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US Navy Admiral Questions Expensive Stealth Platforms

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the doesn't-see-them-being-useful dept.

The Military 490

Trepidity writes "United States Navy Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert stirred a controversy by questioning much of the thinking underlying current U.S. defense technology. He argues that stealth technology is unlikely to retain its usefulness much into the future, and so focus should switch towards standoff weapons. In addition, he criticizes the focus on expensive all-in-one platforms such as the F-35 fighter, arguing for a payload-centric, flexible approach he compares to trucks rather than luxury cars."

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NObama 2012 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837251)

Will Hussein listen to his OWN generals? Hell no.

Vote Romney. Take our country back.

Re:NObama 2012 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837269)

Go Romney! The candidate with the shorter last name deserves to win!

Re:NObama 2012 (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40838331)

Go Romney! The candidate with the shorter last name deserves to win!

Actually the candidate with the biggest dick deserves to win. (Though I'm not offering to check.)

Of course, politicians don't listen carefully, so they think the rule is that the one who *is* the biggest dick deserves to win.

Re:NObama 2012 (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40838325)

Will Hussein listen to his OWN generals? Hell no.

What *actually* happens, as you would know if you've been following the current case of the M-1 and a hundred like it before, is that the Pentagon decides that they don't want to spend their money on something that they don't think will help them accomplish their mission, and the the defense contractors who will lose funding run screaming to their congresscritter, who the goes screaming to the public that the {commies,terrorists,aliens} will win if the Pentagon is not allowed to spend all those billions of dollars in their district, so Congress puts in the defense budget even though the Pentagon doesn't want it.

'Cause we got to keep that pork flowing.

Re:NObama 2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838335)

And jobs are nice too, if you forget.

Cut military spending. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837267)

We spend entirely too much money on our military. We are so far ahead of the next country in terms of dollars spent it's not even close. We keep bases all around the world, protecting everybody, so that they don't have to spend their own money on a military and instead can spend it domestically. It needs to end. It's no longer 1955.

Re:Cut military spending. (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40837311)

Exactly. We need diplomacy, not bombs. We need to stop trying to be the world's "policeman", stop propping up dictators, stop propping up the rebels to take down the dictators we earlier propped up, and slash military spending. Consider Switzerland, for example.

Re:Cut military spending. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837363)

We need to cut our spending because other countries are using us as proxy army so they don't have to spend their own money on their own defense. If they want military protection, let me them run it themselves.

Re:Cut military spending. (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40837521)

Many of those countries 'use you as a proxy army' because the US government didn't want those countries to be military competitors post-WW2. While that may have been a sensible policy, you can hardly blame them for something the US government itself encouraged.

Re:Cut military spending. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837987)

itself encouraged.

Rather forced upon them

Diplomacy does not always work (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40837929)

We need diplomacy, not bombs.

 
In an ideal world, diplomacy should lead the way
 
Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world
 
In this world we live in, talking softly while carrying a big stick is still the most practical way of doing things
 

Re:Diplomacy does not always work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838157)

The US talks loudly while swinging a very big stick though.

Certainly does make many other countries nervous - even the "non-baddies".

Re:Diplomacy does not always work (0, Troll)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40838313)

Hey, look, it's Internet Tough Guy!

Do you really think there's anyone here who doesn't understand that "we do not live in an ideal world"? We can acknowledge this fact and still try to make the world a little less, well, non-ideal. Some ways to do this are to maintain a military adequate to defend our territory and meet our treaty obligations without sinking our economy into the military machine, rely on diplomacy as our first option for resolving conflicts with other nations, and resort to force only when there's no other option.

Of course, if you'd rather, feel free to keep making ominous pronouncements about big sticks. And when it comes time to swing that stick, you're welcome to be first over the top. I did my time, in Daddy Bush's war. When and where did you step up to the plate to back your rhetoric?

Re:Diplomacy does not always work (1)

maitai (46370) | about 2 years ago | (#40838359)

Was that your own nick for yourself? Because it sure sounds like it. Especially with your over the top reply to the previous fellow.

Re:Diplomacy does not always work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838377)

I did Bush Jrs. We live in Pax Americana. We're all better off if noone's blowing each other to shit, and having a big bad American bully around gives all the little shit countries someone to sneer at instead of blowing each other to crap all the time.

Re:Cut military spending. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838183)

How do you think diplomacy work?

If you don't come and sit at the table, I'll let our military bomb you!

Re:Cut military spending. (1)

john82 (68332) | about 2 years ago | (#40838245)

Really? What has diplomacy EVER solved?

Does it seem to you that a jacka** such as Assad is going to pay any attention to "Stop, or we'll say stop again!"? Show me one instance where it's made ANY difference.

Re:Cut military spending. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837345)

Awkward moment when even the military is calling out excessive military spending

Re:Cut military spending. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837645)

Only a fool would believe that the US is the World's 'policeman' and the notion of 'protecting' everyone is a bad joke. All of that crap is for sheeple consumption in the US. The US is the latest EMPIRE and is protecting ITS interests. Anyone that wants to do anything outside these 'interests' has their country trashed and/or government removed either directly or indirectly via CIA sponsored proxies. This is not sustainable and will now stretch the empire to its breaking point especially as the US economy no longer supports these inglorious ambitions. The decline of the US Empire is mirroring the decline the of the Roman Empire.

Re:Cut military spending. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837711)

That is precisely what makes the US government the world's "police".

Your average street cop isn't out there to protect you, they are out there to serve the interests of the government.

Re:Cut military spending. (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40838083)

Your average street cop isn't out there to protect you, they are out there to serve the interests of the government.

 
I beg to differ
 
The average stret cop isn't out there to serve the interests of the government - rather, his or her main interest is to serve herself / himself
 
As for secondary interests, maybe for local business concerns or drug lords, or whoever can pull the right strings for the local street beat cops
 

Re:Cut military spending. (1)

bigtrike (904535) | about 2 years ago | (#40837745)

So you're saying we're going to be overrun by barbarians from the north?

Re:Cut military spending. (2, Funny)

JimCanuck (2474366) | about 2 years ago | (#40837855)

Well in that case ... Go Canada!

Re:Cut military spending. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838093)

I, for one, welcome the future when the Chinese will save the world with their generosity and diplomacy

Re:Cut military spending. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837825)

"We keep bases all around the world, protecting everybody"

Protecting everybody? No, protecting "US interests".
It's just that US interests extent well outside US borders.
Or at least the powers that be think so.

The U.S. spends more on defense (2)

ridgecritter (934252) | about 2 years ago | (#40838193)

than the combined total of the seventeen nations next in defense spending. I can recommend David Wessel's book Red Ink as an excellent, informative read on US budgetary matters. The stat I led this post with comes from his book. Also, I suggest listening to Teri Gross's interview with Wessel today. You can find it here: http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13&prgDate=07-31-2012 [npr.org]

Re:Cut military spending. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40838365)

We spend entirely too much money on our military. We are so far ahead of the next country in terms of dollars spent it's not even close. We keep bases all around the world, protecting everybody, so that they don't have to spend their own money on a military and instead can spend it domestically. It needs to end. It's no longer 1955.

I agree, and a *radical* reduction.

However, IMO we need to go about it slowly to keep from submitting the economy to any more shocks. Defense spending has had 60+ years to become deeply embedded in our economy, and cutting it out is going to hurt.

The (also badly needed) troop reduction is also going to put a lot of people in need of a job.

And by 'controversy', I think they mean ... (5, Insightful)

pipedwho (1174327) | about 2 years ago | (#40837271)

'interfere with the military industrial complex gravy train'.

Re:And by 'controversy', I think they mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837317)

'interfere with the military industrial complex gravy train'.

And by 'gravy train' you mean the unethical political contributions for legislators to keep them elected.

Re:And by 'controversy', I think they mean ... (1)

barvennon (2643433) | about 2 years ago | (#40838169)

and superpacs. Mostly superpacs.

How about... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40837277)

How about trying to maintain a foreign policy that encourages peace and free trade? I'm sure that will keep us much safer and will cost us less. But instead we spend our billions on arms and look for conflicts to use them in...

Re:How about... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837295)

Private property is theft from the commons. No more, no less.

Re:How about... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837343)

Commons is theft from private individuals. No more, no less.

Re:How about... (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 years ago | (#40837429)

So everything, everywhere is owned by somebody?

That would be funny, except that people like you actually seem to believe it.

Re:How about... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40837553)

If something is useful and easily allowed to be owned, of course it would be owned. Now, naturally there are natural things that no one owns because its impossible to stake a claim on (the sun, the wind, the ocean) and some things which aren't even property because they lack the essential definition of property (that there can only be one user that uses it to the fullest, such as a car, if I want to drive a car to New York tomorrow, and my neighbor wants to drive that same car to LA at the same time, it won't work, but with non-property such as copyright that essential part is missing, if my neighbor wants to start a movie at 3:05 PM and I want to start that same title at 3:07 PM, we can do that with digital copies, naturally though a physical DVD or Blu-Ray is property) and there are plenty of things that are property that no one wants and are therefore unowned.

Re:How about... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837633)

I think you assume too much about the AC (I'm a different one). Just because he flipped the first AC's comment around doesn't mean he truly believes it; I read it as he was just pointing out how fallacious the first comment was.

Property is quite the philosophical conundrum. If you take both of those comments at face value, they illustrate the two most extremist positions one can take regarding property while still believing in it as an inherent right of some sort rather than some made up BS. Interestingly enough, other animals seem to believe in this property thing as well and in both senses. An anthill is the property of the collective whereas a beaver dam is the property of the individual. Personally, I don't think that either ants or beavers are immoral because of the way they handle matters concerning property, what's best is relative to that which is of the highest quality for the specific instance. I don't think property is either an inherent right or made up BS. It's just a word to describe a situation in which one maintains control over some item - whether that control is protected by law enforcement, secrecy, or just by virtue of the fact that no one wants to challenge you for it is irrelevant. It's the control that makes it property.

Alexander the Great conquered everything he ever saw. Several armies tried to challenge this fact but they all failed to prevent him from exerting control over every piece of the world he ever stepped foot on. Really, everything, everywhere on earth is owned. Some by individuals, some by governments, most an overlap between the two.

Private property equalling theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837529)

Calling private property theft as you have invites a few questions:
Do you consider the clothes on your back and the food in your mouth to be private property and therefore theft?
Do you mean that owning ranches the size of countries and denying the locals use to that land is theft?
Where do you draw the line between just, normal, and excessive? A person's house or a person's investment house?

I suspect that you've got the wrong bone here. It is inheritance law that encourages and propogates inequalites on vast scale. When Lenin took power in the Soviet Union he abolished all rights to inheritance beyond personal effects. When Stalin took over after Lenin's stroke the first thing he did was reinstate inheritance rights with the intention of building a clique of families who would do exactly whatever he wanted.
The matter is not easily sorted given that wealth can be passed on before death, owned by companies in lieu, or shared among a family for their mutual benefit among many other possibilites. There is also the issue of what happens to stocks of public companies when the owner dies - does the government take them, the company resume them, the workers share them? None of the answers is satisfactory.

Private property probably is theft but the alternatives are worse.

Re:How about... (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40838173)

Private property is theft from the commons.

Given that's there's no such entity as "the commons", this doesn't strike me as even remotely a problem. I'm sure private property is stealing from invisible pink unicorns as well.

Re:How about... (3, Informative)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about 2 years ago | (#40837617)

This didn't deserve an off-topic. The primary mission of the United States Navy is to preserve freedom on the seas. That was the number one item on the back of my Liberty Card (for the short period of time I actually had one). We are dependent on that free trade for our national survival especially in time of war and this is true of many of our alliance and trading partners. Anything that threatens that mission threatens the nation, and in actuality the Constitution if you trace it back.

I would be negligent not to also point out that warfare in the modern era (1800+) has been characterized by conflicts that start between major trading partners so preserving our strength for this mission may be helpful in preventing future conflicts. Frankly, those of us in uniform really do not want to see combat despite what those not in uniform may think. Getting shot at, and possibly killed, isn't on our list of high-points of a career in the military. I come from a long line of naval service on both sides of the family. Mom and Dad served in the Navy as well. I think I can speak for all of us on point about how we would like our careers to end. My career was hazardous enough without help from outside actors.

So if spending a few billion here and there to prevent a war is possible, ....

Re:How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837743)

Fix the corporations and the wars will stop.

Re:How about... (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40837877)

Yea! We never had wars before corporations!

Re:How about... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 2 years ago | (#40837953)

How about trying to maintain a foreign policy that encourages peace and free trade?

That's exactly what we have, you just forgot the "or else" part.

Re:How about... (1)

raehl (609729) | about 2 years ago | (#40838007)

How about trying to maintain a foreign policy that encourages peace and free trade?

That stops working the second someone else decides to have a foreign policy based on military power.

You can't demand peace and free trade if the other guy has a gun and you don't.

Re:How about... (3, Interesting)

Viceice (462967) | about 2 years ago | (#40838069)

It's hard to do without a real Army. Just look at what China is doing in the South China Sea.

Just last week China said it was going to unilaterally have its military garrison a group of disputed oil rich islands off the coast of Vietnam and as much as the other countries want to protest, they can't do jack shit about it because not only do they want to be good trading partners with China, they cannot afford a shooting war with China.

So yeah, keeping the peace also means being able to put up a fight if one breaks out.

Re:How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838127)

I'm sorry but free trade has never existed anywhere at any time. Even the most primitive hunting and gathering extended families had taboos and proto religions that to some degree regulated trade. Considering that the notion of a free market is the basis for capitalism we do need to understand that the entire concept is a sophist deception.
              If the point is that some trade is more free than other trade it sort of is illogical. Free is a word like pregnant. You are or not pregnant. There is no being a little bit pregnant.
                Even before there were taboos the strong man in the group bashed down anyone who traded or did anything else he did not like.
                It is better to base politics and laws on firm realities. And when it comes to military forces and equipment the reality is we really can't know what other nations, separately or jointly just might try to use on us in the future. It only takes one or two evil geniuses to provide a nation with an ability to crush other nations. And in America we actually do not even know about many weapons until they are over 30 years old and perhaps even longer. We certainly came close in WWII to total loss of our nation.

Not a man, not a penny! (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#40837289)

Not a man, not a penny for the bosses' war machine! Workers in the U.S.,our enemy is at home: Wall Street and Washington! Defeat U.S. imperialism! Forward to a workers government!

Nonsense... it is 100% effective (5, Interesting)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 2 years ago | (#40837293)

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/f-22-germans/ [wired.com]

"In mid-June, 150 German airmen and eight twin-engine, non-stealthy Typhoons arrived at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for an American-led Red Flag exercise involving more than 100 aircraft from Germany, the U.S. Air Force and Army, NATO, Japan, Australia and Poland. Eight times during the two-week war game, individual German Typhoons flew against single F-22s in basic fighter maneuvers meant to simulate a close-range dogfight.

The results were a surprise to the Germans and presumably the Americans, too. “We were evenly matched,” Maj. Marc Gruene told Combat Aircraft’s Jamie Hunter. The key, Gruene said, is to get as close as possible to the F-22 and stay there. “They didn’t expect us to turn so aggressively.”"

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (5, Informative)

Jimme Blue (1683902) | about 2 years ago | (#40837349)

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/f-22-germans/ [wired.com]

"...individual German Typhoons flew against single F-22s in basic fighter maneuvers meant to simulate a close-range dogfight.

The results were a surprise to the Germans and presumably the Americans, too. “We were evenly matched,” Maj. Marc Gruene told Combat Aircraft’s Jamie Hunter. The key, Gruene said, is to get as close as possible to the F-22 and stay there. “They didn’t expect us to turn so aggressively.”"

I don't doubt this report. However, my understanding is that the point of F-22 is to conduct its engagements at long-range and avoid these close-range knife fights. If the threat gets to dog-fighting range, the F-22s have screwed up and lost their greatest advantages.

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837483)

It seems that in air-to-air combat, as in a knife fight, 'the bad guys' don't always play by the rules. Don't quote me but I think an F-22 can carry a maximum of six medium range missiles and two short range missiles. Assuming a 100% hit rate in a fight against multiple non-stealthy bogies the pilot will have his work cut out for him (and also assuming the oxygen delivery system doesn't malfunction and kill the pilot).

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837643)

But then there are the rules of engagement to consider. In the real world where there are airliners criss-crossing the sky, how realistic is it to expect an aircraft to routinely fight at beyond visible range? In all the aerial battles that have happened since the end of WWII, how many have taken place without eye-balling the other guy?

$110M Eurofigher against the $150M F-22 (5, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#40837897)

It seems that in air-to-air combat, as in a knife fight, 'the bad guys' don't always play by the rules.

Actually if you bother to read the article where the German pilots were surprised to find themselves on an equal footing in a dog fight you will find that they also said that at long range they did everything they could and basically had little chance against the F22.

Don't quote me but I think an F-22 can carry a maximum of six medium range missiles and two short range missiles. Assuming a 100% hit rate in a fight against multiple non-stealthy bogies the pilot will have his work cut out for him.

Not really. The Germans were flying the $110M (Euro 90M) Eurofigher against the $150M F-22. The Eurofighter is a contemporary of the F-22, only a couple of years older, not something from a previous design generation. The other guy is not going to have some huge numerical advantage.

That said, we should have a more balanced force. We have had long range over the horizon capable jets going back to Vietnam but they are rarely every allowed to engage at such distances. They are almost always required to get visual IDs on the other aircraft. I'm sure there will be specialized missions where the F-22s are the way to go and we should have some. But we should also have modern incarnations of a dedicated fighter and a dedicated close air support aircraft, as we did in the past with the F-16s and A-10s. For those unfamiliar with the origin of these legendary aircraft, the Air Force did not want either one. They were both designed by rouge design teams that did not believe in the concept of multi-mission aircraft, and after demonstrating amazing performance in their respective roles, they were forced upon the Air Force by a cost conscious Congress.

Re:$110M Eurofigher against the $150M F-22 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838217)

[The A-10 and the F-16] were both designed by rouge design teams

Damn, those communist design teams were good!

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40837537)

Meanwhile, in the real world, beyond-visual-range fighting tends to be rare because rules of engagement generally require that you can be certain you're shooting at a bad guy.

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837789)

You know, this sounds like a perfect role for drones. Front line scouts that give targeting confirmation designed to get close when the manned fighters shouldn't.

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 2 years ago | (#40838103)

Actually not anymore. One of the reasons that the F-14 did so little in the Gulf Wars was that it lacked the modern radars that could do None Cooperative Target Identification. Modern radar can ID a target well past visual range. Your about 10 to 15 years out of date.

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (3, Informative)

srmalloy (263556) | about 2 years ago | (#40837589)

I don't doubt this report. However, my understanding is that the point of F-22 is to conduct its engagements at long-range and avoid these close-range knife fights. If the threat gets to dog-fighting range, the F-22s have screwed up and lost their greatest advantages.

That was the point of the F-14 Tomcat, too -- an airframe designed around carrying the AIM-54 Phoenix long-range missile to engage and destroy incoming Soviet bombers at ranges that would force them to launch their anti-ship missiles before acquiring good targeting information; while the swing-wing gave it an increased flexibility in maneuver, it was still a large, relatively unmaneuverable fighter. You will note that, despite upgrades like the Super Tomcat, the F-14 has been phased out, replaced by the much smaller F-18 and variants, plus the increasingly late and over-budget F-35C.

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837799)

Worked oh so well in Vietnam.

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (4, Insightful)

thesandbender (911391) | about 2 years ago | (#40837531)

The F-22 is ultimately meant to protect our AWACS planes. If the AWACS are taking out, the USAF loses their view of the airspace and controlling it becomes much more difficult. The F-22 are meant to loiter a distance away from the AWACS and take their targeting instructions from them. The enemy aircraft get popped and if it's done right the F-22 are still hidden.

If they know its going to be a true dog fight, they're going to send in the F-15s which have proven time and again that it can hold it's own (b/c despite their size, they were designed to be close in knife fighters). The F-15's won't always maintain this superiority and newer Mig's and Sukohi's have closed much or all of the gap... but it's still one of the best out their.

Anyway, using a ground based analogy... the F-22 is meant to a sniper, supporting the F-15's and F/A-18's are the grunts who will be doing the close in work.

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (1)

i286NiNJA (2558547) | about 2 years ago | (#40837885)

Could you supplement this with a car analogy?

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (4, Funny)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 2 years ago | (#40838133)

So imagine you're a racing company. A big one. You have fingers in every pie from demolition derbies to dirt bikes to those 2,000 horsepower sprint races. You've got stock cars, Formula 1 monsters, and banged up heavily reinforced pickups. You may save money by making a stock car that can compete in F1 but in the end you risk losing because your car couldn't cut it in the right field. Now the F-22 is like a formula one car. Fast, very expensive, highly specialized. In its domain it's the best in the world. But you would lose a 500 lap nascar race in one. So you don't build as many and you use them only where they belong.

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838375)

while we're on a roll here, could we get a breakfast cereal analogy too? thanks

Re:Nonsense... it is 100% effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838187)

When 9/11 went down we suddenly had the German Air Force aiding in the protection of spots in Florida including our nuclear power plants. For older Americans seeing German war planes over our skies was a bit nauseating even though they were here to help us. It also tells us that the US Air Force could not secure American air space.
              A very large fleet of clunker types air craft might be very important in protecting our nation. Perhaps designs quite similar to the old Japanese zeroes with the ability to immediately put many thousands in the air would ward off many attacks or used to gain ground if carrying high technology bombs. Like insects you just could not stop them all from getting to a target and with big bang weapons one or two could do any job.

This Admiral's 'Days' are 'Hours' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837365)

The Joint Chiefs will view this as an 'insurrection' by a Staff Member of 'questionable' loyalty.

To go public with this complaint means that his shelf-life is down to hours. He's out and maybe
subject to an Executive murder order, if it pleases the Executive.

This is how the 'Professional Military' operate.

Cui bono? (4, Interesting)

jaymzter (452402) | about 2 years ago | (#40837371)

Think about the source folks. I'm an ex-Navy man so it pains me to say, but to me it seems obvious what's going on here. Ask yourself, does it benefit the Navy or Marines if we standardize on a subset of airframes? Who do you think would be the major driver of those designs? It's going to be the Air Force, and the needs of the fleet are going to come second to theirs.

Next, the Admiral himself brings up aircraft carriers, a platform not known for its stealthiness. In fact, pretty much any Navy ship designed for stealth is going to be smaller and have a small crew as well. He's defending his turf and his budget, which in a sense is very much his job as CNO. Or at least that's my take.

Go Navy, Beat Army! ;-)

Re:Cui bono? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40837555)

I believe you'll find that the F-35's design is largely driven by the Navy and Marine requirements, since pretty much the same airframe has to operate from land, traditional carriers and VTOL from small carriers.

Re:Cui bono? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#40837755)

I find it hard to believe the Navy really wants a single engine fighter. Surely even the Squids are not that stupid. In fact, with the experience of the F-16 lawn dart I would think the military would have dropped the idea of a single engine fighter for good. Of course, from the manufacturers standpoint it's a nice feature. Plenty of replacement orders for all the ones that drop out of the sky.

Re:Cui bono? (5, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40837615)

If you had actually read the article, you would have noticed a few interesting things:

1. Although Stealth was indeed part of his thesis, it was only one of a number of subjects he touched on. He mainly was describing the current Navy attempts at creating Stealth vessels - attempts that have been very expensive and pretty much useless. He points out that anti stealth technology is advancing faster (and cheaper) than stealth construction techniques and it's tactical advantages tend to be rather modest. Basically, Stealth isn't and should not be the be all and end all of military research.

2. Most of the article described the long lead times of military gear (especially naval vessels) and the short half like of various military technologies (like Stealth). He posits that making modular systems that can be re purposed easily for whatever tends the be the threat de jour.

Of course, he spends a lot of time talking about non modular ships like the Enterprise (the CVN-65, not NCC-1701) and how they've been modified for different jobs over the years without being expressly modular, but the idea is there.

Re:Cui bono? (1)

jaymzter (452402) | about 2 years ago | (#40838001)

If you had actually read the article....

You must be new here.

Re:Cui bono? (4, Interesting)

RicktheBrick (588466) | about 2 years ago | (#40838231)

I joined the Navy in 1974. My first ship was the USS Virginia (CGN-38). Almost everything to me was a joke. My training in combat was almost nothing. I was a fire control man(FC). At first I was a FTM but that was dropped and FC was my designation. I was expected to maintain and operate the combat MK-74 weapon system. The computer did not have a hard drive and the program was loaded by using a tape system. Nobody really expected that the ship was going to be used in combat even though the ship was an expensive ship since it was nuclear powered. If I could get the weapon system to pass a daily test, I was good. It would throw some fake targets at the ship and if the radar detected them and generated a solution and if the launcher would load up a fake missile and point it, I could fire it and the test would be successful. Never at any point was there any training on what to do if we were really attacked by a real enemy. It was just like my duty to be on the quarterdeck. I was given a 45 and 10 rounds of ammunition. Of course the ammunition was never in the 45 as it was never fired on anyone. Once a year we would be taken to a firing range where we would be told to fire on a target. It did not matter how close we got to the target since they always told us the Navy could not afford to train us to fire accurately and besides if they failed us it would make us happy since it would mean that they could not assign us to the quarterdeck watch. Everything was a joke since several times, I would be assigned to walk on a deck with a shotgun but was never given training on when to shoot it. Or how to defend myself if there was an attack. I really do not know what would have happened if some pirate would have tried to board us on the fan tail. There would have been a watch there but he would have been unarmed and the only weapon would have been on the bridge. It would have been in the custody of someone with no training along with some officers with again no combat training. The armory would have been locked up at night and the key would probably be with a gunners mate who would have to get there unarmed to pass weapons to again other sailors with no training on how to use them. I did this on three other ships and my total experience was that it was a very big joke as I at no time felt I was defending this country from any enemy as I was given no training.

Next 17 countries combined. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837385)

You think?

America only brings guns to knife fights, it seems.
Seems cowardice. any budget, except one where we have a fair fight with others.

Re:Next 17 countries combined. (5, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#40837915)

What sort of moron wants a fair fight if they can have an advantage?

War is all about cowardice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838049)

Wars are intertwined with cowardice! Terrorize the losers enough and they give up; blitzkrieg is all about the shock of the first blows and how they are a force multiplier and is AKA shock and awe. If your goal is to exterminate, then terrorism is not required. If your goal is to force submission by threat of violence... then the use of terrorism is required. Sure some people are not cowards and will surrender to terrorism on practical grounds but I think most due it out of fear. Now we've summarized the losing side's cowardice, lets talk about winners:

Winners are usually cowards as well. You don't fight fair in a war, it is not about honor, ethics, or civil behavior it is the lowest levels that mankind sinks down to. People just like to fool themselves into thinking they are not acting barbaric or evil by imposing limits of their depravity which creates a false reference point -- since the brain works on relative reasoning this whole behavior is quite organic but it is also heavily exploited and well understood these days. When the enemy does something horrible, you feel like you can do it too but just be 1 hair less evil than them and you are justified; there are hundreds of ways you can rationalize stooping down to their level while feeling you are better or even while feeling you are not degrading yourself !!

There is no justifiable war and when you play the game of justification you have just begun losing to your human flaws and become highly susceptible to false reasoning. This is why some philosophies like Jesus are flatly against even starting such risky reasoning at all with an absolute ban on it -- and just look how easily that is completely lost once people just ignore his teachings with a tiny excuse it turns into horrible acts in his name. Buddhists have similar positions from another angle; more realistic in that you'll pay for it later - you can rationalize there as well; the thing is not the philosophies but the warped reasoning people will employ and easily hijack things especially the organized religions which are highly susceptible to other human flaws.

Cowards bring guns to a knife fight. Totally correct!
The purpose of the fight is not to fight fairly or by any code or rules -- in fact, we view old traditions such as trial by combat to be midevil stupidity when it really is not any worse than how we act today. we have not evolved; do not fool yourself. "Fair" barbaric fights for justice is contradictory which is why trial by combat is gone (replaced by trial by legal mercenaries.) We've become realistic enough to skip the other values because all that matters is who WINS the fight... business thinks along similar metaphors as well...(simply by using war metaphors in language you create a subconscious change in behavior people are not aware of.) The ones who place values above winning end up losing but may get some respect in how they lost for an ideal despite the contradiction; the winner is generally allowed the spoils anyhow because we collectively validate the winner's values even if we like to say otherwise. This promotes those who do not have such values to positions of power, possibly also promoting the lack of those values as a value.

People are overwhelmingly good and want to be. that is the reality. To maintain this self image and goal people invent a whole lot to protect their fragile ego and maintain this.

Re:Next 17 countries combined. (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#40838279)

Wise people prefer to win battles without fighting.

Very often that involves:
1) bringing guns or MOABs to knife fights
2) giving the loser hope of survival if they surrender[1], typically with some way of saving face.

[1] If you are known to never take prisoners or known to treat prisoners badly, more of your enemies will fight to the bitter end.

Stealth is ore 9/11 thinking (0)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#40837387)

Thr while purpose of stealth was to convince Americans we could go to war without risking lives. This was considered important by those who like an active foreign policy because after the Vietnam War Americans lost their taste for war. Overwhelming air power in The Gulf War showed Americans are fine with war as long as other people are doing the dying. Stealth fit this purpose.

It seems now after 9/11 Americans are fine with losing thousands of lives in War. If that's the case we should switch back to lots of dumb cheap fighters. If we don't cry over thousands of soldiers a few dozen pilots aren't going to matter. Go back to F-16, F-15, F,18 and A-10's.

Re:Stealth is ore 9/11 thinking (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about 2 years ago | (#40837693)

I caught a piece (didn't save the link) that mentioned that personnel costs, for both serving members and retired/disabled veterans, will consume the entire defense budget in the future, let alone paying for new procurement and operational expenses. The Navy literally spent millions on my ass, pilots are just as expensive, so losing a bunch in cheaper planes doesn't necessarily make sense. Lose a carrier, well you are immediately out billions before accounting for replacement costs for just the hardware. Everything in warfare involves trade-offs since it's generally a come-as-you-are affair. This requires some serious skill sweat so I think I'll wait to hear what the Naval War College (who may be the generator of this testimony for all I know) says.

The scale is totally different nowadays.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837459)

During WWII, they cranked planes out by the 1,000's if not 10's of 1,000's. Nowadays, the number of high performance jets is measured in the hundreds. If there were to be a conflict, due to the complexity of today's aircraft, there is no way to crank out new aircraft by the 1,000's or hundreds or even tens. There may certainly be a need for a much simpler aircraft that can be easily mass produced in significant quantities.

Re:The scale is totally different nowadays.... (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40837637)

During WWII, they cranked planes out by the 1,000's if not 10's of 1,000's. Nowadays, the number of high performance jets is measured in the hundreds. If there were to be a conflict, due to the complexity of today's aircraft, there is no way to crank out new aircraft by the 1,000's or hundreds or even tens. There may certainly be a need for a much simpler aircraft that can be easily mass produced in significant quantities.

Those are called drones (and cruise missiles which really are a form of drone). The idea is that meatbags don't get to see the action up close. That's for the video gear.

Easiest Way to Add Gravy to the Gravy Train... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837479)

... is to change acquisition strategy every 8-10 years. Cancel lots of programs, start new ones, never finish anything and never hold any company accountable, but simply keep paying the tab. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Combat_Systems for one $340 BILLION debacle.

Another way to do it is to have programs that last 15 years, so the technology is obsolete when it comes out and a new program needs to be started to replace what was just produced. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Strike_Fighter_program for a program that is going to be completely obsolete because unmanned aircraft are going to be much simpler, cheaper and maneuverable. We sent a man to the moon and back in 8 years - these other programs are just white collar welfare.

I've met Admiral Greenert (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 2 years ago | (#40837507)

And his logic is hard to fault. He pointed to the B-52 as an example of a flexible weapons platform that had a wide variety of uses that didn't require stealth technology compared to the limited usefulness of the F-117.

Solid, reliable and flexible is more important than stealth, which was designed for a war we're likely never going to fight.

Re:I've met Admiral Greenert (2)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about 2 years ago | (#40837623)

I have to agree. More rugged, flexible platforms without all the techno crap (less shit to go wrong) really seems the way to go. They are less expensive to build and maintain. The A10 and C130s are excellent examples of aviation engineering at its finest. Modern 'stealthy' jets may still have a role to play, but it's the simple designs the will win the day.

Re:I've met Admiral Greenert (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 2 years ago | (#40837677)

In 1900, the very small British Army was armed, equipped and trained to put down Wogs........no one ever thought that within less than 15 years they'd be fighting out of trenches in France.

one more argument in a 2 centruy old debate... (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40837573)

People have been arguing over the best value in military equipment for standing armies for the better part of 2 centuries, this isn't anything new.

And no one is right. General purpose versatile weapons that are useful against relatively weak powers if the next war you fight is against a relatively weak power, but you can't anticipate which one, where specialized equipment is useful against a specific target when you know who you're fighting.

If you could predict the future and know what enemy you'd have to fight next, and what weapons you'd want for that war then sure, you could reasonably guess what platforms you want, or what payloads you want. His view is that the US can innovate on those things separately fast enough to adapt to any new threat, he might be right of course, but probably for relatively low involvement conflicts he's wrong, and knowing the future mix is tough.

The specific criticism of stealth isn't anything new. By the time you ever have to fight anyone important they'll probably be able to see stealth aircraft so you're not getting much, on the other hand if you have to go into Syria by the end of the month stealth could payoff. Transferring research to longer range weapons (standoff weapons in his parlance) isn't an inherently bad idea, but of course the longer a munition has to travel the easier it is to disrupt or intercept so you could spend a lot of research dollars on something that will just fail to deliver. Electromagnetically launched weapons probably have a place, but that's only one piece of a large puzzle.

Re:one more argument in a 2 centruy old debate... (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40837739)

If you could predict the future and know what enemy you'd have to fight next

Really, every conflict and war that the US has entered in since World War II has been a completely voluntary war. The US can (and does) choose the wars it wants to fight. Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Panama, Kosovo, etc. There hasn't been a war in the last 50 years that the US has -had- to fight, everything has been carefully chosen.

Re:one more argument in a 2 centruy old debate... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40838005)

That doesn't mean you have enough time to devise an all new set of military equipment for the wars you feel the need to get involved in though. Joining the korean war in 1955 would have been as useful as trying to invade vietnam in 1980.

US entry in the war may be voluntary, but the timing is somewhat constrained. The rwandan genocide took 100 days roughly, at that point the US 'entering the war' would have been too late anyway so there was no point, and that's the problem, if there's something you are obliged to do (stop genocide, stop torture, defend someone from an invasion or the like) you don't have a whole lot of time to decide (or even know) what you need, let alone build it.

I'll grant you that the recolonization efforts in Iraq were mostly a manufactured timeline, but Afghanistan not so much. There's a big difference between a 3 month build up and 3 years.

That's true, but.... (3, Interesting)

raehl (609729) | about 2 years ago | (#40838089)

Ever since Vietnam, we've only chosen the wars we thought we could easily win.

The consequence is that if you don't have the military hardware to fight a war, then you can't use the threat of war against whatever opponent you're not willing to choose a war against.

Put another way, there's a reason we'll regime change Libya but have no balls when it comes to Iran's nukes.

mo3 up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837575)

Speed Stealth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837585)

Eh, go for straight out WFO speed. If you're the fastest damn thing in the sky, you should need much stealth.... providing you can turn.

Some benefits of big budget military spending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40837605)

1. It's a jobs program that is immune to conservative prejudice against "government jobs". That's why the military shrewdly maintains bases and suppliers in just about every state.

2. It's a stimulus program that is largely immune from GOP deficit hawks; in fact, Reagan blasted the country out of the early '80s recession, through deficit spending on the military (he also made hundreds of cuts in domestic spending programs, but that was window dressing in dollar terms). The stream of expenditures is predictable, so it is arguably a more effective stimulus than, let's say handing consumers a tax rebate and hoping they'll spend some of the proceeds on cars and electronic gadgets.

3. If a foreign government harasses our commercial shipping or citizens, they better be prepared to defend against these weapon systems.

4. It's a recruitment tool for the services. Their soldiers will be flying and operating the latest technological wonders, the sorts of things that people see in video games and action movies.

5. Our officers, soldiers, and engineers get training and experience on the latest technologies; our enemies don't.

6. We have an "ace" that other countries (besides our allies) don't have, which can be used effectively in certain situations, with resulting benefits to our diplomatic position. For example, Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom in Iraq, or the NATO operations against Qaddafi in Libya

7. Other countries have items #4 and #5 and perhaps #3 on their list too, so it's a big ticket export item for the USA that helps our trade balance, and is also a bargaining chip in foreign relations.

8. Politicians can use their record sponsoring and voting for weapons programs as proof that they are "tough on defense" and "standing up against foreign aggressors". Easy to do and doesn't cost them anything, since the taxpayers are footing the bill.

The above list wasn't meant to be facetious - all except the last item arguably help the country, although whether they collectively are worth the cost is debatable.

Re:Some benefits of big budget military spending (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40837673)

Maintaining a large military does not help the country. Why do you think 9/11 happened? It was because the US interfered in the Middle East. Its no accident that terrorist attacks haven't happened in neutral Switzerland. Peace is never won through bombs, it isn't won by propping up dictators, its won through diplomacy, its won through free trade and honesty. War breeds war.

It's the defence contractors... (4, Insightful)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | about 2 years ago | (#40837679)

...who want to shove this stuff down the armed forces' throats. The generals and admirals themselves say they don't want the kit, but the lobbyists and aerospace companies insist on making their billions or even trillions of dollars; and the members of Congress want their kickbacks and 'campaign contributions'.

Meanwhile (3)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 years ago | (#40837735)

Ike Eisenhower is spinning in his grave. He warned us about the Military/Industrial Complex - of course he waited until he was leaving office to do so. But he did warn us. And what did we do, nothing. Of course it is in the interests of the arms industry to keep one upping, that guarantees a continual profit scheme for shareholders.

The One True Airframe (4, Interesting)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about 2 years ago | (#40837837)

I'm not sure why this big push towards "the One True Airframe" exists in current aircraft design philosophy.

I'm a big fan of cheap, specialized airframes which are given one specific goal and then features are "added on". For example, take one of my favourite aircraft, the A-10 Warthog.

It's one-sentence goal is: "Easily destroy any armoured vehicle that the US could conceivably encounter within the next 50 years."

Which it does. Additional features it has:

- Extremely tough and rugged.
- Very long duration, able to loiter and provide cover for extended durations.
- Cheap in construction and simple to maintain.
- Minimally capable in missile-based air-air combat (it's not a dogfighter but it's not helpless either, like an AC-130 is).
- The A-10's cannon is effective against infantry (duh), buildings, helicopters and small naval assets.
- Able to deliver complex munitions (cluster bombs, air dropped mines, dumb bombs, smart missiles, etc).
- Able to function in electronic warfare/forward command roles.
- Fast enough to get to combat locations fairly quickly (subsonic, but still jet powered and fast compared to things like the AC-130 Spectre).

All of which is good, but are all of these things are secondary to its primary goal; blow the absolute piss and shit out of anything with treads or wheels. If it can't do that, the rest is fairly much window dressing.

The A-10's a perfect example how we should build combat aircraft. An air-supremacy fighter should be built with the goal of "Destroy any fighter aircraft the US could encounter within X years" and all other considerations secondary. A bomber's mission should be "Carry the maximum amount of ordnance to any location the US could want to bomb within X years", a spy plane's (mostly replaced by sats these days) should be "Take photographs of any location in the entire world without being detected or destroyed", etc.

Another way to look at it is: "A soldier should carry a knife for eating, a sword for dueling, a dagger for murdering, a claymore for horses, a razor for shaving, a bowie for skinning, a throwing knife for throwing."

Why are we trying to make The One True Edged Weapon, which if such a thing were built would be too sharp for eating, too short for dueling, too long for murdering, too short for horses, too dangerous for shaving, too awkward for skinning and too heavy to throw? (and cost $27,000,000...)

Re:The One True Airframe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838337)

This. I always thought the A-10 was underrated in what it could do. It seems like they always wanted to mothball it, but it kept chugging.

Visibil? (1)

AndyCanfield (700565) | about 2 years ago | (#40838207)

He points out that new technologies, such as low frequency radar, will eventually overcome the stealth technology of any existing flyer. How much can such a system cost? A few dishes, and a new computer - far less than a new airframe.

Then I had a vision of people scattered all over Iran, with radios and binoculars. As far as I know the so-called "stealth" planes are still visible in the visual spectrum. "What's that? It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a hundred million dollar U.S. Navy Stealth Bomber! Phone home Ahmed!"

end of stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40838219)

bah. stealth is dead with the creation of extremely light, fast, and cheap unmanned aircraft. The only reason they aren't already ubiquitous in the USAF is the "fighter-pilot" culture.

Heads up, an umanned aircraft, designed from the start to be unmanned (no human systems/interfaces/cockpit) would beat the absolute snot out of any modern fighter in ALL categories of performance except one .... budget approvals by sad ex-pilot generals and decision makers.

Where have I heard all this before? (2)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 2 years ago | (#40838315)

Where have I heard all this before? Oh right, 30-35 years ago when pretty much everyone was saying the exact same thing about the F-14. Everyone except the taxpayers, that is. We all know it's dumb to buy this stuff, but when they ask us to pay for it, we can't vote for the people who open our wallets, fast enough. Spend more money please, and I'll vote for you.

bin Ladin and Pakistan (2)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40838329)

Stealth technology certainly did something advantageous in that instance... we effectively landed at least two helicopters right next to a major military installation in the middle of Pakistan without anyone but Osama and his immediate neighbors realizing it until it was all over. I know I wasn't the only one quite impressed with that implementation of stealth technology. Honestly, I'm still having trouble believing it's possible... but it happened.

Re:bin Ladin and Pakistan (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#40838381)

Yes, right. And crashing one in the process. I call that a major fail.

Smart person (0)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#40838371)

It is pretty obvious that the US will be unable to keep its insane military funding up. In addition, basically all of these "stealth" tech has failed to deliver. Just think of, e.g., the case of earthquake sensors picking up enough vibration to give a pretty accurate performance profile and localization of an experimental stealth plane.

So what the Admiral is arguing for is not only better bang for the buck, but also effectiveness in the first place.

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