Italy’s Populist Coalition Divests from Pentagon and Lockheed; Cancels F-35 Order

July 7th, 2018 - by admin

Reuters & US News and World Report – 2018-07-07 23:37:23

Italy Says It Won’t Buy More F-35
Fighter Jets and May Cut Existing Order

Gavin Jones /Reuters

ROME (July 6, 2018) – Italy will not buy more Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets and is considering whether to stick to the order to which it is already committed, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta said on Friday.

Trenta comes from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement which has always been critical of NATO member Italy’s order for 90 of the planes, saying the money could be better spent to boost welfare and help the sluggish economy.

“We won’t buy any more F-35s,” Trenta said in a television interview with private broadcaster La 7. “We are assessing what to do regarding the contracts already in place.”

She spelled out several reasons to be cautious, saying that “strong financial penalties” could mean that “scrapping the order could cost us more than maintaining it.”

She also cited benefits in terms of technology and research in Italy linked to the planes, as well as jobs that would be lost.

The F-35 is made by Lockheed Martin Corp, with companies including Northrop Grumman Corp, United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems Plc also involved.

However, Trenta said she saw merit in stretching out the purchases in order to free up resources for investments in European defense projects.

Some 5-Star officials said last year that Italy should cancel the order for the fighters altogether, but Trenta made clear she had reservations about this.

“No one is hiding the fact we have always been critical . . . In view of the existing contracts signed by the previous government, we are carrying out a careful assessment that exclusively considers the national interest,” she said.

The 5-Star Movement formed a populist coalition government last month with the far-right League party.

Note: The loss of this weapons contract is a serious blow to Lockheed-Martin and the other war-profiteers involved in the project but the loss is nowhere near the annual cost of Pentagon projects that are cancelled before they even produce a usable weapon. In this case, however, the war-corps still collect billions from the Pentagon. For more information, see the story below. – [EAW]
Copyright 2018 Thomson Reuters.

$46 Billion Worth of Cancelled Programs
John Reed / Defense Tech

(July 19, 2011) — So here’s an interesting bit of defense technology related info presented by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments at a press conference to discuss defense spending yesterday. It’s a breakdown of just how much all those weapons programs that were cancelled in the last decade cost us:

* Future Combat Systems (FCS) $18.1B
* Comanche helicopter $7.9B
* nPOESS satellite $5.8B
* VH-71 Presidential Helicopter $3.7B
* Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) $3.3B
* Transformational SATCOM (TSAT) $3.2B
* Crusader $2.2B
* Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) $0.6 B
* Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter $0.5 B
* Aerial Common Sensor $0.4 B
* CG(X) next Generation Cruiser $0.2B
* CSAR-X $0.2B

All told, that’s about $46 billion, a significant chunk of change. CSBA’s Todd Harrison (and many others throughout the years) urged the Pentagon to start programs off right with realistic requirements and tight oversight to prevent such cancellations from ever happening.

Still, you’ve got to realize that a lot (but certainly not all) of the lessons learned in the development of these systems will be put to use in their replacements. Who knows how much tech from the Commanche was featured on the stealth helos that took out bin Laden?

Check out Steve Trimble’s list of successful DoD programs of the last decade and notice, as he points out, that they’re all derivatives of existing systems.
Click through for a copy of the CSBA report. The chart with the cancelled programs is on page 36.

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