Monday, December 29, 2014

F35 and the A10

James Fallows has a long article on the military in the Atlantic.  Part of it is a discussion of the F-35 and A-10.  He doesn't like the F-35 and does like the A-10.  The logic is that the F-35 tries to meet too many goals, do too many functions for all our military air forces, and is essentially political, with subcontractors spread across many congressional districts.  Conversely, the A-10 is single purpose and cheap.

There may be a couple parallels here:
  • Robert McNamara's F111 fighter bomber which was initially designed for multiple services.
  • Efforts to rationalize bureaucracy by combining organizations, like the USDA Infoshare effort which aborted.
I'm not sure whether it's always the case that working across organizations fails, but it's certainly difficult.  I believe some of the big car companies have tried, sometimes with success, to build different cars using the same chassis/drive train.  So maybe it's a matter of judgment--picking one's shots.

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