Procurement: May 17, 2005

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In a classic case of military pork at work, the U.S. Department of Defenses effort to cancel production of the new C-130J transport was reversed. The C-130, which is manufactured in Georgia, has long been known as a useful aircraft, but one that was often produced more for political, than practical, reasons. The air force has had to accept over a hundred C-130s it didnt want because the politicians wanted to keep the production line open. This made it much easier for politicians from Georgia to get re-elected to Congress, and local office. All those jobs, all that money. This effort was a point of pride for the Georgia Congressional delegation, and the envy of others in Congress. The feat was accomplished by trading favors with others in Congress to get the votes needed to keep the C-130s coming. The air force, not willing to make a big fuss with Congress, accepted the aircraft, often just parking them somewhere and pretending everything was fine. The latest version, the C-130J, began as a suggestion ten years ago, but has grown into a multi-billion dollar project that radically changed the aircraft. Many of the new features are not as reliable as existing, and quite adequate, technology found in older aircraft. The air force would rather spend the money on other things. While the C-130J has been criticized as not ready for active service, this is unfair. The C-130J is a much more capable version of the previous models, and all that new technology takes time to get the kinks worked out. The basic C-130 design, which is half a century old, was excellent, and the aircraft have served well. Except, of course, for their secondary role as political pork.

 


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