2008 in review: Top 5 news

1. KC-Xcontract overturned – It embarrassed the US Air Force, embittered Europeanindustrialists and empowered Boeing. On 18 June, the Government AccountabilityOffice sustained Boeing’s protest, nullifying the second deal to recapitalizethe tanker fleet and the first requiring translation into French and German.


2. USAFleadership ousted – On 9 June, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates went nuclearon the air force leadership, ostensibly for failing to safeguard the nuclearstockpile. But nukes clearly weren’t the only issue for Gates, who prefers hisflyboys to focus less on F-22 fighters — and more on f/22 apertures aboard airborne ISR assets.

3. Russia-GeorgiaAir War – In August, Russia‘sarmy easily over-powered the South Ossetian front, but Georgia‘s airdefenses – stocked allegedly with Ukranian SA-11s and Tor-M1s – shot down threeSukhoi Su-25 and one Tupolev Tu-122. In the Pentagon, the Hezbollah/Israel-inspired”hybrid warfare” file was briefly shelved while staffers scurried to re-opendecomposing folders marked “Fulda Gap”.


4. DARPAcancels Blackswift – Joining a long and distinguished line-up of recently abortedaerospace science projects, Congress pulled the plug on Blackswift before DARPAcould even award a contract. With Blackswift’s cancellation, the dream ofdemonstrating unmanned, reusable, Mach 6 aircraft dies – or moves to China.

5. Liberty Ship Revived – For lend-lease, 18 American shipyards built 2,751 “Liberty” cargo ships between1941 and 1945. For the ISR surge, the US Air Force will take delivery of 37small “Liberty Ship” turboprops between 2008 and 2009, which is seven to eight yearsafter the war that required them had already started. Progress!

, , , ,

4 Responses to 2008 in review: Top 5 news

  1. Mike 23 December, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    More than anything else, your list demonstrates how completely broken the US military’s design, development and procurement process has become. It is approaching the level of becoming a national catastrophe.

  2. Royce 23 December, 2008 at 2:56 pm #

    “With Blackswift’s cancellation, the dream of demonstrating unmanned, reusable, Mach 6 aircraft dies – or moves to China.”

    Maybe we need to focus on the basics and evolution of current designs rather than leaping ahead. I’m not worried about China developing this tech when they can’t yet even build a decent fighter engine. Or develop a fighter that isn’t based/sourced in western tech. It will happen someday, but not now.

  3. Uwe 26 December, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    3. Russia-Georgia Air War

    My guess is you haven’t yet understood what really
    happened in Georgia.


  4. Starviking 30 December, 2008 at 3:23 am #


    Care to enlighten us then?

Leave a Reply