Skip to comments.Aircraft with advantages, or the next generation of wasted money?
Posted on 01/21/2010 11:31:48 PM PST by myknowledge
The Air Force is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on two fighter jets that probably will never be used to support troops on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Congress has decided to cap production of the F-22, removing funding for the fifth-generation fighter from the 2010 military budget. And the F-35 — also known as the Joint Strike Fighter — won’t be ready for prime time before 2013, according to the latest estimates.
Critics of the new fighters say they are too expensive and not needed in today's warfare, while proponents argue that the current aircraft are not as advanced as the F-22 and F-35, both of which would help the U.S. maintain air superiority for decades to come.
The programs have come under heavy criticism, mainly for cost overruns.
Each F-22 — there are about 140 of them assigned to six stateside bases — will have cost about $350 million under current estimates. The U.S. is awaiting delivery of roughly 50 more of them.
Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information and a vocal critic of both programs, predicts each F-35 might eventually cost almost $200 million.
Guy Ben-Ari, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the costs are "raising eyebrows left and right. At the end of the day, it comes down to resources, and they’re not endless."
Despite those concerns, the fighters’ advantages cannot be ignored, some officials say.
Maj. John Peterson, requirements officer for the F-35A at Air Force headquarters, said each fifth-generation fighter has four features that make it superior to fourth-generation models such as the F-16, F-15 and F/A-18. Some fourth-generation models might have some of the capabilities, but none has all four, he said.
Those four are the ability to evade enemy radar; maneuverability; the ability to take on varied tasks; and the ability to translate more data into usable information for the pilot.
A look at each aircraft:
Christopher Preble, writing on the blog he maintains for the Cato Institute, said he believes the F-22 "likely never will" participate in actions over Iraq or Afghanistan. But Preble, director of foreign policy studies for the institute, said that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad aircraft.
"I have no reason to question the F-22's capability," he said in a recent telephone interview.
Ben-Ari, a member of CSIS’ Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, agreed with that assessment.
He said the F-22 might be able to carry out missions to support ground troops, but said that other aircraft such as the F-16 and A-10 are better designed to do so. The F-22 is thought to be better suited for taking on enemy aircraft and anti-aircraft positions as opposed to enemy forces engaged with friendly troops on the ground.
But there is the cost factor.
Preble cited a Washington Post article that stated that the cost of flying an F-22 is about $40,000 per hour.
So using the F-22 for a mission that other aircraft could handle, Ben-Ari said, "would be in the same manner as a Lamborghini used to bring your kids to school. You could do it, but do you really need to?"
Maj. Clay Bartels, F-22 requirements officer for Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon, said he believes the F-22 could take on ground-support missions today if called upon. But he said its primary role — ensuring U.S. superiority in the skies — isn’t needed in today’s wars.
"Air superiority is achieved already," he said in a phone interview.
Supporters say the F-22 is so technologically superior to other fighters that it will use advanced detecting and targeting systems to take out enemy planes from miles away. In such cases, enemy planes might not have even known they were in a fight until it was too late.
F-35A Joint Strike Fighter
The Air Force expects to receive the first of its 1,763 aircraft in 2013 — if testing goes according to plan.
The Marine Corps recently took possession of the first versions of the F-35 from Lockheed Martin and has begun its own testing. Congress overrode Pentagon misgivings and decided to spend an additional $465 million on an alternative engine for the F-35.
The Air Force, which projects that the F-35 will make up half its fleet in 2025, is involved in a system development and demonstration phase that Peterson said is set to last until 2014.
Wheeler, who once worked for the General Accounting Office, said that means the service will have purchased a significant number of aircraft that haven’t been fully tested. And he said he believes too much of the current testing is in the form of simulated models and table-top theories. He said more tests must involve actually flying the F-35.
Peterson and Bartels said the F-35 and F-22 are designed to provide specific, complementary roles for the service. But they’re only part of the picture. The service projects that some of the current generation of fighters will be used for decades to come.
Ben-Ari said the Air Force needs to not only deal with conflicts today, but also plan for future ones. "For the missions we’re conducting today, the current fleet is capable," he said. "For future ones … I’m not so sure.
"You can’t just draw up a design for a new aircraft and produce it in six months," he said. "You’re hedging against future risk. No politician or military officer wants to be the one who, looking back through history, canceled a project or ignored a risk."
5th Generation fighters: Sky Warriors of the future, flying today!
“todays Warfare” that says it all.
While other nations prepare to take us on we can either maintain superiority or let it slide. Then, when our (insert favorite anatomical feature here) is in the wringer, try and survive long enough to catch up.
In the end the liberal politicians don't want us to have superior military equipment. Pointy headed think tank people like to think their pointy heads are the pointiest.
Meanwhile the men who do fly the F-22 and would fly the F-35 sure would like to have the baddest thing around when the missiles fly and the bullets fly. I think it is the least we can do for them while we blow our great grandkids future earnings on liberal make work dream socialism experiments.
While I think the F-22 and F-35’s should be developed, the A-10 and the drones will probably be our front-line aircraft for the future.
There is probably room to further improve the A-10 (although, I don’t know how) but, we’re not going to be up against Mig-35’s or Mig-29’s anytime soon
Now is the time to set our nation up for the next 30 years. The F22 has been on the drawing board for decades. It’s in production and it’s the best operational aircraft we have.
No it isn’t an everything aircraft. Still the day will come when we need it and then we better have it. 187 sounds like a lot of aircraft until you realize how many theaters we may need them in.
The production facilities are up and running now. Now is when you make them. you can’t just flip the switch in a decade and pop out another 250-500.
China and Russia are on the rise. They are increasing their forces while we allow ours to dwindle. Wrong headed policy...
I sometimes wonder - and I'm by no means an expert - if we shouldn't start budgeting for a few squadrons of inexpensive counter-insurgency aircraft, like the Super Tucano. Seems like they'd be awful handy flying COIN or laying down support fire for ground troops against bands of insurgents. And at @ $9 million a pop, we could afford lots of them.
Just a thought.
Genius comment-! This is what freerepublic is for-! Bravo-!!!
I'm not trying to sound stupid, but are there systems our adversaries have on the horizon that can seriously threaten us 10-15 years down the road with what we have right now?
Let me try and respond to your question. One of the paramount imperatives in a modern conventional battle is the achievement of air superiority. Without it, enemy airforces will pound on your ground forces (and as seen in the Falklands, even pose a significant threat to your naval forces). However, for the last four or so decades (particularly the last three), the United States has enjoyed a very good air superiority state, to the point that it became 'too good' (by that I mean it reached a point whereby it started been taken as a given ...as if US air superiority was some inalienable right only American USAF airforce and USN navair pilots were supposed to enjoy).
Now, so far that has been the case. The 'worst' airforce we have faced recently was the Iraqi airforce, and even that was during the 1st Gulf War (the best their airforce did was when an Iraqi AF MiG-25 shot down a USN F-18 ...all other downings of Allied planes was due to SAM systems). We have generally been fighting third world nations that either do not have the best equipment, the best training, the best communication, the best everything ...while on our side we are nigh perfect.
Question is, someday we might have to face off against a near-peer adversary (say, China). A near peer adversary who is able to provide more of a match than Iraq or Afghanistan or Grenada! A near peer adversary who has, for instance, AWACs of its own, but more importantly is able to deny us situational awareness by forcing our AWACS out of the theater (due to very long range anti-AWACS missiles). A foe that not only has a quantitative advantage, but has managed to whittle down our qualitative advantage. An enemy that is fighting in its own backyard.
To use such an example, the F-15 and other F-series legacy fighters (16s and 18s) are USELESS. Yes, you read that right. If Saddam's largely ineffective and old Soviet IADS (created to defend against a limited attack by Iran) still managed to down a number of allied planes (even with all the jamming and wildweasel attacks), what do you think China's advanced IADS with S-300/HQ9 SAM systems would do to F-18s? The current generation of SU-30, and particularly the upcoming SU-35, fighters are easily a match for any of our legacy fighters, and going forward they will be receiving not only AESA radars, but also supercruising engines. They outmatch, say, the F-18 ...it is just that our training is better.
Now, both Russia and China are working on advanced Fifth-Generation aircraft ...Russia on the PakFa, and China on the JX(X). While we are CUTTING our Raptors, they are gearing up to start unleashing their 5-gen aircraft!!!!
As for the 180 odd Raptors ...those are not enough. A scenario simulated by RAND showed what would happen if our few Raptors faced the Chinese airforce. For one, China would take out near airbases with intermediate range ballistic missiles armed with bomblet warheads to take out the airfields. The Raptors would have to come from farther out, relying on refueling aircraft. The simulation assumed that the Raptors are TOTALLY invincible, and that their missiles NEVER miss (not the case ...unlike the Iraqi airforce which was not trying to evade or jamming, China would be ...but the simulation decided to give the Raptor AMRAAMs magical pK ability). The Raptors decimated the opposing SU-30 Chinese planes, but once their missiles were finished turned to head back home. However, the Chinese planes were enough that some survived the onslaught, and those survivors had targeted the refueling planes with very-long-range BVR missiles, and thus the Raptors did not have refueling capability ...ran out of fuel ...crashed into the ocean.
Some think A-10s is all that we need ....the reason for that is because we have air superiority (without it, A-10s would be obliterated ...they are good against small arms fire, and even against a ZSU cannon fire ...maybe even good survivability against a MANPAD SAM ...but against real SAMs in an IADS environment they would be next to useless. During the Cold War A-10 pilots are Apache pilots used to jest with each other on which airframe type would be the first to go down if the Soviets invaded the Fulda, yet on FR people think Warthogs and AH 64s are invincible because of 'titanium bathtubs around the pilots.' In both Gulf wars the first planes to be shot down were A-10s!). We need air superiority, and while the F-15 is great it will not be good enough 15 years from now. Already the latest SU-3X airframes match it, and some on the pipeline (with the supercruising engines) are better than it. Already it cannot survive an advanced IADS like the one in Russia or China.
15 years from now, particularly if China was to smack its lips over Taiwan, the USAF and USN would quickly realize that F-15s and F-18s have lost their shine.
Also note that over the last couple of decades the American population has also come to expect a relatively bloodless war ...it will be interesting what would happen if an aircraft carrier was severely crippled because some vampires broke through ....
Thanks for the informed info...that’s exactly what I was looking for.
In any case the F-22 project doesn’t represent a clever strategy - the US spent a heck of a lot of money only to demonstrate to potential rivals what is possible.
To protect that investment it has to be hidden from modern conflicts so it doesn’t occasionally fall into the hands of copy cat chineese or russian hands.
While hiding it it uses a vast amount of money to be in service and stealthy - the slightest foreign object damage already blows the stealth advantage and repairs are really expensive.
So its budget prohibits a lot of other projects to be financed and set into reality.
It was fielded to early. Or maybe - given the development in radar tech. and robotics it will be to new until it’s to old.
Remember the f-117 ? the one the germans had on their F-4 Radar because they figured out what to look for and that was then banned from exercises and then completely phased out.
The stealth of those fighters is only stealthy to the actuall sensors of possible opponents. The birds are still emitting a lot of energy simply by moving fast and having mass. For china or russia it will not be a decade long task to build sensors that are suitable to find these machines.
In the meantime - what good has the F-22 brought to the safety of the US ?
An better example - with the first generation of after war submarines - only build in very small numbers, germany put immense pressure on the soviet navy. The existance of that weapon system forced the ruskies to build new havens in very remote regions and to beef up their baltic fleet with some hundered expensive ships - that really gave them a headache and cost them heaps of rubel.
If russia or china had to counter the strategic meaning of the existing or planned F-22 - would it really force them to spend more then that thread costs the US ?
Air superiority is the one mission it never makes sense trying to squeeze money out of, because success at it makes everything else easy, and failure at it makes everything else irrelevant.
Thank you. It’s a little self serving but I liked that last paragraph. You’re absolutely right IMO.
Kelly Johnson could. Under budget too. Eighty days from conception to product. And the damn things are still flying in active 55 years later.
You make a good point...and I salute you...
Air superiority is absolutely crucial to our national interest. The skies and space are the “high ground’” now and in the future. The “high cost” of these aircraft does not project quite as dear when considering the following:
1.Civilian assets like bridges, highways, cities, and numerous other infrastructure that will remain intact when under an air superiority umbrella
2. Military assets such as capital ships, ports, airfields, ground troops, and supply lines that will continue to function in their crucial missions.
3. The diminished operational cost of development and operation that comes with using high quality machines over a very long lifespan. The legendary B-52 is a good example of this principle. While the costs are very high at the outset, the R&D expense has already been paid regardless of how long you utilize the plane. Stretching the utility of the F-22 out over time and many units produces economies of scale in both dimensions.
4. The F-35, designed as a “universal” vertical take-off and landing fighter, is designed to eliminate the expense of flying so many different aircraft across all the branches of service and amongst NATO allies. Savings will be had in training and spare parts. The plane’s take-off & landing ability will enable smaller aircraft carriers and smaller bases closer to theater, both of which enable more economies of their own.
Halting production of these aircraft, now that so much investment into their development has already occurred, is foolish.
It would be nice if the guys on the ground had all the support they wanted. Seeing how they have done most all the fighting and killing and dying the last fifty years.
Money spent is money not spent on anti IED vehicles( fifty year old technology ), mine detection, language, culture and local politics. Recruiting a better officer corps.
We already have aircraft and UAVs to do that, and we are building more.
These aircraft are for tomorrow's wars--with the Chicoms or a resurgent Russia. It would be mighty foolish to think A-10s and AC-130s alone are adequate for those roles.
War is attrition. The bathtub is to give pilots confidence to enter the threat zone. After that it is academic. Like wearing a helmet. It is there to get the snuffy infantry into the fight. After that it is as it always was.
A-10’s are part of a system, a tool, and used with in its parameters will do fine. If not, they won’t.
We’ve had now almost seventy years of fighting against third world forces, and in the case of the Army, especially, always poorly equipped, skilled and prepared.
By and large our military has been eurocentric. It should be world centric and most of the world is third worldish with those types of non integrated weapons, training and combatants.
Still don’t need them. We’ll all go nuclear. They are cheap, effective, have a lot of political punch. The Russians and Chinese have a good, long history of totally emotionless use of available power.
And, our more educated Generals, and even the likes of lowly me, are well aware of the Russian and Chinese way of war.
I guess the Chinese and even Russia, certainly Europe and maybe also India could counter the efford of any nation trying to dominate the skies by this specific form of a stealthy air-superiority weapon system.
Imaging Radar (synthetic aperture) tech is known to these countries I guess. Advanced IR and UV sensors as communication tech. to link these informations and I guess the F22 was visible enough to be homed in by a stand off missile.
The time of UAVs that are stealthy AND cheap and linked and effective has definatly come not only in the US and active electronic warfare has never gone out of style.
Clarence Kelly Johnson was such a brilliant aeronautical engineer, but with an irascible temper, and he mastered in project management with cool efficiency.
Up-armored M113s are better.
Anyway, there is hardly any aerial opposition in a sub-national conflict like Iraq and Afghanistan. Using the Raptor or Lightning II is unnecessary.
But in a high-tech nation-state war, the F-22 Raptor would be a necessity. Why?
That’s why I posted the picture. The up armored HUMVEE was a hack, slap dash solution to the US Army ignoring mine threats for the last fifty years.
If we stop and stand stock still, they might catch up in 20 or 30 years. If we don't, they will never get without shouting distance. Ever.
That isn't what was talked about or compared. What was talked about was air superiority. But let's integrate the two: air and ground.
Without air superiority, imagine the ground conflict with the other side controlling the air. “Highway of Death” ring a bell? Or the entire scope of Gulf War One and Two could be considered.
But what if one side has equal or better air? For this we go back to WWII. How important to ground battles was air superiority? Would the Battle of the Bulge be different with German control of the air? Would Normandy be even possible? Would you have gotten there in the first place if Germany had won the Battle of Britain and Germany had invaded and conquered England?
What I talked about was the blowing of money on shovel ready scams and money bubbles blown on socialism, not allocation of resources to the military.
So let's talk about ground pounders. What is it with the M-4? All the tests show it isn't the first choice as an infantry rifle and there are other better options that are more reliable. What happened to the next generation tank? What is the future of UGV’s?
I'm in no way against giving the same edge to ground forces, and the navy, and space based defenses, that I promote for air superiority.
And, I haven't heard anything against the quality of the officer corps now. What have you heard?
Thank you for your informed reply, spetznaz.Judging by your name, I will make the assumption that you are well-versed in military strategy.
I was unaware that we lost any A-10’s in the Gulf Wars.I will look that up.
I think that it is very short-sighted of our government to short-change the development and procurement of the F-22 and F-35’s.
But, the little man occupying the White House is “uncomfortable with the word ‘victory’”.
I think that it is highly likely that we will be in a conflict in the future, as per your scenario. And, we will pay dearly for the fecklessness of the Left.
You are not going to get the same. The pie is the pie. One dollar on F-22 is not going somewhere else.
We’re talking a dysfunctional system that has historically, at least since the first WW, spent money on bad systems and not given the troops what they want, when then want.
The M-16/4 is a fine enough weapon. Soldiers always hope for some super weapon, it’s called a tank. Tankers want infantry. And so it goes.
We haven’t need Air Superiority for seventy years. If then. The Russians didn’t have it and they reached Berlin first.
The brances split the mil money pie evenly, when the Army/Marines has been doing most of the killing, dying and needing equipment.
Think of the Air Force beuorcacy history. Didn’t want the F-16. Didn’t want gun on planes. Didn’t want or keep the A-10. Hasn’t supported the Army/grunts with tactical intel intercept aircraft. Didn’t want inter area lift, so the Army burns up Chinooks. Didn’t want the UAV’s, and then only with flight qual pilots.
I really think the Army should get it’s own Air force and leave space, air superiority, and long strike to the Air Force.
The officer corps is poorly educated, recruits from third tier schools. The reading lists are for juiveniles. Something I would expect a E-7 to read. Very, miniscue of the officers are from elite universities. Stanford, MIT, Brown and yes, Harvard and Yale.
An exampler of an officer of the worst, ticket punching, coat holding, brown nosing yes man, General Casey.
An example of the poor, pathetic non tinking was the miltary’s post enetering Baghdag plan. There was none. Zero. Nada.
If I was Bush, I would of had a shoe box with General Stars in it.
Incorrect. The first aircraft shot down in Desert Storm was Speicher's F/A-18C on 17 January 1991. The first A-10 was lost on 2 February 1991. During OIF the first fixed wing aircraft lost was a Tornado GR4.A on 23 March 2003. The lone A-10 lost during OIF went down on 8 April 2003.
Two. The dysfunctional system isn't dysfunctional, it is neglected. This system has produced weapons systems that are the benchmark for the rest of the world. What has been neglected is the contracting integrity from the government, not industry. Sharpen the pencils, define the terms, get good results. It has happened before. We were and still are the arsenal of democracy. We produce more and better equipment than anyone else. If there are bad systems they do not last or are supplanted by newer ones.
A good example is the M-4 we used. The army did a series of tests due to the higher rate of malfunctions of the M-4 and showed the rifle came in last among those tested. There were better rifles available including the XM-8. This is where the politics come in. The better rifle isn't selected. Not the industry fault, the military decided they didn't want to commit when something better might be coming down the road from the dysfunctional system. That was an organizational choice.
As for not needing air superiority for the past 70 years, that is a comment so out there it is difficult to address. The Russians wouldn't have reached Berlin without Allied air superiority. How you can divorce the Western front from the Eastern front is beyond me. Any more than you can divorce the air war from Italy against the oil supplies of Germany.
And finally, since the pie analogy was already discredited, in no way do I advocate shorting one service on behalf of the next.
As to the comments of officer quality, I find your examples lacking, your analogy wanting, and really a poor view of a large group of people.
If anyone else would like to comment on the current crop of officers, please chime in. I would defer to more direct contacts and examples.
Ok, lets just look at your M-4 example to get some idea as to the, ahem, quality of your...notions.
First we already have them in large numbers, the troops trained with them. Paid, trained, experinced.
So, even if a new spanky, gee whiz rifle exist, what does the cost of junking the perfectly fine existing stock effect the Army. I’d say about half a billion. Maybe more. You got the new costs, and the waste of the old and all it’s experiences with the operators for decades now. And in the Army’s case, what does the Army not fund for this marginal improvement? Real world, your call, tell me who in the Army Pie gets it in the neck?
So, in this one example, you show yourself unable to handle simple variables of captured cost investment returns vs wasted expenditures on replacement equipment, with marginal, if any, improvement.
And I’m suppose to think you can handle more complex, costly, longer term examples? Yeah. Right.
The question seems to have turned from good enough verses the next best thing, to cost benefit analysis of improvement.
In my scenario the XM-8 rifle, which has gone through all the tests the army wanted, is purchased and distributed to the troops because I want them to have the rifle that won't jam in combat. Just like I want the Air Force to have the fighter that can survive air combat.
That, apparently, isn't your priority. As for “junking” all those perfectly good existing stock, well, the same argument could have been made when we transitioned from the M-14. So that doesn't fly. But most of the rifles, can be parted for surplus parts or modified and sold to the civilian market (CMP for example). So that isn't a zero sum game either.
Finally, I already discredited your pie analogy, why stick with it? The XM-8 rifle is reported to be easier to clean, maintain, train on, and use. Sometimes spanky gee whiz new rifles are an improvement. It is why they don't use trapdoor Springfields anymore. How about we stop the waste and fraud from Medicare and Medicaid they prat about and buy the rifle? Then no “Real world” army pie eaters “get it in the neck”
All weapons jam. Every. Single. one.
There will be no effective improvement with the new weapon.
Weapon contractors want it. Army weapons percurmeant
bureaucrats want it.
I noticed you couldn’t in this case tell me what to cut from the Army’s budget. Typical.
You didn’t discredit, nor even address other than gratuitously the pie argument.
So, as soon as the lefties give up welfare, the troops can have the candy?
Well, that’ll be a long wait.
Meanwhile the Pentagon IG has released a report that 25,000 Americans have been killed or wounded because the Army didn’t have fifty year technology MRAPs.
Other things the Army messed up. Sights. First used in combat in the 70’s. Commonly deployed to troops in .......1996. 25 years. Way to go.( Sights are important to infantry. They really help, especially in low light ).
Army weapons procurement bureaucrats don't want it. They want to stick with what they have regardless of the troops so your assertion makes no sense.
I did refute the pie argument already, you might have to go back a post or two where I explain the budgetary process.
Before I put to rest the rifle issue for you, where do you get that I want to put the troops at risk by not developing anti- IED technology? That is diametrically opposed to everything I have argued so far from air superiority to reliable rifles for ground troops. So I don't know where that bit of silliness comes from.
This should explain the weapon jam thing for you. The source is at the end. It isn't where I originally read it but it is what I remember reading:
Late December 2007: DID obtains some exact results from the Armys testing. The Army has now done 3 dust tests. In the late 2006/Jan 2007 report Baseline Reliability and Dust Assessment for the M4, M16, and M249, the M4 jammed 9,836 times 1 jam every 6 rounds. In a May 2007 Extreme Dust Test II, with no competitors, the M4 had 1 jam every 88 rounds, using heavy lubrication. In the November 2007 Extreme Dust Test III, as DID has discussed, the competing rifles were subject to significantly more maintenance and lubrication than elite American forces like Delta used in their weapon selection process, or indeed in HKs own field testing of its HK416s prior to shipment.
Well begin with the Armys overall results, from its own release:
Even with extreme dust test IIIs 98.6 percent success rate there was a total of 863 class 1 and 2 weapon/magazine stoppages with 19 class 3 stoppages. During extreme dust test II conducted during the summer, there were 296 total class 1 and 2 stoppages and 11 class 3 stoppages.
A class 1 stoppage is one a Soldier can clear within 10 seconds; a class 2 stoppage is one a Soldier can clear, but requires more than 10 seconds; and, class 3 is a stoppage that requires an armorer to clear.
DID will simply point out that 10 seconds can be a rather fatally long time when people are shooting at you, and at your friends. So, what happens when the Extreme Dust Test III stoppages are broken out by weapon?
The M4 Carbine is the Armys existing weapon.
882 jams, 1 jam every 68 rounds, again using heavy lubrication. In addition all 10 of the M4 barrels needed to be replaced, and a number of their parts were replaced during the test. None of the cold hammer forged HK416 and XM-8 barrels needed replacement.
The HK416 is a modified M4 carbine, which can be and has been converted from existing rifles. Used by US Special Forces.
233 jams, 1 jam every 257 rounds, 3.77x more reliable than the M4.
FN SCAR is US special Forces new weapon, designed by SOSOCM. It just went into production in late 2007.
226 jams, 1 jam every 265 rounds, 3.85x more reliable than the M4
XM-8 is a developmental rifle. Its an advanced version of HKs G36, a rifle in wide use by many NATO armies. The US Army cancelled the XM-8 weapons family 2 years ago.
127 jams, I jam every 472 rounds, 6.95x more reliable than the M4.
The failure of M4 barrels at 6,000 rounds confirms SOCOM objections that date back to the Feb 23/01 report M4A1 5.56mm Carbine and Related Systems Deficiencies and Solutions, which ended up concluding that M4A1 Carbine does not meet the requirements of SOF. The barrel replacement also increases the rifles life cycle costs when compared with the 10,000 round advertised barrel life, as additional barrels are sold to the Army for $240 each. A longer, heavier M16 barrel, which is a competed production weapon, cost $100 by comparison. While the dust test is indeed an extreme test, the 10,000 round requirement is under all conditions not just ideal conditions.
Dec 18/07: The US Army publishes M-4 Carbine Has High Soldier Confidence Despite Test. Not exactly a headline to inspire confidence, as the Army acknowledges that the M4 Carbine finished last among the 4 contenders but amazingly, asserts that the rifle is just fine and shows no interest in buying even the HK416s parts swap-out into the existing M4:
After being exposed to the heavy dusting, 10 of each weapon fired 6,000 rounds apiece. They were fired in 50 120-round cycles. Each was then wiped and re-lubricated at the 600 round mark. After 1,200 rounds were fired from each weapon, they were fully cleaned and re-lubricated While the M-4 finished fourth out of four, 98 percent of all the rounds fired from it went off down range as they were supposed to do, Brig. Gen. [Mark] Brown [commander of Program Executive Office Soldier and the Natick Soldier Systems Center] said. However, the three other candidates did perform better at about a 99 percent rate or better, which is a mathematically statistically significant difference, but not an operationally statistical difference..... The Army has put an option on an existing contract for 64,450 M4s, according to the general.
A mathematically statistically significant difference, but not an operationally statistical difference. Statistically, 99% is a 100% improvement over 98%. Operationally, I jam every 68 rounds is almost one jam for every 2 30-round magazines. Whereas one jam in 257 rounds would only happen about once in 8 30-round magazines. Readers are left to contemplate the operational significance of those probabilities in a sustained, serious firefight.
Defense Industry Daily.com quoting Military.com
1 jam every 68 rounds verses 1 jam every 472 rounds. No effective improvement, huh? OK. You are a troop in a firefight in Afghanistan. Your weapon will jam once every two 30 round magazine verses once every fifteen. Leisler voted to give you the first rifle. IrishCatholic voted to give you the second. Just for the record. That settles the final point. Thank you.
But, back to the topic. What you can do, or not do, in the comfort of you lounger to your M4 really isn't the point. Giving you enough ammo and range time at the local range isn't the point.
What an 18 year old can do in Afghanistan after 7 hours walking up a valley IS. So much for that point.
Next. This isn't the same bureaucracy that switched over the .45 for the Beretta. It is a whole new one. They reproduce like viruses but still retire every so often. That is why the guy in 1964 isn't to blame for what is done in 2009. It also isn't the same crew that took 25 years to do anything.
But, the same type ‘crew’ as you say, got you the M-1 Abrams tank, the Striker, The Bradley (yes, it is improved), The MLRS, the smart bomb, GPS, the B-52, the B-2, the F-22, the A-10, the Excalibur artillery shell, Predator drones, etc. ad infinitum.
So much for that drivel.
Finally, as I stated...now numerous times, I don't have anything against anything that helps the troops including helping them defeat IED’s.
“Me? I dont carry water for anyone. You get thousands of patriotic Americans killed,”
That is incorrect. That I will hold you to. Show how, in anything I posted,you can say that. You can't. I will be gracious and say you were mistaken. Otherwise you are a liar. To repeat it after I have called you on it makes you a dishonorable contemptible liar.
P.S. Use the spell check feature. I haven't referred to it in our discourses as I chose to address the points you were attempting unsuccessfully to make. However, it is becoming distracting.
Drivel? That is impressive!
Ex SF before it was cool,( after the 82nd ) and committed a felony to do it, so I’ll put my bona fides against anyone my scally cap friend.
17 year old’s will forever be jamming up weapons, and some day, running batteries low. The new gun will jam too. The money is better spent, will save more lives, and kill more enemy.
The Abrams was the result of tankers pushing for 40 years for having the best battle tank AGAINST the Pentagon. Not a good example guy.
Predators were not wanted by the Air Force. Another bad example . Ditto the F-16. You don’t know your facts.
You do have something against troops getting anti IED vehicles. Money. You want to use it other places, even though tens of thousands of Americans are dead or wounded because, partly, the military spent the money other places.
“Me? I dont carry water for anyone. You get thousands of patriotic Americans killed, Bad sentence. I meant you as in command, bureaucracy. I didn’t mean you personally.
Back to topic.
What is fundamental is the disagreement on the zero sum of the budget. Defense spending isn't fixed but proposed in any budget. This can change yearly and all it takes is the decision to support an increase politically. Not at the expense of anything else. Think any politician would stand against it? I reject your assertion that to replace the rifle with a more reliable one necessitates a cut elsewhere. You have provided nothing that supports that contention.
Also, what we disagree on is good enough verses better. The testing on the rate of jams was not an insignificant point. A nearly seven fold increase in reliability saves lives. “The new gun will jam too” is an argument for bolt action rifles. Is that the standard? No, of course not. I have amply demonstrated the performance increase and you have shown nothing as to why it shouldn't be done.
17 year old’s may forever be jamming weapons but how would you like to be the 17 year old that did nothing wrong but still can't fire his weapon with the bad guy moving in? A weapon that across the board is more reliable is across the board a better selection.
I do not have anything against anti-IED vehicles. In fact, many advances have been made in that field since the start of the second gulf war including remote control gun platforms and newer vehicles such as the Cougar. But, MRAP’s are just part of the picture. Watching the “War Porn” threads here of Drones targeting insurgents emplacing IED’s show the overall need for an overall strategy to defeat this asymmetrical warfare. So you are incorrect here also.
From the over all thread, I support the most modern rifle, the best tank, the deadliest aircraft, the best trained soldier. To achieve that I would gut social spending, socialist give aways, and whatever shenanigans Washington is engaged in. The Abrams may have taken 40 years to get here, but it is here. Do you want to wait 40 years for it's replacement? Aren't you arguing for what might have been argued of the advantages of the M-60 over the M-1? Actually the example that you don't think is good is the one that shows the flaw in your reasoning. As for the F-16, I also don't know where you got that. The Air Force had a competition for it. I haven't heard that the Air Force didn't want the Predators. Why would they develop them if they didn't want them? There are UAV combat vehicles under development right now. Is this against the wishes of the Air Force and what can you show me that it is?
Back to you.
F16,Colonel Boyd. Famous inter Air Force struggle. AF wanted heavy, no gun, two crew, twin engine.
The Air Force didn’t develop the UAV’s. The CIA did and then the AF brass got nervous and saw someone poaching on their rice bowl.
You’re not getting a dime out of the welfare state. Matter of fact, less.
The comments about the decades it takes is a reflection of the Pentagon, Generals not supporting the troops. As a historical example, at the beginning of WWII, General Marshall went to FDR and asked permission to retire half of all Generals and Colonels, and got it. He said they wanted to fight the last war and were obstacles to progress.
We’ve done nothing but fight in basically third world. We should have weapons and a military to match what we fight. The Army, especially, has had the most causalities, and done the most fighting and should receive the most money. That is were, generally, Americans fight and die.
M4 is good enough. Troops would be better supported with basic air and helicopter and small unit UAV, interpreters, and social political intelligence. F22 won’t help the bulk of 17 year olds in central asia, south america, central and latin america, Africa, Indonesia, Haiti,......That is where we have, are and will be fighting.
I say give the money and weapons to those that are doing the fighting.
MRAP require bigger bombs, means more time burying them, bigger parties, more people talking, bigger budgets, more disturbance of the soil, etc. On our side it not only means less killed, but more patrols, with better moral, so more aggression and higher threat to the enemy. I’m sure Vietnam era vets wish they had the then common South African MRAPs. Too bad our General staff, and defense industry took fifty years and in the Marines case, about 4,000 Marines and a order from Gates to get with the program.
Everybody likes UAVs now, just like the AF now loves the F-16, which it fought. What happens is the old Generals retire and the young Majors become old Generals. Then they become the problem. Old old dynamic in miliaries. For example, you get military’s like the post WW One French that tried to build the super trench, the Maginot Line and then their German counterparts that threw out the old and went with the new mobile armor and mechanized concepts.
You should watch the five part series with General Keene and how intellectually unprepared the Pentagon was. He couldn’t answer why. Decent guy, four star and you could tell he was embarrassed for his institution.
By the way the military that I think has a good, lean, quick weapons system is the Israelis. They can not afford our bloat, sloth, slowness. They mess up one time, and they are history.
Here’s the way I see it. A Patriot missile battery costs a few million (single digits). An F-22 costs about $140 million. What’s the marginal benefit? For one additional F-22, we could turn most strategic areas in Iraq (Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk) and pretty much all of the Syrian border into a fortress against whatever Soviet junk the Syrians are flying, and whatever held-together-with-duct-tape old fighters the Iranians are flying. IMO the marginal benefits are much more in favor of other things than additional F-22s.
That said, I fully support removing the restrictions on foreign sales of F-22s, and allowing Japan and Australia to buy them.
(check your first paragraph. It’s all over the place)
You don’t get it. In almost all those examples, a small core of basically in the field officers, had to fight AGAINST their own organization, which is the MRAP story, which has cost 25,000 causalities, meanwhile the same organization is often, like in the M4 fight, dicking around and pushing weapons down with marginal increased effectiveness, while telling troops in the field to go to salvage yards and weld on steel to their HMVEES for a counter to the enemy’s main, number one effective weapon.
You don’t seem to get it. The M4 fight is of marginal improvement, you want it. The M1, UAV, F16 were not marginal improvement, they were game changers, and they were either fought against, or late, by the the organization, as a whole, that should of brought them them out. As those troops that spent years with the M4 and no MRAPS what they wanted. I bet it wasn’t a new, un field tested carbine.
Heck ask the troops now what they want, but tell it real world, not your post ‘we are going to cancel Welfare’ and you’ll have everything fantasy;, that they have to trade off, either or, and I bet a new carbine, won’t be high up.
You like to cherry pick.
This started with the notion of Air Superiority and the need for the F22, as say spending 20 billion on MRAPS against IED’s which have killed or wounded 25,000 Americans. I think the Marines, for instance, which have lost 5,000 men, would of better spent the Osprey money on MRAPS, or in your often argument, should wait, yet fight and die, and some day in the mythical future, decades will get money striped politically from WIC, or Section 8. You have said, repeatedly, that you want the very best, even though waiting for the best from the procurement bureaucracy is interminable, and you want it after some sort of major political change, and I suppose while the troops are in the field wanting the good instead of waiting for the perfect years off. What ever.
The first paragraph from the last post isn't all over the place. Print it off and have help reading it if you need to. It is a refutation of your last post. And, a continued rebuttal of your somewhat skewed view of weapons development.
Second. What I ‘get’ is your unsupported and unsubstantiated backing of a weapon with a serious flaw. One stoppage every two magazines is a problem. Real world. The troops are saying this real world. The test was done because of this, real world. The improvement for something like the XM-8 isn't marginal. That is fact,not opinion which is the ONLY thing you have offered and has been repeatedly shown to be faulty.
Read up on the XM-8 because your assertion that it it new and untested is wrong. It is a legacy and a result of modernization of a existing rifle. As for the weld your own armor on a humvee, you are like the mainstream media still showing 2003 Gitmo pictures. That is no longer the case and you know it. Whole companies sprang up to up armor humvees. Remote control turrets and shielded turrets came into being. So much for that.
The M-4 point is finished. After numerous posts without a coherent response of opposition, you have conceded that point by your lack of adequate response.
Moving on. MRAP’s are good. But they are not the only answer. The use of IED’s is the current asymmetrical warfare method chosen by Jihadists. Withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq and in the next conflict that method might not be used at all. The military has to plan for other type conflicts too. Incorporation of MRAP technology in all future vehicles is wise but not at the sacrifice of other needs. For example I read that some MRAP type vehicles are of limited use because of weight due to their inability to cross weight restricted bridges or to go where there is a lack of roads. One size does not fit all.
Now I have also explained the budgetary process several times. I have also differentiated between cutting budgets, proposing budgets, and the pie metaphor and what I would like to do. You are making up the ‘cancel welfare’ by confusing and blending the two. In reality you have been spanked so often on this thread now you are simply devolving into the “I know you are, but what am I” type posting. I really don't have time or the interest for that.
Your final paragraph is simply whining. Your contention that the Osprey money should have been spend differently comes out of left field and now results in moving the goal posts simply because you have lost on all points and will now keep shifting the frame of the argument until you think you won't lose anymore. (You will, of course, unless you improve your arguments.) Now you have begun mischaracterizing my arguments and re framing them to make yourself feel better. The fantasy that I have argued for future dream systems as opposed to fieldable weapons now is purely your invention.
All in all you have failed epically. Since you are now down to unsupported nonsense, if you want to continue this please support your arguments with a reference quote and, if possible, a link to support your assertions. At least I will have facts to discuss.
What a dolt your are.
However, the discrepancy of 575 stoppages between the Summer and Fall 2007 tests of the M4 had Army officials looking into possible causes for the change such as different officials, seasons, and inadequate sample pool size.
Who puts 'heavy lubrication on a M16/M4?
Everyone, everyone knows that causes them to jam, dust or no dust."differences in the two tests because they were conducted at different times of the year with different test officials, Brown said. Test community officials are analyzing the data to try to explain why the M4 performed worse during this test. Weapons officials pointed out that these tests were conducted in extreme conditions that,
did not address reliability in typical operational conditions, the test report states.
Speaking of tests not in real world conditions, how's the Artic tests go? (Oh, we're just fighting in dust chambers with heavy lubrication storms. Right.)
The Army wants its next soldier weapon to be a true leap ahead, rather than a series of small improvements, Brown said.( Gee, I think I said something about the new gun being only, if only and suspect at that, a marginal improvement )
Col. Robert Radcliffe, head of the Directorate of Combat Developments for the Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga.,(What would a Ft. Benning infantry Colonel know, right?) said, For now, he said the Army will stick with the M4, because soldier surveys from Iraq and Afghanistan continue to highlight the weapons popularity among troops in the combat zone.( Poor stupid combat infantry men in dusty, hot, Iraq/Afgan just don't know their business, right?)
The M4 is performing for them in combat, and it does what they needed to do in combat, Radcliffe said." Is this what you bring to game? Lame.
Try to leave the immaturity out of it. It diminishes your argument to begin with and you have enough problems. Plus, over the series of posts on this thread you have nothing to crow about. Now that you finally fixed on something you wish to debate, I want to make sure the goal posts are fixed before I spend any more time on you.
Regardless of what else the thread started on, and where you wandered to, you now wish to debate the M4 and whether it has a problem in field use and whether there is a suitable rifle with a marked improvement in reliability that can be issued to the troops. In other words, is the M4 good enough for the troops or isn't it and is there a ready replacement? Is that what we are now going to debate?
If so, then we can debate. Thanks for giving references. It shows you are trying.
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