Archive for the tech pron Category

Defense Tech: or why Apple can’t build a jet fighter

Posted in HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 28, July 2012 by chockblock

The future of military technology is the kind of high-tech engineering in which American companies already are the established leaders. So why not let the Air Force ask Apple to design an iFighter? Or let the Navy ask Google to design the software architecture to power its ships and submarines? That company’s skunk-works innovation team, Google X, has now developed a car that drives itself on the streets of San Francisco. Why not tap that expertise for the Pentagon’s future unmanned systems?
“What If Apple Designed an iFighter?”:Arthur Herman, The Wall Street Journal.

Some idiot pines for the Spitfire. It’s cheap origin is a myth.

MIL-SPEC was a punch line for years. Now it’s a major market, products advertised as “mil-spec” are highly valued.

The old saying “GI proof” used to mean making something so tough that a soldier fresh from bootcamp couldn’t break it even if he tried. Something of a joke in the draft-era military because anyone could be assigned to repair and maintain anything (from airplanes to rifles). Of course building things for the military meant making them rough, rugged and designed for their roles. After the war, the allies forged several agreements called STANAGs. Between that and MIL-SPEC the military forged a standard. Things are built for battle and can be shared among allies. If need by, an American Patriot missile unit can work with an allied Patriot unit and

However the expense of designing things for the military led to Commercially available Off-The-Shelf or COTS. Take it away wikipeida:

In the United States, Commercially available Off-The-Shelf (COTS) is a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) term defining a nondevelopmental item (NDI) of supply that is both commercial and sold in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace, and that can be procured or utilized under government contract in the same precise form as available to the general public. For example, technology related items, such as computer software, hardware systems or free software with commercial support, and construction materials qualify, but bulk cargo, such as agricultural or petroleum products, do not.

Those dirty commies used to say that “quantity has a quality all it’s own”. And Desert Storm shat on that idea. The myth of low tech US military weapons in WWII is debunked by In From the Cold:

“How inferior was the Sherman? Consider these statistics from the Third Armored Division, which fought its way from the hedgerows of France to the heart of the Third Reich. In eleven months of heavy fighting, the unit lost over 700 Shermans destroyed and many more that were damaged, but repaired and returned to service. The units cumulative tank loss rate from D-Day to VE Day was roughly 700 percent. Only the ready availability of replacement tanks and crews(and the ability of maintenance personnel to repair damaged Shermans) kept the division in the fight.”

He’s referring to the M-4 Sherman. Many American tankers died, even as better tanks were held up by Army politics. There was the P-75 Eagle. It was a Frankenplane developed by General Motors. It never delivered on its promised performance. Thankfully an aircraft designer developed the P-51 Mustang.

DoD Buzz posits that a dedicated defense industry can design weapons for war. Why dedicated? Because defense contractors know what it’s like to get shot at. It’s not just hiring veterans, it’s building a system from the ground up that’s designed to fight AND taking data from the field (many times collected by service members themselves).

Many companies made dumb mistakes. Virtual Boy, Edsel, New Coke, the Apple Newton. None of those mistakes had a body count. Many companies got out of the defense business because the Cold War ended. Intel no longer makes microchips for the Pentagon (so much for the idea that war is good for the big corporations). From cables and connectors that break when used to tools that rust up when used in the rain, COTS may have low upfront costs but over the long term the DoD just buys more.

The military gets a lot of ribbing for the up-front costs of gear. But aside from tools, clothing and food, most equipment has to be designed, modified or bought in small quantities. Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) ships are a good example. There are many shipping companies and ship builders out there. Some even have car-carriers and ferries. But the military must buy the ships it needs, most commercial ships are not designed to carry 70+ ton tanks.

Most civilian companies don’t enter into the military market because of the boom and bust cycles inherit in defense. The end of the Cold War has led to massive shrinkage in the defense sector. Grumman built the planes that won WWII in the pacific, but today they are the IT arm of Northrup-Grumman. War is not for fun and profit.

Open source software has been a godsend to the DoD. Most computers (wither they are ‘ruggedized” or just the same kind you can get at Best Buy) have encryption software installed. Many have special software for communicating with units in the field. If the DoD had to pay for the operating systems and other software, less money would be available for mission critical software. LINUX, UNIX and now the Android OS are being welcomed by the military (after added security of course). Once again the military must modify and write the programs it needs. At least open source is cheaper.

WWII was the last big war where entire countries were mobilized to fight. After the war, the US kept a larger standing military. After Sputnik, the Pentagon and industry forged a partnership to keep the US ahead. Decades latter,after Vietnam, Afghanistan etc, the Cold War ended. Desert Storm showed off the high tech military. But declining budgets not only forced the military to do more with less so did rising personnel costs were a large factor as well.

Today’s military is an all volunteer force supported by a few big contractors. There are problems: field grade commanders who let power point slides do their thinking, civilian leaders who set unrealistic expectations and let the military take the fall, a defense industry that oversells its systems. But they are learning. Technology marched on. Propellers gave way to jets. Missiles took over from cannons and the lower enlisted are more important than ever.

Can companies with no military experience design weapons and IT systems? Maybe. Maybe we should let the subject matter experts do their job. Google and Apple can provide the framework, but defense companies and those in uniform need to do the hard work.

What I’ve always suspected

Posted in politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , on 16, July 2012 by chockblock

“We have surveyed how well prepared in terms of disciplinary course work teachers at various levels felt for teaching various mathematics topics in what is a fairly representative sample of 60 districts. In general, we would summarize the findings by stating that many teachers felt ill prepared to teach mathematics topics that are in state standards and in the new Common Core State Standards for mathematics. Why did these teachers feel so ill prepared?

There is perhaps a simple answer for the elementary and middle school teachers: They felt ill prepared because if we examine the coursework they studied during their teacher preparation, they were ill prepared. The new TEDS study results suggested this to be the case more generally, which clearly does not bode well for equality of learning experiences for students in these districts.”
–”Why Math Teachers Feel Poorly Prepared“: Anna Kuchment, scientificamerican.com, via insty

My adviser in college talked about a rival school’s education program. Or lack thereof. Students designing classes (for credit) and getting friends to take them. A one semester class on the felt board. Liberal arts majors should not talk about science.

The horrible truth is that most college courses are fluff designed to occupy the students time or they are attempts to teach what the public education system failed the first time. So the people teaching your kids are barely able to understand math and science. But hey they got to read Twilight and watch anime for credit. Teacher tenure meant that these idiots could stay teaching. That may change.

In the meantime, the left will bitch and wine about standardized testing. Most lefties hate math and science because they have hard answers. Soft fluff courses are open to interpretation. It’s all about politics to them. And your kids education suffers.

Why why should use technology: part 2

Posted in army life, army training, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 7, July 2012 by chockblock

“Thanks for saving me with your technology. By the way, I hate technology!”
The Nostalgia Critic, On Star Trek: Insurrection.

Drones will no doubt raise novel issues under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. They will require rules. The same is true of any technology, of course. The Supreme Court held unanimously earlier this year that police can’t attach a GPS tracker on someone’s vehicle without a warrant. This isn’t reason to ban all use of GPS trackers by law enforcement. The fear of drones is, in part, the fear of the new — it is Luddism masquerading as civil libertarianism.
–”The Great Drone Panic“: By Rich Lowry, National Review.com

The left and the fringe always hate technology. Give it time and drones will be as common as the Iphone. And some new tech will be the focus of their ire.

It’s still stealing

Posted in army life, army training, HOOAH!, politcs, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , on 30, June 2012 by chockblock

“If you steal, you’re gonna lie, if you lie, you’re gonna steal.
1SG at Fort Jackson, 2004

“WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court cited First Amendment free-speech rights in striking down a law that made it a federal crime to falsely claim to have been awarded military medals.

The 6-3 majority opinion upheld a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had declared unconstitutional the Stolen Valor Act, a 2006 statute Congress passed “to protect the reputation and meaning” of military honors.”
“Court: You Can Tell Lies About Being a War Hero “, By EVAN PEREZ, WSJ.com

So the law was poorly written. It doesn’t matter. People will lie about being war heroes, phoney soldiers and facebook commandos seeking things they didn’t earn. Like jobs. A democrat claims to be a “Green Beret”, when called out he throws a tantrum. Another wanted music stardom, so he faked being a hero. One woman duped a college into a free ride before she was caught. Another was a comic book author and “anti-war” activist. None of them have seen combat.

They got what was coming to them, the morons were exposed. Good riddance.

It’s not a game. People assume that a soldier, marine, sailor or airman has skills. That someone who has been in “combat” is brave enough for a job as a police officer, firefighter or news correspondent. They lie to get a job that they have no right to have, they are stealing. The left loves phonies, so they were the loudest ones to scream about the Stolen Valor act. It would expose all those “veterans” that march in their protests.

The law will get re-written. In the meantime we have teh interwebs. Keep blogging and writing. Thieves are like cockroaches, they hate sunlight.

Reforming Defense: Lockheed makes a “jeep”

Posted in ADA, army life, army training, guns, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 25, June 2012 by chockblock

“Lockheed Martin would like you to know that just because it’s an aerospace titan that moonlights as a shipbuilder, that doesn’t mean it can’t also build a new fleet of ground vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps.”
High stakes in the JLTV competition: By Philip Ewing, DoD Buzz.com

There are companies building the replacement for the HMMWv, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). It’s a new jeep for the military.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the Humvee was too light. It was a soft skinned taxi for soldiers and a whip for commanders. There were “up armored” versions, but they are rollover queens. I used to drive a command post variant. After upgrades, our M1113 was 500 lbs away from both axles snapping and was top heavy. The JLTV is designed from the ground up to be an armored anything: taxi, truck, command post, ambulance or gun truck.

Now Lockheed has some issues with building things for the military. There was the scandals over foreign military sales. Yet this same company built the SR-71 and F-117.

Lockheed's new whip

JLTV three variants during the Technology Development phase

Judging from the comments in the DOD Buzz article, some just don’t have faith that Lock-Mart won’t screw the truck up:

tee June 22nd, 2012 at 7:35 pm

With LM’s current recorder as a benchmark if they get it, it will be way over budget and years behind schedule.

And that’s the tamest one.

I for one welcome out of the box thinking. I do have doubts however. Boeing decided to get into the lucrative jetfoil business, the Future Combat Systems and the KC-767 lease. They ended well, in that jetfoils are forgotten, the FCS was canceled and the KC-767 lease sent an Air Force official to prison.

What’s needed is out of the box thinking, but not so out of the box people lose their minds. I hope Lockheed Martin delivers the goods. If they are making junk, they deserve to lose. It’s not the 80′s anymore, political connections, pork barrel politics or lobbying shouldn’t decide who builds what. Make stuff that works.

Why We Should Use Technology

Posted in army life, army training, guns, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , on 24, June 2012 by chockblock

In National Review, Clifford D. May writes:

Wars of the future will be very different from wars of the past. Everyone gets that. What many do not grasp: The present war also is very different from wars of the past.

Among the ways: Those defending the West try hard to abide by the laws of war. Those attacking the West say clearly that they will not be bound by any “infidel” rules. They are committed to what they call a “Koranic concept of war.”

It’s not just uniforms and ID tags/cards. It’s not shooting civilians. Not flying jets into buildings. Europe frets over kill lists but that’s because they want to appease the evil hordes at the door.

The French used to find terrorist camps and level them. They’d send their commandos in, they’d kill the terrorists and take as much as they could carry. This put an end to a lot of terrorist groups. The SAS hit the Irish Republican Army hard. Between bad publicity and bullets to the head, the IRA has committed to disarming it’s stockpile.

But special forces raids are risky. Bunkers full of equipment need to be hit somehow.

Cyber warfare was discussed, too. Indira Lakshmanan, a generally sensible Bloomberg reporter, argued that if Americans use cyber weapons, “let’s not think that the Iranians themselves won’t learn from what we’ve done to them and couldn’t release similar bugs on us with potentially devastating consequences. So that’s something we really need to think about.” Yes, and let’s start by considering whether it is remotely plausible that Iran’s rulers, the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism, would conclude that it’s not quite cricket to use such weapons — if only Americans would refrain from using them first.

Lakshmanan’s thinking was befuddled on another score as well: “If we’re sitting at the table with [Iranians] in Moscow next week, how are they going to believe that we’re actually trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with them if at the same time we’re admitting openly that we’re engaged in outright cyber warfare with them?”

Fighting fairly went out with kings and princes. Chivalry is dead. We have laws of warfare, but it’s assumed that all sides will agree to the rules. Terrorists, communists (yes there are still commies), drug lords and other “non-state” actors. China and North Korea don’t take prisoners. African and Middle Eastern regimes are famous for using missiles and artillery to settle disputes.

We don’t fight wars by lining up men, stacking numbers against numbers.

We have stealth jets and stand-off weapons to overcome the numbers of anti-aircraft missiles. We use tanks, APC’s and IFV’s that are part of a network. A Marine Corporal or Army Sergeant can call on the radio and bring the rain. He or she has access to firepower that Patton or MacArthur could only dream about. Sensors, firepower, communications, the “strategic corporal” is the tip of the spear. And a diplomat, and an aid worker.

Forrest Gump is roadkill on the modern battlefield.

So what if we use “cyberwarfare”? Do those lefites with a case of the vapors want US troops to go and dig out nuclear bunkers? Every Predator drone means less pilots and troops at risk. If a computer virus can disable a WMD lab, that means no shooting, no dead Americans paraded through downtown Durka-Durkastan.

JLENS is a radar and optical combo that looks down. It can see cruise missiles and aircraft trying to hide. It can also see enemy troops on the ground many miles away. That means no scout aircraft getting shot at. It means US and Allies have early warning.

The left loves the myth of the underdog. That somehow the Vietcong, Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban are some ragtag “army”. Bull.

Most “non-state” actors are scum. The Lybian and Egyptain revolution have devolved into Islamist takeovers, as the Arab Spring turns into a Fascist Winter. Syria is a hell of advanced weapons and a mad regime desperate to hold on to power.

We use out technology to decimate the enemy. There is no fair in warfare. We respect the enemy, but we’re gonna rain fire down on him. Non-combatants are protected. Those who fight are gonna get set on fire, in uniform or not. From standoff weapons, drones and cyber “weapons”, the bad guys are in for a world of hurt.

Terrorists are only victims in the twisted logic of the left. To us in uniform, they’re targets.

Reforming Defense: Tempting Fate

Posted in army training, guns, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23, June 2012 by chockblock

Some words of wisdom in this time of crisis:

  • “No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.”
  • “An Army is a team; lives, sleeps, eats, fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is a lot of crap.”
  • “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
  • “Wars might be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who leads that gains the victory.”

GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON, JR. QUOTATIONS


“In his book, Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers, David Johnson (who just took over Army CHief of Staff Odierno’s Strategic Studies Group) asks why nothing remotely like “Blitzkrieg” tactics and innovations emerged inside the U.S. Army. What Johnson discovered is worth remembering. A combination of factors ensured the Army was the wrong force for war in 1942. Of these, the most significant was not a lack of funding. First, there was almost total ignorance in Congress about what was really happening inside the Army. And, second, it was the intellectual — not the fiscal — deficit that obstructed useful change in the Army. As for those who argued after World War II that if the Army had been better resourced a different army would have emerged, Johnson discovered it was not true. Had more money been available, Johnson concluded, the Army’s generals would have simply done more of the same. The American people don’t need more of the same and the American Taxpayer cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. Military institutions, grounded as they are in the past, are not particularly adept at dealing with the future. This is especially true for the Army. Congress can and must ask the tough questions and demand real answers, not platitudes before increasingly scarce funds are lost on yet another wrongheaded Army program, yet another false start.”
–”Congress: Don’t Let Army Botch GCV, The Bradley Replacement“:By Doug Macgregor, AOL defense.

Brad brings us the tale of woe concerning the Army’s quest to field a new APC.

The first try was the FCS. It was so awesome it was canceled for being over budget. Before that there was this:

Back to the present. The Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) prototypes wound up at 70+ tons. About as much as an Abrams. The C-17 can lift one, the C-5 only 2 Abrams or 1 M-1 and two M-2 Bradleys. So much for the mobile Army. Now before you think I’m picking on the treadheads, the Marines had their Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) and ADA had Medium Extended Air Defense System(MEADS). In each case, specs were changed, then changed again. Since they were new programs, they needed new systems and new software. That means training, contractors and new parts. That means mucho dinero. Big Army is trying hard to keep costs down by looking at existing designs this time.

But I fear this is just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Are there 80-90 ton tanks and APC’s rolling off Russian and Chinese factories? No. In fact “smart” anti-armor weapons are getting cheaper. Every tango, technical and two bit militaman will have missiles, IED’s and perhaps UAV’s. No layer of armor will be sufficient. No network will save you if the radios don’t work and your computer crashes. And contractors just add more money to any program they touch.

The FCS and EFV failed due to rising costs. The FCS had software problems, just like the Joint Tactical Radio. MEADS died because of costs and complexity. A MEADS battery has 3 radars to Patriot’s one.

What is needed are review boards. In college, experiments with human or animal subjects had a review board of about 3-5 members. At least one board member was from a department that didn’t use animals (i.e. the Physics Dept). So if the biology department wanted to cut up mice or frogs, the prof or grad student had to have a good explanation. And a budget, and safeguards. This oversight keep all experiments above board.

I know, Uncle Sam’s children in uniform tend to not get along, but we can’t afford more of the same. No more field grades sitting in an air-conditioned office, ducking deployments yet designing the gear and systems for those downrange.

I propose the following:

    Each new weapons program should undergo a review by a review board with:

  • 10 senior members and five junior enlisted members.
  • They will be nominated by the Chief of Staff for each service, selected by the President and confirmed by Congress.
  • The ten voting members are current, retired or former Field Grade officers (0-4 and up) and senior NCOs (E-6 and up)
  • The five junior enlisted members are junior enlisted chosen on a rotational basis. They are Soldier/Sailor/Marine/Airmen of the year picked from posts assigned to a major command. All must have at least 15 months combat/overseas experience. At least two should be married.
  • The senior board members will not have any ties to a contractor or current unit.
  • All proceedings will be public, the press will be invited.
  • The board will report to Congress.
  • Special Operations and “black” projects are exempt. This is for line units only.
  • Military aid to other countries is also exempt, there is Congressional oversight for that.

Why junior enlisted? Those of us E-4 and below turn the wrenches. We’re the ones stuck with the “good ideas” of the E-ring. If the program office or defense contractor can’t explain why their reasons to a private, what business to they have selling to the DoD? By making the process transparent and concurrent with the development, we can avoid the mistakes of the past.

It’s a start at least. What do you guys think?

Hot Crew! : Gemma Arterton

Posted in HOOAH!, rankers, tech pron with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 11, June 2012 by chockblock

Gemma Christina Arterton (born 12 January 1986)[1] is an English actress. She played the eponymous protagonist in the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and starred in the feature films St Trinian’s, the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Tamara Drewe. She was nominated for a BAFTA, in the Rising Star category.[2]

–Wikipeida

She’s the best British export since the Merlin engine and the Beatles. She’s hot, cute and is starring in some cool films.

T-4 is here

Posted in politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 10, June 2012 by chockblock

It’s here:

Earlier in the discussion, advertising executive Donny Deutsch raised the possibility of parents using the genetic information to abort children based on superficial preferences: “Look, I’m a pro-choice guy, but at the end of the day what’s stopping people, “Oh, my son is going to be blonde, I want…”

Snyderman largely dismissed such concerns: “I get the genetic engineering issue. But the reality is we’ve already jumped out of that with amniocentesis. So, the science is there. The problem is that science goes faster than we have these societal questions. And that’s exactly why we should have these societal questions now.”

While Snyderman sounded briefly open-minded on the issue, she soon made her “pro-science” declaration and later completely rejected any legal argument against selective abortions.

NBC’s Nancy Snyderman: It’s ‘Pro-Science’ to Abort Children With Genetic Defects

Newsbusters


“I have a child who has a genetic “fault” – as these scientists would classify it, and he is the light of my life. Gunner is a happy and rambunctious three-year-old with cystic fibrosis. Through all of his doctor appointments and tests, he is patient and kind and loving and is an incredible example to myself and anyone who gets to know him.”
My son is not a genetic ‘fault’ — the downside of prenatal genetic testing:

By Kristan Hawkins, Foxnews.com


“Being born with extra fingers – a condition known as polydactyly – affects one child in a thousand.

Miss Arterton had the most common form, where a small, soft digit, which does not contain a bone, can be see next to the little finger.

Earlier this year, she revealed she was also born with a crumpled ear, which was corrected through surgery.

(C) Rex Features

She’s genetically unacceptable to Nancy Snyderman!

She said: ‘I was born with lots of deformities.’

The actress showed off her curvaceous figure in a stunning gold dress.”

‘I was born with six fingers on each hand’ reveals Bond Girl Gemma Arterton in startling interview

By Chris Johnson, Daily Mail (UK)

 

Always with the killing. From the Whitehouse’s Science Czar & the racist founder of Planned Parenthood to a pair of British fascists doctors:

“Two medical ethicists connected to Oxford University are arguing in Oxford’s Journal of Medical Ethics that babies have no moral status, and can be killed because they are only “potential persons” rather than “actual persons.” They also argue that if a newborn is disabled, it can be killed.”

British ‘Ethicists’: Babies Can Be Killed : Breitbart.com

I worked with the mentally ill and was the reader for college student who was blind and one with dyslexia. Many soldiers have children with disabilities. All would be aborted or sent elsewhere by the left.

Make no mistake, the left has taken the bigot, the racist and eugenics and put a lick of paint on it. They still the hate people they claim to love.

And they’d rob us of Gemma Arterton, those bastards!

Mission Creep

Posted in ADA, army life, politcs, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , on 9, June 2012 by chockblock

Mission creep is the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes.[1] Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs.
– Wikipeida

“The U.S. Army doesn’t want it, but the Department of Defense is saying: Yes, you do. The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) would be scuttled if Army commanders had their way, saying the missile defense program is too costly to develop, with a price tag of $19 billion. However, Pentagon officials and others in the Obama administration want MEADS, which is being developed in partnership with Germany and Italy, because killing the program could upset relations with the two European allies.”
Army vs. Lockheed Martin in Battle to Cancel Missile Defense System

Future Combat Systems (FCS) was the United States Army’s principal modernization program from 2003 to early 2009.[1] Formally launched in 2003, FCS was envisioned to create new brigades equipped with new manned and unmanned vehicles linked by an unprecedented fast and flexible battlefield network. In April and May 2009, Pentagon and Army officials announced that the FCS vehicle-development effort would be cancelled. The rest of the FCS effort would be swept into a new, pan-Army program called the Army Brigade Combat Team Modernization Program.[2]“
– Wikipeida

“January 11, 2011: The U.S. Army has finally, after over a decade of development, and no orders, cancelled its SLAMRAAM antiaircraft missile system. The U.S. defense budget is being cut, and those items lower on the “must have” list are being eliminated. Some $3 billion has been spent on SLAMRAAM so far, and it would cost another $12 billion to put it into production.”
SLAMRAAM Dies From Loneliness


“But the replacement program for the OH-58 was supposed to be the ARH-70, and it should have been generally a low risk program. Take the existing Bell 407 airframe, itself an evolution of the Bell 206 that gave us the Kiowa, and add sensors and weapons. Easy peasy. How that program fell to pieces is beyond me. I’m not an engineer or an aviator. I know there are always challenges, but the collapse of that program was a big surprise to me.”

Brad On why the Army is still flying Vietnam War-era choppers.

“found it surprising as well. From what I could determine the downfall of the program was the bane of so many programs in the military these days, refusing to freeze the specs. They allow a continuing larding of the program and change orders are expensive. Successful acquisition programs freeze the design and build more capability into the follow on models. The Army didn’t force a freeze, so costs ran away from them, and instead of getting a good first effort, they got nothing instead. Great, huh?”

Quartermaster nails it.

When defense contracts go beyond paper specs and RFP’s we’re talking about real money. And jobs. And promotions for those involved in the program. THAAD and the F-22 have parts made in almost all the 50 states. Military bases employ thousands all around the country. Of course Big Army and Congress also think about the men and women who’ll be fighting and fixing these systems. Of course.

The problem is that, like the Navy, Big Army wants cool and shiny. New computers? Sure why not. New radios and a new network? Okay. MEADS had three radars as opposed to the Patriot systems one. A maintenance headache that became a nightmare since the new radars have new parts. Add to the fact that our Warrant Officers and Soldiers under them would all have to be retrained. Adding to the costs of trying to field a new system.

The FCS tried too much at once. New network, new computers and sensors, new weapons AND new vehicles all under one roof. Almost all were canceled. After Iraq, the 50 ton FCS vehicles were dumped for the 70+ ton monsters. IED’s are a threat, but the infantry would ride in a vehicle with a weight approaching Hitler’s Maus. The only Ground the “Ground Combat Vehicle” may end up fighting on is a reinforced concrete runway.

SLAMRAAM died because the Army has to pay for the the FCS GCV and other shooty projects. Short range air defense? Who needs it with the Air Force and it’s F-22′s and F-35′s running the skies. Um..wait a minute…

We need reform, but most of the “reform” the pundits have in mind is to cancel everything. The left wants to stick it’s fingers in it’s ears and pretend that our ships and air craft don’t age. That our enemies are getting smarter and more deadly. The deficit hawks on the right only care about defense cuts when they threaten jobs in their districts. Otherwise they’ll cut and cut in the name of “savings.”

When contracts are fixed, cutting the number of widgets built skyrockets the price. In the 80′s the Dod let the contracts write in the costs of items. Nowadays we have “single source”, “no bid” and fixed price contracts coupled with design specs that waste more money than they save.

We can do better. We need to do better.

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