which they have no competition from other companies.
    The F-35 serves as the ultimate example of this arrangement. Under the current plans, the American people will spend $406.5 billion for research, development, and procurement for a fleet of 2,456 F-35s.
    That’s a staggering figure, but it pales in comparison to the costs to sustain the program. These costs are expected to top $1.2 trillion through 2060, the expected lifespan of the program. That’s around $30 billion per year. While the sustainment-to-acquisition cost ratio for the F-35 program is roughly equivalent to the historic average of 70:30, the way in which the Pentagon and the contractors reach the 70-percent figure adds more than simple financial costs to the program.”

  2. Freedom isn't free™ says:

    “Up to $11.9B for B-52H Maintenance & Modernization” (12/5/17) https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/up-to-119b-for-b-52h-maintenenace-modernization-06583/
    “B-52 bomb-bay upgrade declared ready for combat” http://www.janes.com/article/75906/b-52-bomb-bay-upgrade-declared-ready-for-combat As noted by the USAF, the enhancement, which forms part of the wider 1760 Internal Weapons Bay Upgrade (IWBU) for the B-52H, affords combat commanders a much more flexible weapons selection without the need to request additional air support.

  3. Smilin' Jack says:

    The Pentagon is facing a cost increase for what was known as Block 4 modernization of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) ranging between USD6.9 billion and USD12.5 billion, according to a key lawmaker and a Defense Department official. http://www.janes.com/article/78443/pentagon-faces-major-cost-increase-on-f-35-block-4-modernisation F-35 Block 4 modernization is now known as Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2)

  4. 4theRecord says:

    (March 19, 2018): “The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. According to the latest annual report from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), 263 “high priority” performance and safety deficiencies remain unresolved and unaddressed, and the developmental tests—essentially, the laboratory tests—are far from complete. If they complete the tests, more deficiencies will surely be found that must be addressed before the plane can safely carry our Airmen and women into combat. Nevertheless 235 of the deficiency-ridden aircraft have been nominally designated “combat ready” and delivered to active Air Force and Marine Corps squadrons – despite the F-35’s continued inability to perform most of the functions it was designed to provide as a close support aircraft. http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapons/2018/f-35-still-no-finish-line-in-sight.html

  5. Hop Harrigan says:

    Some F-35s gathering dust waiting for repair parts https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/06/some-f-35s-gathering-dust-waiting-for-repair-parts/ According to a GAO report, the lead time for some F-35 replacement parts could be two years or longer. Between waiting for parts and time spent offline for upgrades, F-35s worldwide were unable to fly 22 percent of the time between January and August of 2017. The GAO report, published last October, warned of “sustainment challenges” faced by the F-35 program—many of them because of poor planning and delays in bringing repair parts suppliers and depots onboard.
    …the average life of the short take-off, vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B’s landing gear tire is less than 10 landings—a problem resulting from the aircraft’s heavier weight than its conventional take-off cousins. It’s simply difficult to engineer a tire capable of handling both vertical low-speed and conventional high-speed landings. The F-35B has also failed some structural testing, with the first aircraft used in tests literally falling apart. And the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS)—software that combines diagnostics and repair functions with part inventory and verifies that the correct parts have been installed properly—has continued to get poor reviews.
    Based on some estimates the long-term cost of maintaining the F-35 fleet as it ages may be so high that the Air Force will have to eliminate a third of its planned F-35 purchase to stay on budget. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-28/air-force-risks-losing-third-of-f-35s-if-upkeep-costs-aren-t-cut (“Operating costs may force cutting 590 fighters, analysis finds : Half of support expenditures are spent on contractor support”)

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