USAF does ‘cash for clunker-plunkers’

For more than a year, the US Air Force has also been taking clunkers off the road — with laser-guided AGM-65E Mavericks.

But,lacking the funds to buy new AGM-65Es from Raytheon, the USAF and themanufacturer has come up with a unique financing approach that issomewhat similar to the Obama Administration’s “cash-for-clunkers”program.

The project began when the US Navy loaned the USAF about 150 AGM-65Es. USAF F-16 and A-10 pilots needed the high-speed missiles to strike insurgents fleeing after planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs), usually in pick-up trucks (aka ‘clunkers’). The missiles are thus clunker-plunkers.

To finance the purchase, Raytheon Missile Systems is taking old IR- and TV-guided missiles out of the USAF’s arsenal, upgrading them, and selling them to foreign customers. For example, Taiwan and South Korea recently placed a joint order for AGM-65s worth $70 million. Raytheon credits a portion of that amount — about $14 million — to the USAF’s account to buy the new laser-guided weapons.

Hey, whatever gets more fuel-guzzlers off the road, right?


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