The Defender

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choppergirl

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I did some math once, and if you slashed the entire US military budget to zero as well as the black ops budget (CIA, etc)... you'd have enough money to give every American... and I mean every American... something like $2,500 a year, every year, for the rest of their lives. This would be in addition to any other already existing social programs like Food Stamps, Social Security, and Medicaid.

Baby, Kids, Elderly, Retired, Street Person, Poor, Middle Class, Rich, Teenager, Student, Prisoner in Prison, overseas traveler, whatever. All of them. If you didn't want the check (like you were filthy rich like Bill Gates, simply don't cash it).

Seems fantastic, like the magic money is coming from nowhere, but the math is true. The money would still be coming from the same place, just going to you, not the black hole of paranoid waste.

What would you do with your $2,500 a year, every year, year after year for the rest of your life?

Me, well, I'd buy a used ultralight airplane. At least one. They run about $2,500. The rest of the checks, I could live extremely comfortably on $2,500 a year for the rest of my life. Considering I'm living on $0 a year right now like millions of other unemployed Americans. If I wanted to aspire to something more in the race to become wealthy, I can keep trying my heart out to get a job.

Well, you're never going to get it. Enjoy your billion dollar bombers and tanks you as a taxpayer never get to play in, parked out in the desert to rot every 5 years when the new model comes out... :p That's okay, right, they get sold back to the public at auction for cheap? Like back in the good old days? Um, no. They sit there in the desert sun for eternity as a supply dump of parts, then are broken up by huge cranes that drop heavy sledge cutters and sold to scrappers.

It's all good. All that military spending trickles down somehow to stimulate the economy and create jobs, to produce value. For you and me. And Choppergirl. Er....

Can't eat a tank. Doesn't even make a good tractor to pull a plow.

Not sure the Canadian military budget, but then, who would want to invade Canada... the moose can have it. Ask anyone from Minnesota, eh?

I could tell from that Defender video when I first saw it, it was never going to fly. He had a clue regarding designing airplanes, but like, he also... didn't. Weight, and lack of wing area.
 
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BBerson

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There is photo of Diemer standing next to his highly modified PA-12 with huge wing slats. It said he would aim it at his hangar 150 feet away and takeoff over his hangar. Sport Aviation, 1969 or 70.
 

PTAirco

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Corona CA
Quite well, I expect. The air force fielding the F-5s would have trouble recruiting pilots since they chose economy without regard to the lives of their pilots; the cockpits would likely be empty.
There will never be empty fighter pilot cockpits for lack of people willing to fly them. I'll put that on my tombstone.

Did I say 5 F5s? At about $100 million (in today's money) for an F18 , you could buy 25 F5s or similar. Let's see who would come out on top in that fight. I know, I know - the F18 can do some things an F5 can't. Actually, uhm - what does it do that that makes it worth 25 simpler fighters? A big radar set in the nose? You can hang the same missiles on either, and sure, the bigger airplane will carry a few more. But not 25 times as many. I'm talking specifically about a fighter in a defense role.
 

Kyle Boatright

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There will never be empty fighter pilot cockpits for lack of people willing to fly them. I'll put that on my tombstone.

Did I say 5 F5s? At about $100 million (in today's money) for an F18 , you could buy 25 F5s or similar. Let's see who would come out on top in that fight. I know, I know - the F18 can do some things an F5 can't. Actually, uhm - what does it do that that makes it worth 25 simpler fighters? A big radar set in the nose? You can hang the same missiles on either, and sure, the bigger airplane will carry a few more. But not 25 times as many. I'm talking specifically about a fighter in a defense role.
Land on a carrier? Carry more than a pair of bombs?

If you're talking about a point defense interceptor, why not buy a bunch of F-104's? But seriously, the US military needs a lot more capabilities than a point defense interceptor offers.
 

Angusnofangus

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Sep 29, 2015
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Victoria, Canada
Not sure the Canadian military budget, but then, who would want to invade Canada... the moose can have it. Ask anyone from Minnesota, eh?
I am not sure what Minnesota has to do with Canada. And contrary to what a lot of people think, we don't all live in igloos. It is a big,(very big) beautiful country. You just wish that you had moose in Georgia.:)
 

pictsidhe

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Short range Interceptors are not much use to Canada, it's just too big. What the Canucks want is something like an Avro Arrow, good range, mach 3. Oh, whoops, they flushed that project, just when it was looking really good. Or, have a lot of short range fighters.
 

mcrae0104

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Well, in today's money for yesterday's airplane, maybe 25:1 is the right ratio. If you're suggesting fielding an air force of 50-year old aircraft then yes perhaps you could have that ratio. But that would be akin to fielding Eindeckers in overwhelming numbers to oppose Mustangs. (Just in terms of age and perhaps "used" cost--I know the capability gap is different).

The question you need to ask is, what would it cost to build a fleet of F-5s today. I don't know how to arrive at that answer but I doubt the unit cost would be $4M. So the 25:1 ratio is dropping.

Maybe a better way to arrive at the correct ratio would be to compare the cost of F-5s to their contemporaries. Globalsecurity.org says a Tiger cost about a third of the Phantom. I bet the cost of a new Tiger (that is, the same design, but manufactured today en masse--none of the Tigershark upgrades) might be built for what, $10-15M? Then, what is the operational readiness penalty to be paid for the older engine design? The cost of operating less efficient turbojets vs turbofans? My guess (pure SWAG) is that the proper ratio is closer to 5:1 or 10:1 at the outside best.

A big radar set in the nose? You can hang the same missiles on either...
If you hung the same missiles on the F-5 they'd be ballast. What would it cost to put in the fire control systems to make it capable of using them? The ratio just dropped again. Keep in mind the F-5 has no radar to begin with. So sure, I'd take a 5:1 deficit when you have BVR capability against a slower, less-capable aircraft.

My final thought is, if this is a viable defense strategy, why isn't anyone doing it? Why not send overwhelming numbers of soldiers onto a battlefield armed with swords against a much smaller modern army, for instance?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the F-5 precisely because of its simplicity. But I would rather trade complexity (and yes, cost) for overwhelming capability versus overwhelming numbers.
 

Himat

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Norway
...
My final thought is, if this is a viable defense strategy, why isn't anyone doing it? Why not send overwhelming numbers of soldiers onto a battlefield armed with swords against a much smaller modern army, for instance?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the F-5 precisely because of its simplicity. But I would rather trade complexity (and yes, cost) for overwhelming capability versus overwhelming numbers.
Well, actually we see it today. Insurgents armed with rifles, improvised explosives and so on quite often holding ground against armies supported with high tech satellites, airplanes and helicopters. In some battles these insurgents have worked out to be more of an army, fielding signal intelligence, communication and radar jammers, and artillery. To the grief of the opponent that is fought to a standstill or beaten.

Back to airplanes, if not the homebuilt type. The one that can fight on preferred terms usually win. Take the F-35, an expensive strike fighter, but well suited against someone with little air defence capabilities. The downside, it is overkill against someone without an air defence and vulnerable if up against a competent foe. Now, if that competent foe can field enough airplanes to outnumber the F-35 3 to 1, approximately by the cost difference?
 

Kyle Boatright

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Well, in today's money for yesterday's airplane, maybe 25:1 is the right ratio. If you're suggesting fielding an air force of 50-year old aircraft then yes perhaps you could have that ratio. But that would be akin to fielding Eindeckers in overwhelming numbers to oppose Mustangs. (Just in terms of age and perhaps "used" cost--I know the capability gap is different).

The question you need to ask is, what would it cost to build a fleet of F-5s today. I don't know how to arrive at that answer but I doubt the unit cost would be $4M. So the 25:1 ratio is dropping.

Maybe a better way to arrive at the correct ratio would be to compare the cost of F-5s to their contemporaries. Globalsecurity.org says a Tiger cost about a third of the Phantom. I bet the cost of a new Tiger (that is, the same design, but manufactured today en masse--none of the Tigershark upgrades) might be built for what, $10-15M? Then, what is the operational readiness penalty to be paid for the older engine design? The cost of operating less efficient turbojets vs turbofans? My guess (pure SWAG) is that the proper ratio is closer to 5:1 or 10:1 at the outside best.
The other thing to remember is that with a 25:1 ratio (or a 5:1 ratio) is that you're gonna need 25x as many pilots, you're gonna burn many times more fuel, replace 25x more tires, etc. It isn't all about up-front costs...
 
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