Apr 1, 2021
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Useless weapons cause huge losses to America

“Too much time and money wasted.” With these words, American military experts are summing up the results of the Pentagon’s extremely expensive programs to develop the latest weapons. Billions of dollars spent on building entire weapons systems have been wasted. What is it about and why did it happen?

The Pentagon’s legendary ability to squander American taxpayer money has long been the talk of the town. Even overseas experts point out that the inability of the US Department of Defense to properly dispose of the colossal financial resources causes enormous damage to the country’s national security interests. For example, this point of view is shared by researchers from the American Enterprise Institute (Washington). They warn in their latest report that the United States faces major challenges in modernizing its military forces in the “terrible 20s” ahead.

“Strategic failure”

The authors of the report entitled “The Crisis of Modernization of the Three Arms of the Forces in the 2020s” write about the difficult situation in which the US Department of Defense finds itself. Mainly due to pressure on the administration of President Joe Biden from a significant part of the American public and lawmakers to cut military spending in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The text provides remarkable statistics: 28 programs that ended in nothing and canceled by the Pentagon between the 2002-2012 fiscal year, cost the budget $ 81.4 billion.

These are not just irrecoverable losses, something else is much more important. “Politicians and military leaders are slipping into strategic failure,” the researchers conclude. “The macro-level trajectory of our military’s degrading comparative strength is undeniable.” In total, according to Scientific American, taxpayers spent $ 13.34 trillion on the U.S. military from fiscal 2000 to fiscal 2019, in modern terms, adjusted for inflation.

The report came amid news of a letter from fifty progressive Democratic congressmen to President Biden calling for “significant cuts in defense spending.” “If we literally cut our defense budget in half, we would still spend $ 100,000,000,000 more on defense than China. $ 300 million more than Russia, ”one of the authors of the appeal, House of Representatives Mark Pokan, wrote on Twitter.

According to sources in the Pentagon and the US presidential administration, officials are drawing up a budget for fiscal 2022 of between $ 704 billion and $ 708 billion. Forbes magazine notes that these numbers are much higher than at the height of the Korean or Vietnam War, or the Reagan escalation in the 1980s, and only slightly lower than at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Supporters of cuts in funding for the Department of Defense operate with official statistics: more than half a million Americans have died from COVID-19. Nearly 24 million people in the United States, including 12 million children, are “food insecure” or, more simply, starving. Meanwhile, the number of jobless claims filed since the start of the pandemic has now reached 93 million.The latest report from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2017 only ranked 3+ (D +) on the condition of American roads, bridges and infrastructure in general, and since then the situation only got worse.

This is not the first time that the Pentagon, which has an almost bottomless budget, is at the epicenter of criticism due to its inability to effectively spend funds on national defense needs. In particular, the other day the control and audit body of the US Congress (General Audit Office) presented a report on the obstacles to the creation of hypersonic weapons due to the lack of technology that the Americans possess. Over the past decades, such egregious examples have accumulated in hundreds and thousands of volumes of investigations for the American prosecutor’s office.

Here are some of the most striking examples of the financial damage inflicted on the US treasury over the past three decades by extravagant military projects.

“They spend most of their time on the ground.”

The program to create a multifunctional fighter-bomber F-35 Lightning II, according to former US President Donald Trump, got out of control back in 2016. According to various estimates, the cost of creating and implementing the F-35 family ranges from 1.5 to 2 trillion dollars.

The original terms of reference assumed that the latest fighter would meet the needs of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, be fast, stealthy, able to take off and land in the most difficult conditions and use almost any weapon. Instead, the plane turned into a black hole of engineering problems, outdated technology, repeatedly disrupted development timelines and, of course, wasted money.

According to Responsible Statecraft, the F-35 is at least ten years behind the implementation schedule, the cost of an hour of flight is $ 44,000, and one unit of the 2020 model costs taxpayers $ 110 million. The creation of the world’s most expensive “flying Swiss army knife” for three departments at once turned, in the words of the magazine Salon, into a “catastrophic saga”.

It is known that the supersensitive sensors of a fifth generation fighter do not work 20% of the time. The F-35’s supersonic flight is designated an “emergency use” option, and the components of the stealth coating peel off at high speed, making the aircraft fully visible to enemy radars. The ultra-modern F-35 pilot’s helmet, which, according to the idea, should allow the pilot to “see through the cockpit” of the aircraft, has not been brought to mind. In 2017-2018, almost half of the F-35 fleet was landed for long-term maintenance, and so far the Pentagon’s most expensive military toy has at least 900 software defects.

“It’s so unsafe to fly these damn gizmos that they spend most of their time on the ground,” emphasizes Salon. Ranker claims that F-35 modifications have problems with landing on aircraft carriers, are not reliable, are clearly not adapted to air combat and are vulnerable to lightning strikes. In 2019, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan described the F-35 program as “a failure.”

Lost war in space

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program was announced by President Ronald Reagan in March 1983.

Reagan was a well-known critic of the doctrine of guaranteed mutual destruction in the event of a nuclear conflict, therefore he demanded the creation of reliable protection of the United States in the event of an attack by intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). As part of SDI, the US military has tested numerous advanced weapon concepts, including orbital and ground lasers, railguns, atomic buckshot, neutral particle emitters, and more.

In 1987, the American Physical Society announced that the system of space lasers and satellites projected under the auspices of SDI could not be created earlier than in a few decades, and this is at best. According to the Nonproliferation Review magazine, when it closed in 1993, the SDI program cost the budget $ 100-150 billion, becoming the subject of much ridicule in the press and pop culture.

“Lousy little ship”

The $ 30 billion Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) coastal warship program was spent over 20 years on a “lousy little ship,” as Business Insider calls it. It was planned that the LCS would conduct hostilities against submarines, carry out mine action activities and operations in contested coastal waters.

However, it turned out that such a littoral fleet, that is, a fleet operating in the coastal zone, simply has no opponents: no one is going to attack the US coast.

In addition, the built ships, according to military experts, are insufficiently armed, have serious technical problems and are unlikely to survive in a real intense conflict. Already, the US Navy is considering replacing the LCS with new missile frigates.

Only faulty prototypes

An attempt by the US Department of Defense to replace the outdated Bradley combat armored vehicle since 2003 has eased taxpayers’ pockets by $ 22.9 billion. By February of last year, three faulty prototypes had been built – and the Pentagon, according to NBC News, has again announced a competition to replace the 33-ton workhorse of the American army with a 40-year history.

Useless air defense systems

Nike’s anti-aircraft and anti-missile program was spawned back in the 1940s by Cold War paranoia about waves of Soviet bombers about to fly across the ocean and turn the United States into a nuclear desert. The engineering and military project cost the Americans a whopping $ 20 billion at that time and consisted of complexes of anti-aircraft missile batteries deployed throughout the country, primarily in areas of cities, military facilities and industrial bases. In addition to missiles, the complexes were equipped with radars, barracks, underground bunkers, elevators and maintenance equipment.

Over the course of several years of operation, Nike Ajax rockets have been replaced by Nike Hercules rockets. They were replaced by Nike Zeus, which, in fact, are already useless, since the Soviet Union never possessed a long-range bomber fleet comparable in size to the United States, having relied on the development of ICBMs.

The Nike program was closed in 1963, but some of its components lasted until the mid-1970s, without firing a single missile at the main enemy.

Gold Irons

The list of blatant military spending by the American defense industry can be continued for a long time. For example, by mentioning the program Combat systems of the future, whose task was to equip the American army with advanced robotic means: in 2003-2009, eight prototypes were built worth more than $ 18 billion, and the program was closed.

Here is also the sensational project of the “golden iron” of the US Navy – destroyer Zumwalt type, despite the futuristic lines, having problems with weapons and technical malfunctions, at a price of 4.2 billion per ship. Inactive floating radar for $ 2.2 billion, not working Boeing YAL airborne laser ($ 5 billion), new air tfuel tanker KC-46,

which has already cost the manufacturer $ 9.5 billion, but cannot normally perform its main function, in connection with which its deliveries to the US Air Force have been postponed at least until 2024.

Failed during tests in combat conditions and ineffective model army camouflage uniform for $ 5 billion, after which the US army returned to the old uniform. A lot of attention in the press was paid to the unsuccessful the project of the self-propelled 155-mm gun Crusader at the price of $ 2 billion for one manufactured copy, two prototypes of the disastrous combat helicopter RAH-66 Comanche for $ 7 billion, as well asElectromagnetic railgun for $ 500 million (“worthless military technology,” according to Business Insider).

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, 27 million Americans did not have health insurance, and almost as many millions lost their insurance at the place of work between February and May 2020. For a country that is burning California and freezing Texas, it’s time to realize that the pursuit of global military superiority is no longer in the interests of ordinary Americans. “Time and money are no longer on our side: too much of both has already been wasted,” the authors of the scandalous report on the gigantic and ineffective spending of the Pentagon summarize their research.

Artyom Filippov

Photo: US Navy / Global Look Press

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