Friday, January 07, 2011

Fighter planes no, engines yes

While the F-22 air-superiority fighter has been capped at a miserly 187 aircraft, Congress is busily added a requirement for a second engine for the F-35 program (see below). The aircraft's manufacturer doesn't want a second engine. The Department of Defense doesn't want a second engine. Only the pork-barrel queens in Congress want the danged thing, because it will funnel money into their home districts and help them get reelected. The immediate price tag for this bit of redundancy is $450,000,000, but of course that's only the up-front money. By the time it's delivered, it will cost closer to $3,000,000,000, as in three billion dollars. That's about $21 from each American taxpayer, for an engine nobody wants. Perhaps more to the point, it would buy the Air Force 18 more F-22s, an acquisition that might really come in handy some day, unlike a substitute engine from a different manufacturer. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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