I’ve seen a lot of hand-wringing over the F-22 today from politicians all over the state following the Senate vote to strip it’s funding. For instance, here’s Chris Dodd:
“I believe it is our duty and responsibility to protect the thousands of workers in Connecticut and across the country from losing their jobs and to ensure that our country maintains the ability to continue building the finest and most sophisticated fighter jets in the world.
“We may not have prevailed in this round, but we are not out — not by a long shot. And I will not give up this fight.”
And here’s Rob Simmons, who took the opportunity to lash out at Dodd:
“When the Bush administration proposed closing the Groton submarine base, I helped lead the successful fight to save it. In failing to convince President Obama and his fellow senators to save the F-22, Senator Dodd proved an ineffective advocate both for the defense of our nation and for the thousands of workers in Connecticut whose jobs are now in dire jeopardy. Instead of hobnobbing with lobbyists at a fancy resort over the weekend, perhaps his time would have been better spent working on behalf of his constituents to preserve this vital program.”
Here’s my question (and I’ve asked it before): do we really need to keep making this plane?
The Secretary of Defense has said that there’s no military reason to keep making these planes. The president said:
“I reject the notion that we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on outdated and unnecessary defense projects to keep this nation secure. […] This would have been an inexcusable waste of money.”
I hate to say it, but the president is right.
I know, I know, I live here and I don’t like the thought of unemployed workers at Pratt, either. But the president made the right call, especially considering that the F-35 program is scheduled to start up in 2011. The F-35 will also be using Pratt engines. The only good reason I heard for saving this program is keeping the assembly lines together for the F-35, and that’s just not enough.
There were strong reasons for keeping the Groton Sub Base open, which were laid out in detail by Simmons and the group tasked with saving the base. If there are similarly strong reasons to keep making F-22s, I’d love to hear them.