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Apr 20, 2011

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Dfens

This is something for POGO to applaud:

Sikorsky Aircraft is betting its own money on a radical new helicopter design, a gambit some observers say might become more common in austere budgetary times.

The S-97 Raider will have a pusher propeller meant to send it zooming past the roughly 200 mph top speed of conventional rotorcraft - and, the company hopes, win Pentagon contracts. The Stratford, Conn., concern intends to furnish a prototype for testing by U.S. military service officials."We'll have our pilots in the seat and we'll let the military evaluate it," said Steve Engebretson, Sikorsky's director for the Armed Aerial Scout program.

Engebretson said the S-97 would hold two pilots and six passengers, although the design would allow various cabin sizes.

"We're picking this size because the most likely replacement aircraft next up [for the U.S. military] will be the Kiowa Warrior."

Other potential customers could include the U.S. Marines and Army and Air Force special operations units, he said. -- Defense News

You constantly hear this whining from the US Contractors regarding how they can't afford the development costs of today's weapons, yet here again is a contractor developing an aircraft at their own expense to sell to the DoD. The fact of the matter is, these companies can afford to develop their own aircraft. These programs do not have to cost tens of billions of dollars. We get better weapons, faster, that cost less out of these private development programs than we get from publically funded development programs.

When Lockheed developed the "J" model of the C-130 all we heard from POGO was complaining. Now, granted, the cost of the production airplane was high, but has come down considerably since and is now about where it should have been initially, but the development cost of the airplane and the amount of time that development program took was considerably less than the comperable C-130 AMP program which so far has consumed $10 billion in development costs (10 times more than the "J" cost) and so far has provided nothing. POGO, despite that program having been given to Boeing by Darlene Druyun as part of the government misconduct cases that sent her to jail, has remained completely silent regarding the crap that has gone on in that program.

Well, POGO, here's your chance to get on the right side of a good program and on the side of the US taxpayer. Here's a ray of hope for the US taxpayer from that same article:

A Trend? Company-funded developmental efforts are part of a growing trend, analysts and current and former government officials said. General Electric, for example, is pouring money into the continued development of the F136 jet engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - despite the Pentagon not wanting a second engine.

Another example is General Atomics, the San Diego company that has developed several successful UAVs on its own dime.

The expected tightening of acquisition budgets will accelerate the trend, because the U.S. Defense Department doesn't have the money to fund new clean-sheet designs or technology, said Byron Callan, an analyst at Capital Alpha Partners in Washington.

"You've got to be very forward-leaning, and I think, more aggressive these days to win market share in a declining budget and not just wait for the customer to write requirements," Callan said. "In this kind of environment, that's how you're going to get in and win market share." -- Defense News

If you're smart, you'll all get on board this method of weapons development funding. If you're not, you must have enjoyed spending over $25 billion and 25 years on the development of the F-22 only to see a mere 180 airplanes enter the US Air Force inventory. A fool and his money are soon parted. Let's not be fools any more, shall we?

Dfens

Regarding the article on the "Human Costs of Coal and Oil", I cannot imagine how anyone who calls themselves an environmentalist on this 21st Century Earth can not be staunchly in favor of nuclear power. Despite the strongly biased news coming from Japan, even the damaged nuclear plants should be considered glowing examples of why nuclear power is safe and effective for this nations power needs. No one has ever been killed in a Western nuclear power plant accident, and even the mining of fissionable material is by far safer than the mining of coal or oil. We should be buildning breeder reactors that have little to no radioactive waste, and we should be doing it now. Enough damage has been done to Earth's atmosphere by carbon based fuels already!

Dfens

While the Navy is buying $37 billion "littoral" ships that can be seen and detected for miles around, the drug runners are buying super stealthy submarines for 3 or 4 orders of magnitude less money. If you need more proof than that and the fall of the Soviet Union to convince you of the superiority of capitalism to socialism, then you're not going to be swayed by any reasoned argument.

We pay more for contractors to screw us over than we do for innovative weapons that constrain costs and we get those little crappy ships (what LCS actually stands for). Drug dealers pay for results and they stay perpetually 5 steps ahead of the much better funded Department of Homeland Security. Oh what a surprise.

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