Bombers big slice of $1.1tn US war bud­get

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - PAUL TOOHEY

DON­ALD Trump’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, Michael Flynn, has pleaded guilty to mak­ing a false state­ment to the FBI. “My guilty plea and agree­ment to co-op­er­ate with the Spe­cial Coun­sel’s of­fice re­flect a de­ci­sion I made in the best in­ter­ests of my fam­ily and our coun­try,” Mr Flynn said. He was forced to re­sign after mis­lead­ing the White House about meet­ing the Rus­sian am­bas­sador. WITH ma­jor projects in­clud­ing its first new heavy bomber in three decades and a new chop­per for the Pres­i­dent, the US mil­i­tary bud­get for the 2018 fis­cal year is $A1.1 tril­lion – a mas­sive ex­pen­di­ture for a huge war ma­chine un­der con­stant re­newal and growth.

Aus­tralia’s en­tire 2018 de­fence bud­get is $34.7 bil­lion.

Many weapons ac­quired or up­graded are clas­si­fied, but the US-based Cen­tre for Strate­gic and Bud­getary As­sess­ment’s an­nual “Weapons Sys­tem Fact­book” throws light on where the money is spent.

The 2018 US de­fence bud­get is the third-largest ever. Re­mark­ably, its big­gest spends were in 2010 and 2011 ($A1.12tn and $A1.12tn), dur­ing the draw­down from Iraq, sug­gest­ing it is costlier to exit war than en­ter.

US de­fence spend­ing is es­ti­mated to be four-times greater than China’s.

Amer­ica’s 20 B-2 Spirit stealth bombers ( now do­ing fly-bys near North Korea) are its premier de­ter­rence, able to strike tar­gets with con­ven­tional or nu­clear weapons.

Struc­tural mod­i­fi­ca­tion and sys­tem over­hauls for the first time since the air­craft’s pro­duc­tion in the 1980s and 1990s will im­prove the air­craft’s abil­ity to de­tect, iden­tify and avoid ad­ver­sary air-de­fence radars.

Each up­grade will cost $A68.6m. The B-21 Raider is a long-range stealth air­craft that is nu­clear-ca­pa­ble and can op­er­ate with or with­out a crew. A SIREN blared across Hawaii yes­ter­day, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, to pre­pare tourists and res­i­dents for a pos­si­ble nu­clear at­tack from North Korea.

The state is the first to bring back the Cold War-era warn­ing sys­tem, Hawaii emer­gency man­age­ment of­fi­cials said.

The siren sounded for a minute after the usual test­ing of the alert for tsunamis and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters Hawaii res­i­dents are used to hear­ing.

Emer­gency of­fi­cials were gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion about whether any sirens mal­func­tioned or were too soft, said Vern Miyagi, ad­min­is­tra­tor of the Hawaii Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency.

There was lit­tle re­ac­tion from peo­ple on fa­mous Waikiki Beach.

“I was out in the ocean play­ing around and I heard this siren,” said Cana­dian tourist Tom Pass­more.

“I think it’s a good idea, but judg­ing by ev­ery­one’s re­ac­tion around here no­body moved.”

Hawaii Gov­er­nor David Ige said this week that the pos­si­bil­ity of a strike re­mained re­mote but that it was im­por­tant to be pre­pared, .

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