Costanza update

You’ve submitted four nominees for the George Costanza of the defense industry: Sikorsky, General Electric, Unisys and SAIC.

These aren’t even close. Sikorsky can claim the UH-60 and GE can boast the GE90. Those achievements alone immediately disqualify these two from Costanza status. SAIC and Unisys have never screwed up badly and publicly enough to make the cut either.

The answer is obvious if you really think about it. Which defense contractor has massive delays, cost overruns and technical shortfalls on every major platform development program it has touched — with only one minor exception — since the mid-1950s, yet still exists as a multi-billion dollar business?

There’s only one.

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One Response to Costanza update

  1. Matthew G. Saroff 19 May, 2008 at 9:28 pm #

    First, you really need to go with the Highlander quote, “There can be only one“, as opposed to your closing sentence, “There’s only one,” it’s punchier and funnier.

    Since the mid 1950s?

    A quick google gives the top ten as:

    Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, KBR, L-3 Communications, United Technologies, BAE Systems PLC, and SAIC.

    You already ruled out Boeing, and UT (Sikorski), and GE (not on the top 10 list????), and SAIC.

    I gotta rule out Northrop Grumman, for the F-5 and the various Grumman ‘Cats (yes, I know that the F-14 had some serious teething, cost overrun delay programs), along with the S-2 and the E-2.

    Raytheon is just missiles, and hence not public enough, and L-3 is satellites, and also not public enough.

    KBR is not airplanes, and actively evil is not George Costanza.

    So we are down to Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and BAE Systems.

    BAE is foreign in origin, and it’s US holdings produced the M-113 and M-109, so it’s out.

    So that leaves the Lockheed Martin and GD.

    GD done good on the F-16, later sold to LM, though the F-111 and B-58 were all in the over promised, over scheduled, and over due category, but its position is good on land vehicles, and it does own Gulfstream.

    Lockheed has the C-130 Hercules, the F-104 Starfighter, the C-141 Starlifter, all of which were more or less on time in their designated roles and could be construed as a success.

    It’s close, but I’ll go with General Dynamics?

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