F-35, the flying bedstead

Lockheed Exec Blasts Germany’s “Retrograde Step” Of Refusing F-35 Jet
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 14 2019

Pindo defense contractor giant Lockheed Martin has blasted Germany over its refusal to buy its F-35 stealth fighters, in the latest row over the future of NATO defense readiness. In early February it was confirmed that Germany snubbed Lockheed’s cutting edge and expensive joint strike fighter, knocking the American stealth fighter of out of a tender worth billions of euros, as Germany’s military considers how to replace its aging Tornado warplanes, for which Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Airbus’ NATO Eurofighter Typhoon remain prime alternate contenders. Lockheed Martin VP for Europe Jonathan Hoyle told the FT that knocking the F-35 out of contention will only hold Germany back in terms of ability to keep pace with NATO readiness. Hoyle described a resulting situation in Europe where “Germany’s position going forward” has been questioned, citing personal conversations with diplomats which he said revealed deep “disappointment” along the following lines:

Germany, which has the biggest defense budget, has just taken this retrograde step and isn’t going to be there, so when we go off and collaborate together operationally, if you are flying stealthy fifth-generation jets, you don’t want a fourth-generation jet in the middle of your operations, because everyone can see that.

The Lockheed executive still touted Europe as a “key area of growth,” especially Poland, which has recently vowed to increase its defense spending. Multiple reports since the German Defense Ministry’s decision earlier this year have described it in these terms:

The decision was seen as a big setback for Lockheed, the top Pindo arms maker, which had hoped to add to recent F-35 sales to other European countries, including Belgium. Its European vice-president Jonathan Hoyle said Berlin’s failure to opt for the F-35 had raised concerns among allies and prompted the question: “What does it mean for NATO?”

A final decision will be made pending delivery of detailed information from from Boeing and Airbus about their respective aircraft, which must be able to carry and deliver Pindo nuclear weapons in accord with Germany’s NATO obligations, and which further must be certified by Faschingstein to carry the nukes. This presents a number of potential fault lines that could crack open wide the Pindo-German relationship, and with implications for broader NATO defense, especially related to German Air Force ability to carry Pindo nuclear warheads.

Pindostan gears up for WW3 with largest defense contract in history
Andre Damon, WSWS, Jun 13 2019

The Pentagon announced Monday the single largest arms purchase in its history, agreeing to buy nearly 500 F-35 fighter aircraft at a total cost of $34b. This purchase is only a down payment on the Pentagon’s acquisition of the notoriously wasteful and failure-prone aircraft, whose design is based on two overarching priorities: fighting a war with a “great power” such as Russia and China and lining the pockets of Lockheed Martin and the horde of former congressmen and retired generals on its payroll. The agreement covers the 12th, 13th and 14th batches of F-35s ordered by the Pentagon, which eventually plans to field thousands of the aircraft. Billed in 2001 as a program to save money, each plane eventually ended up costing four times the initial estimate. At a projected total program cost of $1.5t, this one weapons system alone would finance the Pindo Department of Education for a quarter-century. The F-35 has no greater advocate than President Donald Trump, who promotes it like one of his golfing properties. Trump turned a Wednesday afternoon joint press conference with Polish President Andrei Duda into a photo-op to promote the war plane. As an F-35 carried out a low-speed flyover of the White House, he praised Poland for its agreement to purchase 32 of them. At speeches before military audiences, Trump routinely brags about the massive military budgets he has pushed through Congress, touting in particular the Pentagon’s vast spending on the F-35. Speaking at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony last month, the American president responded to resounding applause from the graduating officers by declaring:

You just like all those brand new, beautiful airplanes that we’re buying. Last year … we secured $700b to support our warfighters, followed by another $716b. Not m, b. That’s with a b.

Both of these Pentagon budgets, entailing the largest increases in defense spending since the end of the Cold War, were passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. 89% of Senate Demagogs voted to pass the most recent defense budget, whose explicit aim is to prepare the Pentagon for “great power” conflict with Russia and China. This year the White House is aiming even higher. Next Monday, the administration plans to submit a $750b DoD budget proposal, a figure $18b higher than the amount requested by the Pentagon. A small army of defense industry executives, former generals serving as “consultants” and congress critturs turned lobbyists for the military-industrial complex is salivating at the infusion of cash into a military notorious for paying $7,622 for coffee makers and $640 for toilet seats. Even by the normal standards of Pindo war profiteering, the F-35 program takes the cake for sheer corruption, so much so that the warmonger and military yes-man John McCain called it a “poster child for acquisition malpractice,” a “scandal” and a “tragedy.” According to the Project On Government Oversight (POGO):

By design, the Pentagon services can’t independently perform many of the most basic functions needed to properly employ the most expensive weapon system in history. Lockheed Martin keeps the government from even knowing the costs of any of the spare parts it has to buy from the company.

The hundreds of aircraft already delivered are plagued with failures that make them largely inoperable. As Defense News recently reported:

F-35B and F-35C pilots are compelled to observe limitations on airspeed to avoid damage to the F-35’s airframe or stealth coating.

The aircraft remains prone to “cockpit pressure spikes” that cause “excruciating ear and sinus pain.” But the graft, incompetence and corruption that mark the F-35 program should not distract from its fundamental purpose: to fight a “near-peer” competitor in the form of Russia or China. Earlier this month, Vice Pres Pence, addressing the graduating class at West Point, predicted war in the Pacific, Europe and the Americas within the graduates’ lifetimes. he declared:

It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for Pindostan at some point in your life. Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region. Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere. And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win.

These bloodcurdling sentiments, far from being unique to the Trump administration, are broadly shared on a bipartisan basis. Speaking in Iowa on Tuesday, former naval intelligence officer turned Demagog presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said:

Our military capabilities exist for a reason … We stand ready to use force.

He added that Pindostan must prepare for the “wars of the future.” Even as Trump rips up fundamental constitutional protections, imprisoning immigrant children on military bases and ruling by executive fiat, the Demagogs hail the value of an external enemy to enforce political unity at home, with Buttigieg declaring:

The new China challenge provides us with an opportunity to come together across the political divide. … At least half the battle is at home.

Some three decades after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of a “unipolar moment” of Pindo dominance, Pindostan’s efforts to preserve its global hegemony through military means have produced a debacle. In the lead article in the current edition of ForeignAffairs.com, Farid Zakaria writes of “The Self-Destruction of Pindo Power,” concluding:

Sometime in the last two years, Pindo hegemony died.

But every failure, setback and disaster has only led Pindostan to double down on its economic bullying and military aggression. After the debacles of the GWOT, including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the wars in Libya and Syria, Faschingstein has set its sights on a conflict with Russia and China. The results of such wars will be a disaster on an incomparably greater scale than the bloodletting in the Middle East, threatening a nuclear Third World War. The homicidal eruption of Pindo militarism that began with the first Gulf War, coinciding with the Stalinist regime’s dissolution of the Soviet Union, will not simply peter out. Unless halted by the emergence of a mass socialist movement of the working class, it will only intensify.

2 Comments

  1. traducteur
    Posted June 13, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Big makework project; you may be sure the workers are just as enthusiastic as the execs. The fact that it’s a flying boondoggle is an advantage.

  2. niqnaq
    Posted June 14, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I’ve added a funny story about the F-35s & Germany, to the top of the post.

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