Home / Robert Farley / F-35 and What Not

F-35 and What Not


I talked Afghanistan and naval procurement policy with Alyona last night. The latter starts around 5:35.

And if you listen closely around the 4:30 mark you can hear my daughters screaming at each other.

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  • wengler

    I saw this last night and at first I thought the screaming was coming somewhere in my house. I would’ve thought you’d at least have flinched.

  • rea

    naval procurement policy

    I thought that was the Marines and the SEcret Service.

  • Brutusettu

    A quick reminder about Rob Portman since his name has been thrown around as a possible VP candidate. Portman loves the alternative engine for the F-35, even though the DoD doesn’t want the thing.

    But what is a couple billion dollars of pure waste by fiscal conservatives if $800K of waste by the GAO is a horrifying event?

    • Marek

      GSA, not GAO.

  • timber

    The screams of your children (daughters !) ..
    entirely understandable .. (thanks for the heads up !)
    Keep up the excellent and extremely valuable work ..
    as I Canadian I value it highly..

    I do suggest folks keep Bob Dylan in mind, when things get tough overseas
    Songs like ‘John Brown’ (a good old-fashioned war)
    may bring folks closer to the surreal, violent, bizarre aspects of war..
    or Steve Earle’s ‘Home to Houston’ .. or Rich Man’s War’
    or perhaps simply watch Breaker Morant or Gallipoli
    for a rude crude mean dose of smelling salts..

    Lee’s troops at Antietam did not have iPhones.. a few scribbled on shreds of paper. A few British officers made diary entries before storming the Plains of Abraham in Quebec. Custer no doubt wrote home about the bad injuns.. and how he intended to school them, before he lost his hair in the Black Hills, without the aid of Google Earth

    I guess what I am saying is .. question the US wars – loudly – carefully
    but expecting/questioning diplomatic niceties and behavior from 19 year old warriors ..
    immersed in wars with bizarre rules of engagement .. ?
    Its a kill or be killed (or blown up) environment.. where your adversaries (such an idealistic term) can track you via your cel phone or photos GPS data ..
    Its hardly surprising that grunts or Marines take scalps or ‘count coup’ when they win.. instead of ‘losing’ .. ie dying or being maimed themselves..

    Do I condone the behavior ? No .. No .. No ..
    Do I understand that it exists in the vicious extreme reality of war … I believe I do
    Should we pontificate, on safe ground, from home or Starbucks or the beach ??????
    Play ‘John Brown’ again .. and listen


  • Manju

    Do the Farley Girls have access to stealth warfare technology? Cause I can’t hear nothing.

    • catclub

      The 4:03 mark, not the 4:30 mark, by my ears.

  • NBarnes

    Sometimes I wonder who’s going to pay the price for the horrible, horrible policy failures that led to the F-22 and F-35 programs. Anybody? At that dollar price, you’d think someone would be interested, at least, in a ‘what did we do wrong?’ hindsight paper.

    • mpowell

      I’m sure many will be written. But I doubt anyone is going to take the fall for this one. It’s the result of a complicated process involving lots of actors and I don’t see how you could produce a scapegoat. We’ll simply move forward and pretend everything was fine instead. Most of the people who matter are actually fine with the result.

    • joe from Lowell

      Funny you should ask that during this of all weeks, when the Space Shuttle is being paraded around like it’s the Spirit of St. Louis, or the first jeep, or something else that was useful, successful, and not a crippling dead end.

      Have you seen anyone even suggest that abandoning rockets for the Space Shuttle was a bad policy?

      • njorl

        It seemed like a bad idea to me at the time. I decided it was probably an anti-satellite weapons platform with another application which defrayed the cost.

        I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the shuttle is being eliminated shortly after effective jet-launched ASAT weapons are demonstrated.

        • mpowell

          How would rockets not have done the same thing? I think the space shuttle was just a dumb idea produced by the mediocre minds of some high level managers.

        • Charlie Sweatpants

          “It seemed like a bad idea to me at the time. I decided it was probably an anti-satellite weapons platform with another application which defrayed the cost.”

          Can’t find a source at the moment, but I read somewhere that at least part of the original pitch to Congress was that it could be launched in an emergency to spy on the Soviets. That’s nuts, of course, but good luck explaining that to a Congressman who just got an erection imagining low orbit as a place that could be controlled by American space troopers.

      • NBarnes

        Actually, yes. A lot of scientists who have business with or interest in the space program have complained long and loud for the last thirty years that the space shuttle is a gigantic waste of money that could be spent on real space research.

        Might just be that I hang out with a lot of utopian futurists.

        • joe from Lowell

          A lot of scientists…

          Yeah, and that’s about it.

          A lot of scientists said it was too cold to launch the Challenger, too.

    • Medrawt

      I would presume anyone who “deserved” to pay the price is either on their way to retirement or already there. Per wikipedia, the original RFP for the F-22 was issued in 1986 – the article on the F-35 is a little more opaque at rapid skim, but it had gotten going by the early 90s. I remember being in grade school and avidly reading Tom Clancy’s nonfiction “tours” of submarines, Marine Expeditionary Units, etc. The “Fighter Wing” book came out in the mid-90s, talking up the F-22, which wouldn’t enter service for another decade. The development for these aircraft has almost covered my lifespan to date, and I’m turning 30 this year.

      (Given US superiority in various avenues that are likely to become obsolete within my lifetime – like, say, manned air superiority fighter jets – I’ve always wanted to ask someone like, I suppose, Robert Farley, whether in an ideal world it would make sense for the US to just decide to “skip” a generation of technology development, manufacture some new upgraded versions of their existing jets/tanks/etc., and actually focus on developing whatever will be coming down the pike in 15-20 years anyway.)

      • 1. It’s hard to say what will be hot in 20 years; lotsa people in 1992 probably said “drones” but lotsa other people said different things, and difficult to figure out which direction to look.

        2. Once you ramp down your defense industrial base, hard to ramp back up again; infrastructure and human capital costs extremely high (which is not to say it’s a bad idea).

        But the Navy is kinda doing this; one guess is that they may just build some Super Duper Hornets and wait for the next manned/unmanned fighter.


        • Some Guy

          God, I so very much hope they do exactly that, and call them Super-Duper Hornets. F/A-18SDs.

          Isn’t this basically what they’re doing with the Burkes, anyways? I bet more people would be on-board, so to speak, if they changed the class name to Mega-Burke Prime.

  • I can’t say that you have ever mentioned winning the Masters before, but congratulations.

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