Which, as we all know, is the top dog, super-pooper, invisible and the best aircraft, like, ever. That is what all those "analysts" with backgrounds in journalism and LEGO design tell us all the time. Yet:
ST. LOUIS — Boeing is preparing to build F-15 fighter planes for the U.S. Air Force at its St. Louis County plant even though the military branch hasn’t bought the jet in over a decade.The Chicago-based company began ramping up its F-15 production line near St. Louis after the Air Force submitted a nearly $8 billion budget request last month that included eight F-15s next year and 72 in the following four years. The request came as a surprise to many since the U.S. military has moved toward stealth fighters, such as Lockheed Martin's F-35, in recent years. Prat Kumar, Boeing International’s vice president, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company is investing before Congress approves the budget request so it can respond quickly should the Air Force seek rapid field deployment.
I will leave commentaries on this "Stealth" thingy to people who never saw basic Radar Equation in their life, but the move by USAF is very telling. If one dismisses the whole cat-fight in Congress regarding who gets what:
Five senators from states where the F-35 is produced, including Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, sent President Donald Trump and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan a letter before the Air Force detailed its budget request that warned against funding F-15 planes at the expense of F-35s.
But the issue here is rather simple: F-35 is a disaster. It is multi-billion dollar combat embarrassment designed, for the astronomical price and meek combat capabilities, to fight third world militaries. It is not survivable in a modern peer-to-peer airspace. F-15, on the other hand, is an old reliable horse which at least flies and costs much less than F-35--thus fewer political ramifications if one is shot down. In general, something is up with this whole US combat aviation thingy and most likely it is just continuation of a "commercialization" of the military technology in US because "investors" want their Returns on Investment (ROI) fast and juicy. And so the saga of USS Zumwalt-class DDG, F-35, LCS and other commercial items continues. Who cares about defense or offense, for that matter. As long as fat cats are happy with their checks, anything goes. You know, like newest, still non-existent Columbia-class SSBN:
There's no risk to the contractors that this program will be canceled. The GAO said the most likely scenario is that the Pentagon will be forced to go back to Congress and ask for additional funds in order to remain on schedule. The agency did not provide an estimate of how much more would be needed, referring instead to a report by the Congressional Budget Office that concluded the Columbia program could end up costing as much as $145 billion.
So, $145 billion/12 submarines=$12.1 billion per single submarine. Lovely! Can I get a cut?