Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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Wars Are Awfully Expensive
Jacob Fattal, Publisher
As our nation winds down from two wars in the wake of 9/11, our military is faced with inevitable spending cuts, as our armed forces transition from a wartime to a peacetime footing. Fighting a war is awfully expensive, and our national economy's lackluster performance is just one of the more visible results. Yes, a wartime footing means more money is being spent on military goods and services, but that money has to come from somewhere, usually forcing the Federal Government to borrow money, resulting in bigger and bigger federal deficits. Our grandchildren will still be paying for the wars we fight today.

During an active war, certain losses must be replaced: lost aircraft, tanks, trucks, ships, and used-up "consumables" such as cruise missiles and other ordnance. Between wars, stockpiles rebuild, and some ordnance is used up for training purposes.

In the midst of all this, the United States Air Force has just had $20 billion cut from its 2015 budget. This amount would pay for 246 of the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, 2443 of which are currently on order by DoD. At an average cost of $81 million each, the F-35 is a bargain, compared with the $420 million each cost of the F-22 Raptor whose production was discontinued in 2011. In the meantime, the European fighter entry, the Typhoon, costs $200 million per copy. Obviously, a bunch of our allies are going to opt to buy the bargain-priced F-35 when they become available for export.

This entire situation baffles some industry experts. The F-22 was to be the ultimate fighter plane for the 21st century, but it performed poorly in dogfight simulations with other, much less expensive fighters. Now the F-35 has become the darling of the world's military, and the question now is, can the U.S.A. keep up with the demand without offshoring part of the production? This still remains to be seen.  

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