‘Eurofighter too complex for its missions’
The German Air Force has uncovered serious manufacturing defects in the fuselage of the Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighter jet. The jet is not ready for armed conflict, according to the German Defense Ministry which ordered to reduce annual flying hours for each aircraft due to the fuselage possibly becoming unstable.
RT:Defense contractors are reportedly eyeing lucrative contracts now that the military campaign in Iraq and Syria has been launched. Do you expect them to lobby for greater involvement?
Pierre Sprey: They have stunning lobbying power. That has been true for decades and it is increasing. Year by year their lobbies are thriving, they are getting more and more of their own way. There has been essentially little change since the Bush administration into the Obama administration. If anything, they are more powerful under the Obama administration than they were before. And this present attack on ISIL has then ecstatic, they’re euphoric.
RT:What sort of thing could you expect to see next, after seeing the campaign is being launched against IS? Do you expect that increase in anyway?
PS: Inevitably, at least the air portion will increase. The ground portion is still kind of up in the air and will depend a lot on the politics, but beyond a shadow of a doubt this really very puny air campaign that we are running now - surprisingly small, particularly small in terms of actual bomb dropping strikes - will certainly increase. And that is very much in the interest of the military industrial complex and, of course, their congressional advocates.
RT:In your opinion, does this have a big bearing on the American economy? There is a war, so is there a spike on American economy because of the money that is generated from military contracts?
PS: There is a spike for the defense industry. It is pretty hard on the rest of the economy to say the least. The whole idea of the economic spin-off from defense spending has been a phony for decades.
RT:There have been reports of multiple flaws in one of Europe's most advanced warplanes - the Typhoon jet fighter. As one of the designers of some advanced fighter planes - the F-15 and F-16, for example - what can you tell us about that?
PS: [The Eurofighter Typhoon] has never been a very good airplane. It is rather large, very expensive. Of course we build more expensive airplanes to say the least. But it is relatively unmaneuverable, far too complex for its missions, hard to maintain, and very hard to get very many sorties per week out of it because of the complexity. But that is no different than most of the airplanes being built today, and we are doing worse with the F-35.
RT:With regards to the F-22, is it for the situation which it faces now?
PS: The F-22 was a kind of Potemkin village, if you want to call it. They had to send it into combat. It has been so conspicuously absent from combat for the many years that it has been in service that people have noticed. There has been a lot of commentary, and so they finally set up a nice little mission for it, so they could try it out and do a little strike, on what proved to be an empty concrete building. I doubt you will see very much of it in combat. Partly because, of course, it is a $400 million airplane and you hardly want to risk even the accidents that might happen in combat, and partly because the airplane is so complex. It nominally flies about two times a week. So you can’t get very many sorties, you can’t try it out it very often.
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