In an alternate universe, let's call it Planet Sane, eyes would roll, heads would shake and tongues would wag over how a bloated project, like Lockheed's F-35 joint strike fighter didn't collapse under its own weight and simply die.
Fortunately for us, Lockheed itself furnishes a clear map of how something like this is structured to be on political life-support from Day One. Lockheed, like every other major US defense contractor, has mastered the trick of spreading the wealth to every state and every key electoral district. It's like an insurance policy - for the contractor. What politician is going to risk killing a defense project and be blamed for the economic hit and loss of jobs his region suffers in the result?
Go to the map and roll your mouse over it, state by state, to let Lockheed show you what a terrific job it has done of spreading the grease. As DodBuzz.com puts it:
Famed aerospace hubs Maine, Idaho, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico? Yep, they’re all on there, with many millions of dollars at stake in the fighter program. Lockheed itself appears to be the source of these numbers, but as the prime builder of the jet, it does probably have the best picture of all the suppliers and money on this program. The aerospace industry learned how to do this with the V-22 Osprey, which, according to defense myth, was fabled to have at least one component from all 50 states, and as such was better able to survive its often painful two decades of gestation.
Now, as so many of you are fond of music videos, here's Lockheed's own musical tribute to the F-35.
Knowing how to grease every palm available: it's a new art form.
A couple years back I worked for a division of Lockheed, a very small non military division but my representation contract came from their corporate lawyers. A third of the contract dealt with bribes, personal incentives, graf and six other ways to describe the practice.
They were not against the practice, they just wanted to explain how to report any occurances and which form to use. My first thought was there might be a budget I could access, but alas I was informed that they did not provide one for the CalComp plotter division.
I am hopeful this is the Military Industrial Complex jump the shark moment. Even the US military can not make this turkey fly. If it were a good plane maybe, but someone is going to say we are not going to go to war with a plane that barely flys.
What I find depressing is that dispite the overwhelming evidence that the F35 is a lead sled, neither the Libs or the Dippers used that line of attack.
Steve, you're right. The NDP and Libs completely dropped the ball on this. This airplane sacrifices everything that makes a first class fighter for one supposed advantage - stealth. It can't out turn, out climb or out run the opposition; it has but one engine; it has remarkably limited range giving the vastness of Canada's northland; it has a very limited weapons load carried in internal bays; and, operationally, it requires both tankers and aerial radar/command ships (AWACS) just to function - all for the sake of supposed invisibility. Now it's been demonstrated that its stealth is limited to X-band radar frequencies but doesn't work against L-band radars that our only potential stealth adversaries have learned can be fitted into their wing leading edges. So we're paying a gigantic premium and sacrificing every relevant performance attribute for a supposed technological edge that may be rendered irrelevant before this thing is even painted up in Canadian colours. And, as usual, the NDP and LPC are utterly asleep at the wheel.
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