Read an interesting article today about the fraying relationship between NASA and Boeing. Really I don’t have much to add to the article except to say that it looks as if NASA is finally done with being fleeced and they are increasingly turning to people in private industry who are serious about exploration as opposed to milking the taxpayer for more guvvermint’ money.
Another article I encountered touches upon a theme that has reoccured in these pages; namely that we are wasting an enormous amount of money in manned aerial combat systems. You all know I’m talking about the F-35, the 150mil per pop waste of time.
This makes me want to tear my hair out when I look at that figure- 150,000,000 USD per base aircraft on what is essentially an expendable end item.
I know it sounds harsh, but weapons of war ARE expendable, and ultimately so are the operators. Looking at fairly recent history, I quail to think how US industry would replace a Midway Task Force, or the one that was sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea. Or how about Eighth Air Force losses mid 1943? Or even losses over Vietnam? If you scale those campaigns to the modern cost of our equipment, it would be disastrous, unsustainable.
It couldn’t happen again, you say.
LOL, prior to 1914 the then-fashionable wisdom was that the modern world was too economically interconnected for major warfare to crop up.
Well, we saw how that ended up. An entire generation lost in the mud and barbed wire.
So yeah, it can happen again.
Why are we busy fighting the last war? I think the next war will be the swan song of the manned aerial combat platform. I could hear the echoes of this future conflict while crouching in an old Soviet fighting position in Afghanistan, with the whispery voice of the Predator drone overhead.
Ten years ago it was actually a thing in the Air Force, debating combat awards for drone operators in Nevada.
I wonder how that ended up.
Going forward it is going to be the exception, looking your enemy in the eye. Actually, it already is.
That drone you see above? It’s real, and it’s stealthy. Does it cost 150mil USD? Hell no. and there’s no dead pilot to mourn, either. Send waves of them at another dinosaur, the US Navy carrier task forces, and for pennies on the dollar you send billions to Davy Jones’s Locker, along with thousands of dead sailors.
Armored Infantry in powered suits with top cover via drone- it’s not just pie-in-the-sky stuff in my books. It’s going to happen, and Boeing, et al can cry rivers of tears.
No, scratch that. Boeing won’t be crying, and neither will their upper management. They will have made their money.
The crying will be done by the families of our servicemen and women.
We need imagination and intelligent spending now. Not when it’s too late.
Because when the stealth drones appear in waves over our bases, the bill will come due.