China Takes Premature Credit for Possible Cuts in F-35 Buy

China is taking credit for a truncated buy of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that hasn’t even happened, yet. The website of China’s state-run People’ Daily reported that the Obama administration was reconsidering its purchase of F-35 fighters because of China’s rapidly growing military prowess.

The People’s Daily cites recent comments by Andrew Krepinevich, president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, that the administration should cut the F-35 buy because short-ranged tactical fighters would be of limited utility in a war against China. The website says Krepinevich carries powerful sway in the Pentagon and his recommendations would likely be followed.

Krepinevich, and others at CSBA, have long been arguing that in future high-end battles, short-ranged tactical fighters have limited value, particularly in the face of ever improving Chinese reconnaissance strike complexes and long-range anti-air missiles.

Yet, as Krepinevich told our own Colin Clark, a point perhaps China misses, he argues for a cut in the F-35 buy in order to free up money to spend on long-range strike weapons - bombers and missiles - that would be better suited to penetrating Chinese air-defenses.

So, sure China could take credit for a cut in F-35s, if that happens; but if Krepinevich’s advice was truly followed by the Pentagon, the net result would be a weakening of China’s strategic position.

— Greg Grant

  • Bob

    Obama needs to have good relations with his friends the Chicoms. We can trust our nation’s defense to the administration. He has a plan.

    • Steve B.

      Yeah, what is it with these White House folks, they can’t seem to PLAN. Like poor Dubyea, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. with their PLAN to govern Iraq after “Mission Accomplished”. Sometimes they seem to get stupid once elected, or were lucky enough to be dumb as sin before…

      • Sev

        Listen, I think people tend to get caught up in what I like to call “Election fever”. The TV is flooeded by ads by both candidates that appeal to what Americans want and blame the other guy for problems. People get caught up in the rhetoric. What people need to do is turn off the TV and not believ a damn thing any candidate says. Go online and look up their voting record and their stance on issues and then make a decision on who to vote for. Its ONCE every two years that a person has to do some research on a candidate, is it so hard? Uninformed voters are dangerous and thats how we keep getting idiots elected into office.

  • prometheusgonewild

    I thought Obama had a plan to stimulate the private space industry when he cancelled the Aries rocket program. Not so much….…

    You cannot make this stuff up……

  • Robert A. Fritts

    If you want your banker to keep giving you huge low interest loans(suicide), then you do not put up a billboard trashing your banker. Due to Progressives fascination with debt, china owns us. which is why the Marines leaving Japan will end up in the states, not guam. Obama will not do anything to stir up the CHICOMs. They own us period. There is even a plan to reduce the national debt, by giving china Millions of Acres in the USA.

    • Earlydawn

      Citations on the land plan, please.

      Also, if you think the Chinese debt situation is one-way, I think you should look up the terms “mutual dependence” and “debt supercycle”. Every loan China gives us ironically increases our interdependence. No customer, no economy.

    • Chops

      I dont care how much we owe China-if Obama gives them U S land he deserves to be impeached-then he can live in China with his fellow communists.

    • Warjen

      Gotta hand it to you, as far as completely insane and baseless accusations go, that’s one I hadn’t seen yet this week. And “Prorgressives fascination with debt” is pretty funny when you consider it was a conservative administration which cooked up the wall street bailout.

    • Clement

      “Progressives fascination with debt?”

      Have you ever heard of a theory called SUPPLY SIDE ECONOMICS? aka unsustainably running large federal and current account deficits? our huge national debt (especially to China) started during the Reagan years, although administrations on both sides have been guilty of spending more than they take in in tax revenue. Please read some history.

  • Marvel

    What are you people talking about?

    • warjen

      I doubt they know. Rush must have had indigestion this morning and couldn’t cook up anything coherent.

      • William C.

        All is well in Obamaland citizen, don’t look at the debt numbers nor the upcoming gutting of our military to pay for Obamacare.

  • SMSgt Mac

    The sad thing is, the less capable among us are losing their job options as the Regime drives the economy into the toilet. Which gives them more time to jump in and trash the threads before (most of) their betters get off work.
    Earlydawn: It doesn’t pay to feed the trolls before dinner….oh, and don’t let them get get sunlight or wet either.

    Taking a survey: how many F-35 haters are going to whine about unit price increasing even though cutting the buy (when it happens) will lower overall program acquisition and total costs overall? (Just askin’)

    • blight

      It’s going to be that cost spiral all over again a la B-2…

      Perhaps Lockheed needs to report separate R&D numbers independent of per unit costs. But if Congress wants to kill a program it’s still X million (or god forbid, X billion) for /paper weapons/.

      Time to go to Davis Monathan and dig out some F-4 Phantoms, god forbid America will stop buying new aircraft and use museum relics like it’s post-WW2 all over again.

  • skysurfer808

    Given that the T-50 will be in service within a decade, it makes more sense to me to either cut or kill the F-35 program, bring back the F-22, and offer an export version of the Raptor to our closest allies. It was sheer lunacy to terminate an American product even Japan wants to buy. The F-22 could be tweaked into a carrier version with arguably less modification then an F-35, scaling up some of the R/D experience of F-35C. Even a less stealthy Sea Raptor would represent a formidable warfighting platform. Those who say its impossible to do so ought to remember the F-18 started out as a land based F-17, and the Su-33 as a development of the Su-27. Keep a STOVL F-35 for the USMC and the RAF/RN and other interested customers. The per unit cost of an F-22 and F-35 are too similar to justify continuing the F-35 program the way it is currently structured, with or without more help from U.S. creditors.

    • STemplar

      An F22 is 2 to 3x more expensive in its base configuration than the overall F35 cost. Develop a carrier version and the cost goes up.

  • skysurfer808

    To reply to STemplar…the F-22 is worth every penny given the performance even a carrier version would have, and the fact that a Raptor is 2 to 3x times more capable a platform. To put it bluntly, an F-22 could outfight a T-50, but it is highly unlikely that an F-35 ever could. As for the low end of a High-Low mix, build more improved Teen Series platforms and stealthy UAVs.

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