Saturday, March 16, 2013
Faced with a lemon, the F-35, Congress says push on anyway
Nearly half of my 26-year career in the U.S. Air Force took place during the Cold War years. I remember a poster on the wall of the Kunsan Air Base command post that read: "Kill a Commie for Mommie." That was indicative of the war-fighting spirit that permeated front-line installations like Kunsan at the time. The 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, now just the 8th Fighter Wing, flew and still does fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter. It's a damn good airplane, as I'm sure the pilots of the Vermont Air National Guard's 158th Fighter Wing would agree. The future for Air Force pilots, though, lies not in the cockpit of fighter jets but at the dekbound controls of a drone. That is just one of many reasons not to press ahead with the building and basing of the F-35 Lightning II, at the Burlington, Vt., airport or anyplace else. It is a Cold War-era fighter jet in search of a new Cold War enemy. Perhaps former Soviet MIG jet jockies selling themselves as mercenaries? There are many other reasons - for Burlington, especially - to say NO to the F-35. Noise pollution is one of them. This essay outlines the case.