This is shocking. What’s going on?

Some are saying the Osprey, a hybrid plane-helicopter aircraft manufactured by Boeing, is not safe to fly.

Over-engineered, expensive, overly complicated garbage from Boeing? That’s what many military experts are saying:

Just yesterday a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed in California, killing four Marines onboard. Since the aircraft’s inception, observers have argued that the Osprey has an unnecessarily complicated design, with a “tiltrotor” system that allows it to take off like a helicopter but fly like any large prop plane.

This science fiction design is too good to be true, according to Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress. “That darn thing should never have been bought,” Korb said.

“When that program was started, I was in the building, as they say, in the 80s,” he continued. “It was so expensive and [had] so many problems that the Army dropped out of it, and basically the Marines stayed in.”

The Osprey’s doubters have been proven right over the years as accidents have plagued the space-age aircraft, which has crashed eight times since 2007 and twice just this year, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

Winning wars? Forget about that. In America, we have to keep our fat, overpaid defense contractors happy:

So why does Congress keep ordering complex planes like the F-35 and the Osprey? According to Grazier, it’s a problem of priorities, which have been muddled by defense contractors that stand to make big money on aircraft that cost billions to build and maintain.

“Hardware is not a solution in and of itself,” Grazier said. “You need to have the right hardware to implement the good ideas so the good people can use it to go out and win wars.”

With Pentagon budget season in full swing, the problem of priorities has come into sharp relief. The recent crashes have already pushed lawmakers to add language in next year’s budget authorization that will force the DoD to do an annual report on the findings of the “joint aviation safety council” that it was instructed to create in 2020.

In prior years, some observers have blamed military budget cuts for avoidable crashes. But Grazier says it can’t be fixed by “throwing money at the problem.”

“The fact that we did throw so much money at the Pentagon [after 9/11] has actually contributed to this,” he said. Grazier likened the DoD’s relative blank check in the last 20 years to giving his teenage daughter his credit card and telling her to “have at it.”

“There would be a lot of really bad decisions made with that,” he said. “Whereas if I handed her $20 and [said] ‘Hey, make sure you spend this wisely because you’re not getting anything else,’ she’d make more prudent decisions.”

Instead of ogling at sleek new planes, Grazier says Congress needs to act as “disciplinarians,” asking the hard questions about the lifetime costs of expensive programs and keeping defense industry interests in check.

Read the rest from Responsible Statecraft…

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