So, it is estimated that today the US Air Force spends more than $ 150 billion annually. This significantly exceeds the financial allocation that the US Department of Defense allocated for the Air Force during the Cold War, when weapons were in first place in government programs in both the US and the USSR. But, despite such a generous financial recharge, the total number of tactical fleet aviation The United States is currently significantly inferior to all indicators since 1945. At the same time, combat aircraft have substantially “aged” and are in operation much longer than in earlier times. With this in mind, a logical question arises - why work on projects is being closed, in which huge amounts of money have been invested and which should contribute to the modernization and updating of the existing fleet of aircraft.
The United States Army Command, at the request of Secretary of State John McHugh, assessed the implementation of the adopted military programs from 1995 to 2010. There is no report on the work carried out by the commission in public access, however, The Washington Post wrote, referring to the received copy of the document of interest, that the practical work of the army leadership was negatively evaluated, and the actions of senior officials in managing the implementation of various projects were described as "unacceptable" . The United States Department of Defense itself received the same negative assessment.
The list of the most expensive, but at the same time unfinished projects in the report included "Fighting systems of the future" and the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter, designed to conduct aerial reconnaissance. Only these two projects have been spent 25 billion dollars. Also among the other unfinished programs, the Crusader 155 caliber millimeter self-propelled artillery mounts, Stinger RPM Block II missile systems, ATACMS BAT and the Grizzly Breacher barrage system are mentioned.
Work on the creation of a reconnaissance helicopter for the US Air Force RAH-66 Comanche was launched in 1988 year. The new machine was created using stealth technology and was supposed to completely replace all existing OH-6 Cayuse, UH-1 Iroquois, AH-1 Cobra and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters. According to the order, it was planned to acquire 650 new Comanche helicopters worth 39 billions of dollars. Work on the project was closed in 2004 by a joint decision of the command of the United States Army and the Pentagon, who decided that it would be cheaper and much more efficient to acquire unmanned aerial vehicles and improved long-existing helicopter models.
The RAH-66 helicopter development program spent almost eight billion dollars, of which six were spent during the 1995-2004 period. For early termination of work on the project of the company Boeing and Sikorsky, who were directly involved in the creation of Comanche, received a penalty in the amount of almost 700 million dollars. During the work on the project, two prototypes of the new helicopter were created, which are currently on display at the US Army Aviation Museum in Fort Rucker.
It is curious that instead of the not cheap Comanche (approximately 60 million dollars per unit), it was decided to create a somewhat cheap combat reconnaissance helicopter of the ARH-70 Arapaho type. The contract for the creation of the machine was awarded to Bell Helicopter USA. The helicopter made its first test flight back in 2006, but after two years, in October 2008, the Pentagon issued a statement to close the project, since the final cost of Arapaho was significantly higher than the calculated one. On 2008, 533 million dollars was allocated for the program.
Despite the huge loss of funds due to the closure of programs and projects, in 2003 it was decided to start work on creating a whole family of new combat systems - “Future Combat Systems” (FCS). The end product of the project was to create a whole range of unique military equipment from tanks and howitzers to unmanned aerial vehicles. The FCS project was subject to several changes throughout the entire implementation period, and in 2009 work on it was closed. By this time, more than $ 19 billion had been spent on developing FCS. As a result, the previously adopted “Combat Systems of the Future” project was almost completely changed and is currently known as the United States Army Enhancement and Modernization Program. It provides for the purchase of existing weapons, as well as minor developments of certain types of equipment, but in full compliance with simplified requests.
Like all the reports that we are considering about army projects, we also conclude with recommendations on how to prevent such large-scale useless expenses in the future. According to the document, it is necessary to fulfill only four basic requirements: strictly adhere to the time frame, accurately and competently manage risks, enter into long-term contracts only with trusted companies and provide an adequate technical task to selected contractors. The army leadership, for its part, assured the Pentagon that almost all of the above four rules have already been fulfilled.
It should be noted that the thoughtless management of military projects was characteristic of the American military at all times. There are no public documents on the closure of work on military projects of the United States Navy, Air Force and Marines, but it can be safely assumed that these troops have invested a lot of dollars over the past 15 years for projects that were not destined to be implemented. One of the proofs in favor of this assumption is the work on the project of the deck attack aircraft for the US Navy - A-12 Avenger II. The project was spent 3,88 billion dollars, but with this money the contracting companies managed to create only one dimensional layout of a fairly promising attack aircraft. Work on the project was terminated in January 1991, according to the order of the Pentagon.
No less disastrous in the United States called the work on the creation of the 5 generation of the F-35 generation, which has been carried out in the United States for many years. About this from the pages of the British magazine "Janes Defense Weekly" say three American experts in the field of military equipment for military purposes, John Boyd, Pierre Spray and Everest Riccioni. People involved in the birth of today's famous F-16 Fighter Fighting Fighter claim that the development of the F-35 is "the most unsuccessful project, with more and more obvious signs of an impending catastrophe."