Thursday, January 3, 2013

F-35: New year, but same old tired song from the critics

Here at the beginning of 2013, it will be nice to see critics at least update their criticism to reflect reality. Instead we are still treated to outdated criticism of the F-35 program by the usual suspects. And of course, the journalists reporting the story do very little digging themselves. For example:
But many budget hawks and defense geeks say the problem is that this plane just keeps getting more expensive. Right now, the cost of the Air Force version is nearly $130 million a plane. The Marine version, which flies like a jet but can land like a helicopter, is more than $160 million.
 Except, contra the claim, the plane does not keep getting more expensive, despite the nonsense put out there by so-called "budget hawks and defense geeks".

For instance, we reported recently that the latest batch of Air Force F-35's cost $107 million per copy, down from $111 million per copy.   These facts aren't hard to find. But you have to be willing to research your story. That seems to be a lost art among many critics. And then there's this:
"Flyaway costs, non-recurring and recurring costs. Lots of gobblygook and they'll say that comes to a number like 60, 70 million dollars, and it's complete baloney," he says.
 Except, that's how fighter costs  have been measured for decades. It is only "gobblygook" when it doesn't fit your agenda. The Unit Recurring Flyaway cost is coming down. The entire premise of this article is wrong. It claims that costs continue to go up, but they aren't, are they?

After completely fumbling the cost question, this particular critic then says:
Wheeler says the result is a plane that is mediocre at everything.
And of course despite the high praise pilots who've actually flown the aircraft have given it, we should believe this joker.

This is the state of the program's critics today. Stuck in 2010 with the same lame arguments and baseless claims as the program continues to flourish and prices continue to come down, just as supporters of the program and said they would.


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