Military Aviation > Defence in General

Robrt Gates - Fool or genius?

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CSAR-X, bare with me, but last thing I heard was that competition dropped out and they were about to select the Chinook, and were criticized from within the community for going into that direction. IMHO, CSAR-X got too "fat" in budget and aircraft-size, and needs to be cut. But yes, a new program is needed.

NGB, where was it going again? Stealth/unmanned? It was too ambitious for these times. It needs to be re-formulated, other the AF will end up with another white elephant and just order more predators/reapers to make up for it. I really hope there will be NGB some time, but the way this was progressing and planned (2018!! LOL) I didn't have much hopes for it.

Sad thing is indeed to see the B-1B earmarked for early retirement (again), with nothing but upped B-52s and overworked F-15Es to replace it. I thought the B-52's were being sent to the scrapyard again, in favor of the Bone. But well, if you need to cut spending, and you don't want to sacrifice your great deterrents/strategic power projection (B-2, Minuteman, subs, carrier groups (you've got 10, combined air power more than... everything except China?), overseas bases) then YES, the B-1B force is perhaps the most obvious candidate. Anyway, wind-down will probably happen slow. So I'm still hopeful for the Bone.

The B-52 will soldier on till 2045, so there's still time for a new bomber.

C-17, well what we've been hearing, its strengths and weaknesses, 233 should be enough, and is still plus 53 from its previous stop at 180. And IIRC, that wasn't under Gates. First production C-5M is being readied for delivery, I hope it will live up to its promises. Still, I think the US needs a 'light-military' strategic troop carrier, more versatile and cheaper to run than either of those. I'm just afraid the new tankers will be tied up doing lots of that... But more C-17s, I don't see why.

F-15C/D, the money that needs to be put into the few earmarked airframes to make them "Golden" hardly justifies it. I'd think some new F-16s for the air defense task, and procure some brand new F-15E (but more like F-15SE/F-15K) for the real fighting, wouldn't be much more expensive. So if that's the idea... or is it because the Raptors have this superb availability rate, we've yet to see proof of?

Leaner, more versatile aircraft. That's why all of the above aren't good enough, and probably never will be. Meaner, yup, stealth, and UAV drone attacks, preferably when the enemy is chilling out in his garden of his villa paid for by the CIA :p No idea. Seriously, I was thinking leaner and meaner in terms of the entire military, not necessarily the air force. I think you'll agree that the Army especially and perhaps also the Marines have been kinda left behind in the last, uhm 10 years, and much more leaner and meaner things need to happen there for this 21st century warfighting vision the pentagon is telling us about. But yeah for the air force that means more investments towards flexibility, intelligence, communications, networking, etc, rather than 80-bomb carrying and anti-flanker fighting forces.

Greener? You mean Army, or like environmental? LOL, argh, green makes me sick nowadays, but then he should cut those Abrams and the endless kerosine convoys they need to advance.

Come on guys, nobody else joining in? I've got this feeling, myself and Shawn are getting far too lighthearted about what's going on!

shawn a:
It is with a heavy heart that I report on an article in AW&ST's Oct 18th issue titled "Grim Future for Defense". Although the name Robet Gates does not appear anywhere in the article, the opening paragraph reads "Black predictions about the defense budget and U.S. Airforce spending are coming from the service's chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz."
He sees a coming crisis in ability and directional resolve. He mentions a faster emergence of new threats as well as the need to plan for "higher-end, large-scale conflict". He mentions advanced radars "chipping away at the invisibility of stealth designs", and the need to invest in long-range electronic attack and network invasion to maintain the penetration ability of stealthy aircraft. Also mentioned is developing a set of rules of engagement for electronic attack, directed energy weapons, and cyberinvasion. (Let's take that damn fan out of the "rhino beetle", and use the shaft to generate power for directed energy weapons, and cyberjammers!)
I'd like Mr. Gates to know, that although all of this costs money, I'm willing to pay my share!

And I was starting to wonder where they were getting the money for the new Obama-medical-plan... (which is supposedly still much less cost-efficient than Singapore's healthcare system)

Doesn't anyone else here think that the Korea conflict may be a bad time to cut military costs?

Not because of the Korea thing. But just in general... jobs will be lost, more unemployment, that's bad when the recovery of the economy is still pretty fragile. More unemployment means higher demand on welfare. I don't know exactly, but imho these cuts everywhere are coming too soon. On the other hand, I've never been a big fan of governments having huge deficits... it's all a balance, and when cuts need to be made, defence is the easiest target after foreign (humanitarian) aid.


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