Mar 28, 2022Liked by Andrew Cockburn

I read that in the 60’s NASA spent a fortune trying to invent a pen that worked in zero gravity. Russia simply gave its cosmonauts a pencil. Paulba

Expand full comment

Would you explain how Sec of Defense Austin landed on the board of Raytheon immediately after retiring from service? According to Wikipedia, in 4 years "his Raytheon stock holdings were worth roughly $500,000 and his compensation, including stock, totaled $2.7 million."

Expand full comment

Great point! I wouldn’t put it past the Navy to reach for the anchor option with regard to some of their more egregious disasters, such as the LCS, or the Arleigh Burke destroyers.

Expand full comment

For what it's worth, Andrew, last March I had this to say about the KC-46:

The Boeing KC-46 tanker: A tanker is basically a flying gas station, air-to-air refueling being something the Air Force mastered half a century ago. Never underestimate the military’s ability to produce new problems while pursuing more advanced technology, however. Doing away with old-fashioned windows and an actual airman as a “boom operator” in the refueling loop (as in a legacy tanker like the KC-135), the KC-46 uses a largely automated refueling system via video. Attractive in theory, that system has yet to work reliably in practice. (Maybe, it will, however, by the year 2024, the Air Force now says.) And what good is a tanker that isn’t assured of actually transferring fuel in mid-air and turns out to be compromised as well by its own fuel leaks? The Air Force is now speaking of “repurposing” its new generation of tankers for missions other than refueling. That’s like me saying that I’m repurposing my boat as an anchor since it happened to spring a leak and sink to the bottom of the lake.


Expand full comment

Maybe the U.S. is disarming itself through sheer malpractice?

Seriously, if I had a choice between F-15s, -16s, -18s, and A-10s with KC-135s versus F-35s and KC-46s, I'd take the former. Heck, P-51 Mustangs with drop fuel tanks would be better.

Expand full comment
Mar 28, 2022·edited Mar 28, 2022Liked by Andrew Cockburn

This was an interesting read.

This is the second time I've heard a story about defense spending with regards to the Tanker


^^ this talks about the team that built a tool to plan tanker re-fueling missions - worth a listen (or a read of the transcript) if you found this article interesting

Expand full comment

They could have first tried remote operation of the boom in a KC-135 to see if the idea worked.

Expand full comment