Mental disarmament?The military has been criticized for lapses in discipline but the problem is even more serious than people think. Last month, a KF-16 fighter crashed and the cause was poor maintenance. We can understand that sometimes things like that can happen, if we really must.
But there is a more serious problem. It turned out that Pratt & Whitney, the producer of the fighter’s jet engine, had asked the military to change defective parts by 2004. The Korean Air Force ignored the advice, did not change the parts and recorded that it had disassembled the fighter and that there were no problems.
We were surprised to learn that 10 fighters have crashed since 2000. However, when we learn the reality about the air force, we feel fortunate that “only” 10 crashed and not more. It is pitiful that Korea’s air force has such lax discipline.
A KF-16 fighter costs 42.5 billion won ($45.3 million); nearly 10 billion won is needed to train a pilot to fly it. Money is not the only problem here.
It is unbelievable that for nearly three years the air force let its pilots fly an aircraft that might crash at any moment.
This is more than simple delinquency. This is closer to betrayal or committing an act that benefits the enemy. As the air force has shown that it lacks discipline, another bizarre accident happened. An F-15K got stuck in a manhole and its wing was broken.
And yet the air force still brazenly brandishes slogans about strategies that can last for a century while it boasts about having the most modern equipment and technology.
Probably this lack of discipline goes beyond the air force. Recently, high explosives were smuggled out of a military base but before they were found in a garbage can, the army did not even know that the bombs were missing.
The military must correct its loose discipline and be reborn. That is the first step of the government’s military reform plans, which require 620 trillion won of the taxpayers’ money.
Let’s have a look at our neighbors. China and Japan are both competing to enhance their military capabilities in order to take over the military leadership of Northeast Asia. And let us not forget that North Korea already claims to possess nuclear weapons. We need to remain vigilant.
The Korean military’s current attitude is something close to mental disarmament. We should not tear down fences just because we want to let more sunlight into the house.