More Sensible Than McCain on the F-35


07/21/2011 – While Senator McCain is tweeting about one trillion dollar “support costs” for the F-35, the good citizens of Arizona have a much more sensible and realistic outlook.  Just another disconnect between those breathing the air inside the beltway and folks who live in the real world.

And by the way Senator: assuming you have staff who can read, why not delve into those trillion dollar support numbers.  You might be interested to learn that in constant dollars the number is 60% less than a hypothetical number in 2065.  If  you project support cost for the legacy fleet, it would cost upwards of 4 trillion dollars (in those 2065 dollars), a potential savings of 3 trillion (in those 2065 dollars).  And by the way John, neither one of us will around cashing 2065 dollars.

And that is even before you get to the point that your alternative is what?  And completely missing the point that the F-35 has become the glue which holds together the entire future of the US and coalition power projection capability. Notably, after you led the charge to get rid of the $135 million dollar a year F-22.  We have seen this before John and we do not want to see it again.

But back to common sense in Arizona.

According to Rebekah Sanders of the Arizona Republic:

Luke Air Force Base is scheduled to shrink in the next three years, potentially drying up millions of dollars in economic impact for Arizona as one of the state’s largest employers. But base advocates are optimistic the Air Force will replace two F-16 training squadrons scheduled for relocation with a new training mission at Luke: the F-35 Lightning II, known as the Joint Strike Fighter. In a good scenario, the mission would land at Luke, ensure the base’s future and make up for the expected financial loss.

(What jobs could matter?  But not to Senator McCain).

Larry Young commented on this piece as follows:

I truly appreciated Sunday’s article on Luke Air Force Base (“Luke transitions, new missions could ripple”). It’s easy to forget how important Luke is to our community and to the future of our military.

I am curious to see what happens with the F-35 and Luke because I believe it rests squarely on Sen. John McCain’s shoulders.

I know McCain has to look at getting the cost overruns down and protecting taxpayers. But I think he has to tone down his rhetoric of canceling the program, because the F-35 is too important to our military’s future and too important to the many Arizonans employed at Luke

Or from Judy Asando comes some strategic thinking missing in Washington:

Larry Young’s letter on Wednesday “McCain holds key to Luke’s future,” was right on target, but it left out another reason why Sen. John McCain needs to support the F-35 program other than the fact that it supports jobs at Luke Air Force Base.

With other countries such as China and Russia introducing new fighter jets, we are quickly becoming outdated in our military equipment.

Yes, the senator needs to fight for us taxpayers on these big price-tag items, but he also needs to look at what is best for those serving our military. And that is to give them the best equipment possible to keep our country safe.

McCain has always looked out for our young men and women serving. I just hope that he continues to do so by supporting the F-35 program.

Good thing this woman does not work at a Washington based think tank or she could not see so clearly.

The Yuma Sun published an editorial that McCain might read as well.

Our community has been slammed by the economic downturn of the past couple of years, so it is welcome news that work will start shortly on upgrading the facilities at MCAS Yuma to accommodate the new generation of jet fighter.

Contracts have been awarded for $150 million in work at the Marine base that will include upgrades to hangar facilities, communications and utilities. In addition, a flight simulator will be built to train pilots for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The new aircraft are expected to begin arriving in Yuma next year.

There will be ongoing construction work at the Yuma base through 2014.

From a military standpoint, the start of work is important because it means MCAS is on track to become the first base to receive the fighter that will eventually serve all branches of the military. The F-35B — the model designated for both vertical and conventional takeoffs and landings — will replace 56 aging AV-8B Harriers currently based in Yuma. An additional 32 strike fighters will also be coming, increasing the military presence at the base.

From an economic standpoint, the construction at MCAS in coming years and the increased military force will translate into a significant flow of money into the community. It will give a badly needed boost to Yuma to bring it out of its current economic doldrums.

The decision to put MCAS Yuma at the top of the list for the new plane is an indication of the importance the base is playing in Marine air operations. “This transition solidifies the Marine Corps’ vision of Yuma becoming the premier West Coast master jet base,” said Lt. Col. Dwight De Jong, who is directing preparations at MCAS for the F-35B.

That means a solid future for the Marine base and for the economic well-being of our community.

So McCain can rest his tweeting fingers and support the warfighter and American workers.   He could focus on the 2 billion dollar a week war in Afghanistan, which can pay for nearly three USCG national security cutters and half a year’s production of an F-22.

And could the good Senator explain why sabotaging a major American export program makes sense?  Oh that is right!  The President has already promised he is going to double American exports in five years.  After all that is the kind of McCain-Obama change you can believe in.