Friday, February 03, 2012

Defense Industry speak with forked tongue

India, like many nations, is busily upgrading its military.  They've apparently decided to pass on purchasing U.S.-made F-16 and F-18 fighter aircraft in favor of a French design... much to American disappointment:

"We are extremely confident that the F/A-18IN and F-16IN would have provided the Indian Air Force unbeatable platforms with proven technologies at a competitive price," the Pentagon spokesman Cmdr Leslie Hull-Ryde said.
What's interesting is the use of the term "unbeatable."  If the proposed updates of these already-in-service designs are so top-notch, why are we so hell-bent on pursuing the troubled F-35 program?  It begs the question whether the need for upgraded aviation capability is worth the resources being expended to obtain it.  Not to mention whether one of the largest defense programs in U.S. history may just be, in reality, one big sunk cost that's only growing by the day.

So which is it, military-industrial complex?  Do current threats warrant the F-35, and we were just trying to convince India to buy a bunch of expensive second-string aircraft... or are you aiming higher and trying to sell America a gold-plated bill of goods?  It's clearly one or the other...

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