Shocking Development – New Pentagon Bomber Looks Set for Massive Cost Overruns

The Atantic website is running a great article “Why Can’t the Air Force Build an Affordable Plane?” from military correspondent David Axe, who asks why the Air Force is incapable of building an affordable bomber.  This is a very good question, and is something that could be asked about a great many weapons systems now in development for the United States military.   Current bombers, such as the B-1 and B-2, are expensive to buy and costly to operate.  A B-2 “stealth” bomber costs $135,000 per hour to fly.  Even the comparatively cheaper B-1 still costs $65,000 an hour of flight.   Imagine ditching a Ferrari every hour that a B-2 is in the air – you get the picture.

The solution was to build the simpler and cheaper “Long Range Strike Bomber” for $550 million per machine that could be acquired in large numbers.   But as is often the case, a funny thing happened on the way to cheap simplicity.   The technological targets for each new aircraft under development have a way of rising ever higher, until the inexpensive machine first promised is freakishly expensive when it at last rolls out of the factory.   Each new machine is stuffed with ever more advanced and expensive equipment.  The Long Range Strike Bomber may or may not be piloted remotely.  The original vision called for it to be remotely operated so as to keep down costs.  This, however, is easier said than done for an aircraft that is expected to fly in heavily defended environments.  The Air Force brass much prefers a piloted machine.  It may or may not be capable of carrying nuclear weaponry.  If the Air Force later decides that it should be able to carry nukes it will make the bomber more expensive.

All this is occurring in an era when government budgets at the federal, state, and local levels are being cut harshly.   The question this article raises is a good one.  Read the article here:  http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/03/why-cant-the-air-force-build-an-affordable-plane/254998/

MGD

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