For those of you who are fans of military hardware, the Atlantic Monthly has written a fascinating article about the procurement process behind the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The JSF is the largest, most expensive military weapons program in history, yet James Fallows’ article describes how, by applying civilian techniques and innovations to the procurement process, it may end up being one of the most affordable at a mere $28 million per plane (versus the current $100 million per plane for the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor).
Of course, what the article is missing is the whole Tom Clancy treatment…
“The setting sun glinted off the gunmetal grey twin tailfins of the F-35. The fighter jet, $28 million of the most deadly machinery ever created by man, seemed to poise lightly on the tarmac, as if waiting for a signal to roar into the sky with its deadly payload. Jack Ryan, Emperor For Life of the Planet Earth, tugged on his flight helmet. Time to kick some alien ass.”
This link came from the one and only Gregg Easterbrook, whose Tuesday Morning Quarterback column is surely the only regular feature on ESPN.com that includes geopolitical analysis, photos of scantily-clad cheerleaders, and endless criticisms of Star Trek plot holes.