The U.S. military has a problem. It takes too long to acquire new fighting machines.
In 1983, top-brass decided that they needed a new fighter jet to maintain a tactical edge in the Cold War threat environment. The resulting aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, which was specifically designed for use in a central European front, was the most technologically advanced fighter ever created. Those Soviets won’t stand a chance, the brass must have thought. Except that the first Raptor wasn’t delivered until 2005, 22 years and $39 billion after the program was conceived, and 14 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.
In war, nobody—least of all the U.S.—wants to be the kid who still uses a Discman when everyone else has iPods. 22 years is too long to develop new platforms and, as the military faces budget cuts, it’s too costly. “All the technologies conceived at the fall of the Berlin Wall are now being used in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Ben FitzGerald, a Senior Fellow at the D.C. defense think-tank Center for a New American Security.
FitzGerald, an affable Australian with a magnificent copper-colored beard—and a rising star in future war strategy circles—thinks he has a solution: it involves 3-D printing, robotic assembly lines, and drones. A lot of them.
(…weiter auf cnas.org)