Brookings: Cancel F-35, V-22

Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon has jumped on the bandwagon fired up by the US deficit reduction panel, which last month recommended eliminating the Lockheed Martin F-35 and BellBoeing V-22.

O’Hanlon today published a policy paper titled “Defense Budgets and American Power”, which contains a wide range of cost-reduction ideas that largely mirror the deficit panel’s work. Here are excerpts from O’Hanlon’s paper:

  • Partial or even complete cancellation of the joint strikefighter or F-35. The type of stealth found in the F-35, and some short-takeoffcapability, would be welcome, but the United States has aircraft rangingfrom F-22 fighters to drones that can also provide these capabilities to someextent. Depending on which approach was taken, the intended buys of F-35 planeswould be replaced with F-16 and F-18 aircraft, at an annual savings of $1billion to $4 billion.
  • Replacement of the Marine Corps V-22 tiltrotor Osprey program with existing-generation helicopters at annual savings of about $1 billion


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9 Responses to Brookings: Cancel F-35, V-22

  1. alloycowboy 7 December, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    That is not going to work because you would have to redesign, modify, and retest both the F-16 and F-18 in order for them to survive in modern theater of war. All the bureaucrats seems to forget that both the F-16 and the F-18 were designed with slide rules.

  2. DensityDuck 7 December, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    So let me get this straight.

    We cancelled further production of F-22 and decided to buy F-35 instead, because we could do the same job with F-35.

    Now we’re supposed to cancel F-35 and let F-22 do the job that F-35 was supposed to do.

    Are we now saying that the only thing we even NEED are 187 F-22?

  3. MrSatyre 7 December, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Another pie-in-the-sky suggestion from someone who cannot or will not see the long-term. We dug ourselves a deep hole with the F-35 program by canceling the F-22 and pinning all our hopes and dreams (yeah, right!) on the 35. We either need to suck it up and continue on as we are, or cancel the 35 and restart the 22 and factor in phasing out and replacing the 16s and 18s.

    No matter what we do, we must not ever become a 2nd rate Air Farce, which is exactly what we will become if we cancel the 35, do not restart 22 production, and rely on next gen blocks of the 16s and 18s instead.

  4. JRL 7 December, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Just where exactly is this chillingly lethal ‘theater of modern war’ I’m always hearing about where nothing less than the most exorbitantly expensive and ridiculously complex ‘stealthy’ jets can survive? Other than the one in the minds of the defence contractors and fanboys, I mean…

    Does all this ‘The non-stealth sky is falling’ hype ever make you wonder whether if low observable technology did not exist, all the air forces of the world be resignedly putting up ‘Going Out of Business Sale!’ signs at the entrances to their airbases?

    Not likely, is my guess. Just as it’s not likely that the US & Co will be engaging in industrial scale warfare with China and/or Russia anytime soon. So what’s the worry? That a few hostile two-bit nations will purchase half a dozen or so of those extremely expensive advanced air defence systems? That hardly seems existentially threatening enough to justify the extravagance of an all-’First day of the war’ tac air fleet.

    BTW, the REAL pie in the sky idea was the USAF’s deliberate and unconscionable neglect of the tacair fleet in their childish pursuit of an all Buck Rogers bling bling airforce. The beseeching wail for a ’750 strong’ fleet of F-22 white elephants in a world without dangerous adversaries was the epitome of pie in the sky ‘thinking’. Or at least it was before that even more absurd ‘Cheap JSFs for everybody!’ tragicomedy of errors came along…

  5. SMSgt Mac 8 December, 2010 at 4:04 am #

    Heh. It’s ‘Brookings’. We should expect no less.

    O’Hanlon’s work has always been one of Intellect held captive by Ideology. He needs to reach back to that rare moment when he realized he was wrong about Iraq, and ponder that maybe he’s wrong about pretty much EVERYTHING ‘Defense’.

  6. cc 8 December, 2010 at 6:52 pm #


    For further reading on what happens when you negotiate through strength, please see “Reagan Defense Plan”, “Star Wars Program” and “Fall of Communism”, circa 1989. They are all related.

    Had we pooh-poohed it back then, like many are proposing now, you wouldn’t have seen the crumble nearly as soon as it did.

    And as for today, pooh-pooh it again and you just might see bad-boy countries start to test us like a bad kingergartner tests his parents, by seeing just how much bad behavior they can get away with.

  7. johnny 9 December, 2010 at 2:07 am #

    The V-22 cut makes more sense.

  8. Saberhagen 12 December, 2010 at 1:25 pm #


    Did you know that in Desert Storm F-117As were the only manned aircrafts allowed to operate above Baghdad? You do not need to fight Russia or China to experience the ‘modern warfare’.

  9. Landy 28 March, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I think the Navy needs the f35 more than the others. Cut the number original order for airforce(again), retire the F-15e, keep some F-16 block 50s, rather than retiring all of them, keep some f-15Cs even though they all should be retired, and finally retain what we have with f-22s. We ought to retire a bunch of old LA class subs and cap Virginia class. We need to keep our Ohios and we need to not decrease our trident II missile and warhead counts even though the new SALT treaty just passed is going to draw down on the trident force unfortunately. Lets also retire a few M1 tanks. We do this and we’re still screwed budget-wise. I don’t think this is anything but a loosing situation! We have to cancel and retire more than we are willing in order to stave off the doom that is coming!

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