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#1 But the F-35 had better be a lot better than the F-18 to justify the price tag.
That is in comparison not just in performance and maintenance, but against what real world threat. Hyping Chinese prototypes and potential is an old game, played with the Soviets for decades, of those who want to expend resource in their own little bureaucratic empire.
Posted by Procopius2k 2013-03-17 01:03||
#2 Hyping Chinese prototypes and potential is an old game, played with the Soviets for decades
That these ploys have such resonance is the consequence of the destruction of the entire Far East Air Force in the Philippines at the beginning of WWII. The Canadians are a special case, since they don't really have to spend a dime on their own defense - they know Uncle will provide. But the US will need a qualitative edge since many of our engagements will be thousands of miles away from the continental US, with all the delays in resupply that entails. The Japanese gave us fits with an economy 1/10 ours in WWII. The Chinese will reach overall parity in the next couple of decades, when their nominal GDP per capita is 25% ours. Their per capita GDP is already 11% of ours. (This compares to 1.6% of ours back in 1979, when China began to phase out Communism in the economic sphere).
Posted by Zhang Fei 2013-03-17 01:44||
#3 Relying upon Chinese published figures can lead to the same false conclusions that the CIA had relying upon official Soviet figures only to be surprised by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Then again, Washington has taken the same tack in manipulating data for public consumption with the problem that even the inner policy makers believe their own lies.
Posted by Procopius2k 2013-03-17 02:08||
#4 The F-35 had better be freakin' invulnerable at those prices.
No one will be able to afford to risk one where our enemies will be throwing cheaper aircraft at us instead.
Reminds me of an old interview with a Tiger tank commander. When asked what he thought of the much cheaper, poorer quality Shermans he sorted and said "My Tiger was worth TEN Shermans!" he paused, looked down and said, "But there always seemed to be that eleventh Sherman..."
Having a few dozen aircraft you cannot afford to risk (nor to fly) and a few dozen ships you cannot afford to risk (nor to operate) is a fast way to not have a military.
"We've got the best, highest-tech tools in the world! But um, we're not going to use them for anything. Wouldn't be prudent..."
Posted by Orion 2013-03-17 03:50||
#5 Compare the F-35 to the B1/B2/B52 world; the Bones and Buffs did all the heavy lifting, the B2 only was used for cherry picked missions. Same Silver Bullet idea.
Still haven't seen any real world fly off of the Marine's version against the Harrier; strongly suspect the maintenance of the F-35 in primitive areas will be a killer.
Posted by USN,Ret. 2013-03-17 11:30||
#6 Orion, that's what I've been wondering. I look at the comparison made in this article and extrapolate: would I rather have one squadron of F-35s or two and a half squadrons of F/A-18Fs? Let me assume that the pilots and ground crews are all equally good at what they do. Which would I rather have going up against an opponent in eastern or southern Asia?
Posted by Steve White 2013-03-17 12:02||
#7 Or to say it another way: are we looking at a scenario in the future of Wildcats versus Zeroes if we stay with the F-18, as opposed to Hellcats versus Zeroes if we go with the F-35? That's an easy call despite the expense.
Posted by Steve White 2013-03-17 12:06||
#8 f-18 then skip straight to a2a drones.
Posted by Bright Pebbles 2013-03-17 12:24||
#9 Yes, the F-18 F/G models provide a good capability at less cost than the F-35. It is surprising that the U.S. Air Force is permitting Boeing to make this argument without threatening to cut commitments to other Boeing programs.
Given the size of Canada physically and relatively small population, they need to have more planes rather than less. Further, the Canadians already have a bunch of CF-18's in service with associated infrastructure and training.
It is kind of like the argument over rifle caliber, does a 7.62 have better stopping power than a .223? Well, yes it does, but a .223 stops a lot better than nothing, which is what Canada will have if it sticks with the F-35 and is not prepared to double its budget for fighter aircraft over the next decade.
Posted by rammer 2013-03-17 13:24||
#10 Relying upon Chinese published figures can lead to the same false conclusions that the CIA had relying upon official Soviet figures only to be surprised by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
China is a capitalist country run by a Communist party that is communist only in the sense of the Leninist top-down party hierarchy - Marxism is a dead letter. It's become pre-democracy Taiwan's Nationalist Party, except with a much bigger anti-American streak. While the numbers are fudged to some extent, what's not fudged is the fact that GM's largest market outside of the US is China, not the EU. For a lot of major MNC's, their largest market for finished products outside of the US and the EU is now China. When you look at how China has developed, that really shouldn't be a big surprise. They've basically given anyone who manufactures in China access to their domestic markets, thereby keeping Chinese manufacturers honest. Capitalism works. And like every other capitalist country, China's economy is subject to booms and busts and major industrial unrest.
There's this unrealistic idea that any unrest or the suppression of unrest is a sign of weakness. I think that's seriously overstated. We had the Battle of Blair Mountain and Bonus Army imbroglio, and the Republic's still standing. Ultimately, we are dealing with the second coming of Imperial Japan, without the economic distortions that Japan's autarkic policies imposed on the country. If our policy remains to defend our Pacific military dependents (calling them allies is a stretch), we will have to step up our game. My best guess is that China will eventually become Taiwan in terms of per capita GDP, and that means it will have a bigger economy than the US and all of our Pacific allies put together. China's unstoppable economic rise, combined with its irredentist territorial ambitions are why I think we really need to back away from our policy of military welfare to the world or least to the Western Pacific.
During WWII, we lost 100K dead going up against Japan, an economy 1/10 our size. In Korea, we lost 40K dead going up against a Chinese economy about 1/20 of ours. Fighting the Chinese when their economy is bigger than ours will involve a bloodbath that may reach Civil War levels. At the very least, we need to have those "allies" start to take more responsibility for their own defense, including steps such as bringing their defense expenditures up to snuff, rather than slashing them as they've been doing for over two decades.
Posted by Zhang Fei 2013-03-17 14:36||
#11 ZF this time the Japanese will be on our side. Once the Straits of Malacca are closed (10 days) it will be a game of time unless the Russ are feeling lucky.
Posted by Shipman 2013-03-17 15:26||
#12 Why wouldn't the Ruskies feel lucky? It would be the perfect opportunity to nip China's claim to Russia's NE. Land, being on the winning side, concessions: it's a no brainer I would think.
Posted by Charles 2013-03-17 21:12||