American research company Wealth-X, which provides access to a unique perspective on the world’s wealth, has published its ninth annual report World Super Wealth 2021. It is devoted to studying the wealthiest individuals, as the authors put it, those whose fortune exceeds 30 million dollars. The authors estimate that despite the widespread woes of the coronavirus pandemic, in 2020, the number of the wealthiest individuals globally grew by 1.7% to 295,450 people. Their combined wealth increased by 2% to $35.5 trillion. It is noted that 38% of the wealthiest individuals live in North America.
Of course, the sources of income and ultra profits of the wealthiest individuals are different, especially in the United States. But what draws attention is the significant recent increase in the number of wealthy individuals in North America among the military elite and those close to the US military-industrial complex. However, the same military in the US does not engage in productive activities by their status, living on their assigned salaries, which does not allow one to justify the objective reasons for their excessive wealth in recent years.
This leads to the reasonable assumption that the growing “wealth” of certain members of the American military-industrial elite in recent years can be attributed to corruption schemes involving the alleged development or implementation of previously failed military programs or military equipment, which are eventually closed, and the fabulous funds allocated for their creation are openly embezzled. And all this could have remained in the realm of unfounded suspicions, if not for the publication of similar failed military projects in the United States itself, which billions of dollars from the national budget have been spent and continue to be spent on, happily flowing into the pockets of individual members of the American military elite.
For example, the US media has already repeatedly named the worst national weapons programs, on which a considerable amount of time and money has been wasted. The assessments of military experts and officials and the latest reports of the US Department of Defense were taken as the basis. Business Insider wrote about some of them earlier, for example. In particular, Zumwalt-class destroyers were mentioned, in the development of which two decades and tens of billions of dollars have already been spent. The Zumwalt, for example, has no working weapons and no clear mission: the two 155 millimeter Advanced Gun System artillery units are incredibly expensive, with one long-range projectile costing about one million dollars. For this reason, the purchase of projectiles was suspended two years ago, and the Zumwalt was left without any ammunition.
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, in which some $30 billion has already been invested, is notorious for its failure. The LCS was explicitly designed for submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and mine countermeasures. But, as the report by the United States Department of Defense revealed, these warships are insufficiently armed to carry out these tasks.
The ranking of the worst national weapons programs in the United States, according to Business Insider, includes the electromagnetic railgun: authorities have spent time of developers and hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development of this weapon, without considering whether it is militarily feasible. It has become apparent that this development is of limited firing speed due to the considerable power requirements. Even American experts believe that it is better to spend money on missiles than on a railgun. It is likely that if a serious conflict arises, railguns will not be able to survive.
Previously, a similar failure rating already included Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, AH-64 helicopters, Leopard-2 tanks and several other US military weapons.
But the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters have been the undisputed leaders in this ranking for years. As many US experts have noted, the F-35 program and its cost are out of control, as former President Donald Trump wrote on December 12, 2016. Unflattering facts for the Lightning II’s creators were also cited in a 2019 Bloomberg report by the Pentagon’s director of weapons testing. Long tests of the US fifth-generation F-35 fighter have revealed critical problems with the reliability and durability of the aircraft, the accuracy of its weapons, and its software. By the way, Bloomberg called the F-35 production program the most expensive in the world. It reached the amount of 1.196 trillion dollars, and yet this US fighter jet still has 871 defects!
Can you imagine how many people, even after the American media published the failure of this program, continue to enrich themselves through the continuation of this “project”?
Even at a very early stage, with no paperwork for F-35 preproduction models, the US military-industrial circles unleashed such a glorious advertisement for the “crane in the sky,” leading to swarms of contracts both from the States and from Europe, Asia, and Australia, for an aircraft that existed only in sketchy outlines. Ultimately, the number of applications for “best fighter jet” reached three and a half thousand! In doing so, Lockheed Martin and the US military elite pulled a devilish trick, literally enslaving several prospective customers, making them “partners,” so that they could not change their mind and refuse to buy. In doing so, they were forced to invest in the development of the F-35, investing earnest money, and at the same time, enriching the American military elite. It took almost 15 years to realize that the “emperor had no clothes,” that is, the F-35 was a bad aircraft: the fighter made its first flight in 2006, and its service in the Marine Corps began in 2012. Since then, flaws, design errors, and monstrous irregularities that prevent the aircraft from being used in combat conditions have been coming one after another and some of them are so serious that they cannot be corrected.
The Pentagon has been demanding a radical reduction in the cost of operating the F-35 for almost a year. Now an hour’s flight costs about $50,000. But the American military elite still does not intend to completely abandon the F-35, although the US Congress must approve this decision.
In June of this year, the US Department of Defense announced that in 2022 it would not buy fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. But, will the recipients of the dividends from this F-35 project agree to give up on such a good source of personal enrichment?
Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.