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Two Seat Raptor?

by murdoc on October 3, 2007

Charlie: Excuse me Lieutenant…is there something wrong?
Maverick: Yes ma’am. The data on the MiG is innacurate.
Charlie: How’s that, Lieutenant?
Maverick: Well, I just happened to see a MiG 28.…
Goose: WE.….we
Maverick: Sorry.…we…

A critical look is being taken at what some in the military tactical aviation field had long suspected — that being the prospect of a two-seat F-22 Raptor.
Now before any of you single-seat purists go off half-cocked, let me state flat out that as the Radar Intercept Officer son of a dedicated single-seat 4,000-hour-plus A-4 Skyhawk-250-missions over Vietnam father, I’ve heard all those names for the “Guy In Back” — “The loss of 200 lbs of gas” comes to mind, with my personal favorite being the Brit’s “Talking Ballast”.
But with the electronic battlespace of today, having two bodies — and two heads and two sets of eyes and two brains coupled with two mission f22_raptor_l2.jpgcapabilities in that cockpit makes a certain amount of sense. Particularly in light of the potential enemy air order of battle that may be in store for us in the future along with an increasingly complex and challenging airspace.
Aviation Week and Space Technology’s David Fulghum has the below article out in the 1 Oct issue that talks about the value of two-seat fighters. Opinions (and arguments) abound regarding the value of such a move but can we really discount the consideration of a Raptor-version of the F-15E Strike Eagle or even the now-retired F-14D Super Tomcat (Supersonic Attack — No Escort Required said the patch) in light of what that additional capability brings to the warfighter’s table? What we don’t want, of course, is a step backwards in this digital-cockpit age. Fulghum states in his article “Recent operational experience with the F-22 produced an aural environment, described by participants as spooky, where aircrews seldom speak and move information by data link, which is faster and more accurate than talking.“
However, with the advent of advanced radars such as Raytheon’s APG-79 active electronically scanned array radar, which is standard equipment in the Block II versions of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, having this “spooky” cockpit environment of tactical decision making at the speed of thought could continue. The APG-69 provides the ability to decouple the cockpits so that the pilot can concentrate on an air-to-air mission while the rear-seat/GIB/WSO prosecutes a ground attack, both using specific elements of the radar simultaneously.
In addition to that capability, keep in mind the overarching need to make our scarce defense dollars go as far as they can and the fact that a single-mission platform is a thing of the past speaks well for a multi-crew/multi-mission 5th-generation platform that gives the Joint Commander a much more versatile toolkit from which to conduct air operations.
Bottom line, though, when you discount the tactical advantages of that second cockpit, what would you rather have? 30 seconds of a burner wave-off or a reliable drinking buddy who will stick with you all night?
Two-seat fighters take on multiple missions as bombing and network-attack combine
David A. Fulghum, Washington
Cyber, Kinetic War Collide: New two-seat strike fighters and electronic-attack aircraft are quickly emerging as a combat necessity.
That need heralds the beginning of a revolution for the military aviation that will likely see the end of large-platform bombers and intelligence-gathering aircraft.
Instead, military aviation will start looking like the Israeli Air Force, which abandoned bombers for fighter-size aircraft that can strike at strategic ranges.
Even hard-core, single-seat fighter pilots who have long considered a back-seater unnecessary and sometimes even a hindrance are changing their minds.
Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, the U.S. Air Forces first deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, says that the ability to conduct simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground combat in addition to sophisticated electronic attack and, soon, information warfare, will keep two aircrewmen fully occupied.
The threat of cyber attack means, We have to look at the fragility of the electromagnetic spectrum, Deptula says. We have to study the problem. But the manpower crunch is so great that any solution that requires more personnel is going to be a hard sell. Nonetheless, he contends that there is great need for an airborne, self-regenerating network capability to recover quickly from electronic or computer attack and strike back.
Also on the Israeli model, the U.S. will seek to reduce its acknowledged over-reliance on network-centric warfare. This new generation of aircraftoften based on existing designs such as the F-15, F-16, F-18 and stealthy F-22will have the ability to survive massive cyber and electromagnetic pulse attack and quickly create local area networks to begin gathering intelligence and generating counterattack missions.
Senior military officials say that new tandem designs, combined with advanced sensor packages and wideband data links, are at least doubling the capabilities of tactical aircraft. But all that will require two crewmen to conduct simultaneous air-to-air, air-to-ground and, possibly, cyber combat.
The shift is already underway. Boeing and Lockheed Martin are each either fielding or designing at least two new two-seat aircraft.

–Pinch Paisley


The Navy is fielding the first Boeing Block 2 F/A-18F Super Hornets with VFA-213 at NAS Oceana, Va., while the first production EA-18G Growler electronic-attack aircraft flew last month.
Lockheed Martin officials privately say they are looking at two two-seat concepts. The first is a new version of the F-22 with a large wingredesigned from the FB-22 conceptfor more fuel. But unlike the bomber wing, it will allow supersonic cruise. A fuselage plug will add the second seat and a larger weapons bay that could include advanced, long-range missile designs. The company estimates the second seat would add only about 10% to the airframe cost.
It could become an option for the 2018 USAF bomber competition.
There is also a competition to put active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars in the Air Forces two-seat, F-15E fleet, to be awarded in late October.
Another competition is to come in November to put AESA radars in F-16s. Lockheed Martin officials also believe that there are at least two more blocks of advanced F-16 designs that could provide new capabilities, including advanced radars and electronic attack. They note that while USAF uses its two-seat aircraft for training, Israel, Singapore (see p. 50) and other foreign users put a weapon systems officer in the back seat for specialized attack and reconnaissance missions.
All of these new designs are wrapped around increasingly sophisticated versions of the AESA radar that can triple the range of conventional radars.
Depending on the size of array and target, it varies from around 100 mi. for an F-16-size array to more than 150 mi. for an F-15 which will carry the largest, fighter-sized AESA array. Thats slightly more than the F-22. However, because the Raptor is stealthy, it can get closer to the target for a more detailed look.
Other electronic-surveillance sensors can again double the range. Specifically, if a target is within line of sight, it can be seen and identified from details as minute as the targets vibration, the movement of a mechanically scanned antenna or virtually any electronic emission. As the range shortens, ever lower power emitters (walkie-talkie-type radios) and smaller flying objects (stealthy cruise missiles) can be detected with a collection of multispectral clues.
Airborne AESAs combined with electronic-attack and surveillance systems are themselves becoming tools in increasingly sophisticated network attack.
The Air Warfare Center is testing developmental airborne network-attack capabilities, says Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, commander of the 8th Air Force, which has been tapped for cyber warfare operations and shares Barksdale AFB, La., with the new Cyber Warfare Command. Some of the star graduates and experienced instructors from the Air Weapons School are preparing to introduce airborne network attack into Red, Blue and Black Flag exercises, he says. Black Flag is a new arena for specialists to experiment with new technologies in a combat environment and decide where the Air Force should invest its resources.
We are actually starting to practice with these [tactical network-attack] capabilities, Elder says. With enough testing, well get the confidence to bring them into the exercises. Tactical home for the operation capability will be basically stealth platforms like F-22, F-35 and B-2, but it will also include space, bombers, fighters and large intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, he says. Some of the early work on such projects includes the Suter series, involving the RC-135 Rivet Joint and EC-130 Compass Call. And one of the platforms we did a lot of work with was the [E-8] Joint Stars, Elder adds.
A quickly developing international market is likely. Ive got people coming to me that dont really know what an AESA radar is, but they do know they want it for their air force, says a radar developer at the Air Force Association show in Washington last week.
The move is sure to generate budget wars between the services budgeteers (who are trying to trim defense spending) and operational commanders (who want the added capability) because two-seat aircraft cost more, as does the training and retention of weapon systems officers. Advocates contend that with the same numbers of aircraft, two-seaters can perform more combat tasks than single-seaters and more easily split up to cover a larger airspace (because each can do air-to-air and air-to-ground combat simultaneously).
These two-seat, integrated multi-sensor designs will be very useful in irregular war, but there will have to be a very disciplined approach to crew coordination, says Maj. Gen. Allen Peck, a veteran F-15 fighter pilot, commander of the Air Force Doctrine Development and Education Center and vice commander of the Air University. If youre not careful, two guys may end up doing the work of one.
Recent operational experience with the F-22 produced an aural environment, described by participants as spooky, where aircrews seldom speak and move information by data link, which is faster and more accurate than talking.
There are other technology factorsand an overarching threatthat drive planners to two-seat solutions. AESA allows the pinpointing of small air and ground targets. Integration of sensors and access to offboard intelligence sources allow the rapid accumulation of real-time data for simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. And, the worlds air forces realize theyre vulnerable to computer-network and electronic attack, say Deptula and Elder.
Israeli defense officials, who have created the model that the U.S. is looking to for guidance, first revealed their intention to Aviation Week & Space Technology last year to back away from overreliance on network-centric warfare. Part of the solution, the Israeli Defense Forces contends, is to keep more manned aircraft in its inventory and keep them longer than planned. That doesnt mean abandoning plans for the heavy use of unmanned surveillance and combat aircraft, but it does mean the modernization and continuing purchase of advanced manned strikefighters, such as the F-15 and F-16 family and, eventually, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Coolhand77 October 3, 2007 at 4:53 am

The raptor is not a bad aircraft. I just think we could have gone a less expensive, more bang for the buck route by upgrading/re-engineering the Tomcat and the Eagle.
Oh well, too late for that now…

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Joe May 2, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Well folks, believe it or not, I have seen a two seat F22. I was in driving by Edwards AFB and saw it take off at around 0100 local. It clearly had one pilot in front seat and one in back seat. they were not doing a lap dance, both had two seats and canopies! I would believe that more exist?

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campbell October 3, 2007 at 6:14 am

hmmmm……and why not a ZERO seat Raptor?
place all those bodies into a large body control craft, link to a small flock of (UCAV)Raptors…..gain more weapons/fuel capacity for the individual small attack craft, perform multiple tasks from a more protected distance from targets….

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_Jon October 3, 2007 at 9:18 am

Why not a 3 or 4 seater?
If there is that much information, make it like an air-borne tank.

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FooMan October 3, 2007 at 9:35 am

I watched the single seat fighter/attack guys fight over the f-18 and the f-16 and then watched watched as both aircraft evolved two seat attack versions, high threat environments require multiple human brains to deal with threats in those environments. Let the front seater deal with the air environment and let the wizzo drive the attack just as it should be and has been for the last 35 years. Two sets of eyes, two brains able to differentiate the parts of an attack, accomplishing one goal, steel on the target! I notice that despite various attempt to replace the old F-4g wild weasel aircraft the closest someone has come is a TWO-SEAT F-18 growler (personally I think a poor cousin of the EA-6b prowler). The f-18, especially the F model, is probably the future of naval attack and the air force ought to just admit that sometime it takes another pair of hands to drive a decent attack system. Even the A-10 has/had a two seater version for observation/fac (forward air control). Ever seen good footage of a fighter trying to jump a two seat attack aircraft? That second pair of eyes allows the guy driving to drive the aircraft and the second guy to eye the threat without sensors operating, mark 1 mod 0 eyeballs don’t jam, fail, seize up, require tech support, and a smart wizzo can put more bombs on the target than the most expensive computer in the world. (re; the A-6e intruder guys; smart guys, smart air planes, dropping dumb bombs on the bad guys)

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Vercingetorix October 3, 2007 at 10:27 am

It’s good to see a two-seat version of the Raptor. We need more of them. Our sole advantage in war is predicated on air-space dominance. Should we ever lose that, or from more powerful air defenses, be denied use of the air, our people will die. And it is good to see the era of manned aviation extended ahead of the wonks for a few more years. Until we have our HAL moment with AI, unmanned aviation is NKR, not quite ready, for the big time, to take on all aerospace tasking.

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ohwilleke October 3, 2007 at 12:23 pm

A two seat Raptor is an interesting and even reasonable idea. But, is this really a priority?
The one thing that is absolutely sure about a two seat Raptor is that some development costs would be incurred and that it would cost, at least, slightly more than an existing Raptor in production costs.
Maybe the F-22 isn’t the perfect fighter, but it is damn close as it is.
Other parts of the Air Force fleet, although less flashy, seem far more needy.
Our air tanker fleet needs to be replaced, and if you want to deploy F-22s to places one fuel tank can’t take them, you need air tankers.
The B-52 has served us well since my father was in military service, but honestly, it is hard to believe that a very non-adventuresome replacement could be a significant improvement. Upgrading is nice, but there are limits to what you can do with an old design. Something on the order of half the ordinance in Afghanistan and Iraq was dropped via B-52, so the existing B1-B and the B-2 are clearly not filling the entire need that the B-52 does.
We are working our transport planes very intensely, and have a real need for more C-17s. Also, Air Force still hasn’t really decided if it wants a C-5 replacement, which would seem a sensible thing to do and could be done using COTS technology based on commercial airliners — there is value in being able to move large quantities of cargo from one commercial grade airport to another.
I’m not being terribly creative here. There are lots of other ways to use defense dollars, and many are pretty significant needs. But, the point, I think, is clear.

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Swamp October 3, 2007 at 12:54 pm

I have to agree with Campbell. They need to be moving to a zero seat Raptor. The airborne pilot has become obsolete, they just don’t know it yet.

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22lr October 3, 2007 at 4:18 pm

I have flown a Cessna 172 and a second pilot even comes in handy with something that small. Two is better than one.

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GARY ( THEGREAT ) October 3, 2007 at 4:30 pm

…..THAT WAS ME…..

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George E Gilmore October 3, 2007 at 5:43 pm

As one of the early wildweasel crew chief’s the F105G there is no dought the need for the two seater, there is just to much happening for a single person to handle. The Bear can control the ground attack while the piolet can watch for sam’s and AAA and enemy aircraft. just a ground crew point of view

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Vercingetorix October 3, 2007 at 6:16 pm

I find it is interesting that we are commenting on a need for a two-seat aircraft and yet some people still want a pilotless aircraft. If your flying I-pods are so great, why on god’s green earth and blue sky would we need a two-seat airframe?
Could it be that maybe, just maybe, that Deep Blue doesn’t have what it takes right now to win a war, and that they may be bang-up stick-wigglers in thirty years, they won’t be able to operate today.

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jimbo October 3, 2007 at 7:34 pm

I’m sure we are quite far off on eliminating the need for pilots, though why couldn’t/shouldn’t there be a 2nd seat to control say 3 UCAVs. By the time they have a 2-seater raptor tested and ready for combat, UCAVs could possibly be ready for prime time controlled by a back-seater. Now 2 people and 2 brains are controlling a pack of 4. From a lot of what I seam to ready, pilots can be pretty down on being replaced by drones, though I think they ought to be leading the push to get them going in small packs control by a couple guys there in the middle who truly have the split second situational awareness. It’s tough to imagine all the new tactics that could be developed to take advantage of developments like this. With fighter costs skyrocketing and other air forces closing in in therms of numbers and technology, this would be a huge force multiplier. I’d be curious to hear other thoughts on this topic.

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Custer October 3, 2007 at 8:22 pm

There are four options here:
1. Develop a single seat aircraft that automatically engages the target without any assistance from the pilot while the pilot flies the aircraft.
2. Develop a single seat aircraft that automatically flies itself without any assistance from the pilot while the pilot engages the target.
3. Develop a UAV that does 1 and/or 2 above.
4. Develop two seat aircraft.
Which option will work?
Which option is cost effective?
Which option do you favor?

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demophilus October 4, 2007 at 2:50 am

Once upon a time, a two-seat version of a single seat aircraft was seen as a good investment, if only for use as a trainer. Don’t know that we need a TF-22, but as a taxpayer I’m a little nervous about letting anybody solo in one, no matter how many hours he or she may have in something else.
Apart from that, there’s other precedent for a two seat F-22 mod. IIRC, the TF-16 and -18 became the F-16B and -18B. We’ve done this before, and, IINM, we’ve done it with pretty positive results.
As Pinch’s article suggests, AESA is showing some interesting capabilities. Apart from detection and air superiority, it theoretically makes what was a fighter into an ELINT/DEW/AWACS platform. Combine those mission profiles with stealth, and you get at least twice as many (and, IMHO, twice as hairy) potential challenges. Might be nice to have another person along to share the load.
Hell, worse comes to worst, you could pull the second seat and panel, and plug in a ginormous computer — like, say, a HAL 9000.
Jimbo raises an interesting possibility — turning the back seater/RIO/Bear into a UAV controller. Don’t know if you need an F-22 for that, unless you need the speed and stealth. Otherwise, you could theoretically do that with anything with two seats, including a T-6, so long as it had good commo, like a Link 16 pod.
AESA raises some interesting possibilities in that sphere — if it can tickle a particular target, it can probably transmit a secure signal or maintain a persistent link to a UAV. A few of the posters here seem to be assuming that freak hopping, encryption, or autonomous flight software make UAVs jam proof. I’m not so sure about that. Right now we can fly Predators in Iraq from New Mexico; don’t know that’ll last forever.
Apart from EMP, we’ll be facing other electronic attack profiles in the near future — like, AESA. Future manned and unmanned aircraft may have to function in an extremely cluttered EM environment. Imagine a gremlin running up and down the airframe, smacking it with an arc welder, or worse yet, a stun gun pumping big volts into anything conductive at the same megahertz rates as the flyware. Can our current stuff handle that kind of beating? If it can, it’s been built by magicians. They should run for Congress.
Point is, having another guy or gal in the loop to reboot the F-22, and/or a UAV LAN, might be a good idea.
Apart from that, consider the benefits of another procurement track — like, if we have to cut the one seat F-22 buy further. That’s going to piss off LockMart, and its lobbyists and Congressman. Going to be hard to push that through, without throwing them a bone. A two seat E/FB-22 might do the trick.
There’s a great deal I don’t know about this sort of thing, but I have learned that if you have a Plan A, it’s nice to have a Plan B too. A two seat F-22 might fill that role. It deserves a little brainstorming, at least.

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Moose October 4, 2007 at 3:01 am

Jimbo’s hit the nail on the head: that backseater can be the ticket all the UAV guys need to get to the dance. “Piloting” UAVs from ground stations or big, lumbering cargo planes works when you can take your time to do things, but controlling them from the back seat of a plane that’s only a couple miles away would work alot better in high-threat environments.
So, you split the workload, allow the crew to take on a higher load as a result, increase the crew’s survivability, give the plane more capabilities, and give a boost to UCAVs all in one go. What’s not to love?

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Roy Smith October 4, 2007 at 5:15 am

You know,the answer is so obvious about who should fill the back seat in a two seat jet & its not HAL….its R2D2. We obviously need R2D2 to handle back seat duties.R2D2 can handle controlling the UAVs,navigation,& dropping the bombs,etc. I’m surprised nobody else thought of this.How much does R2D2 weigh anyway in relation to another human in the back.Could you imagine R2D2 filling the second seat in an A-6 Intruder?

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wpnexp October 4, 2007 at 7:33 am

Hmmmm, how about two single seat F-22s, instead of one two-seater. Seems two planes with two brains is better than one plane with two brains. And while I appreciate the bomb dropping capability of the F-22, they will mainly be clearing the skys of fighters. When that is done, they won’t need a second brain to simply drop the bomb in a permissive environment. In the meantime, the bombers can drop the bombs until the enemy fighters have been dealt with. Lets concentrate on buying more of a good thing we already have, than hope for something we likely can’t afford.

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Foreign.Boy October 4, 2007 at 9:13 am

Roy Smtih,
R2D2 would be totally awesome!

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Coolhand77 October 4, 2007 at 9:56 am

From what I recall of the 15E back seat schematics that I came across, didn’t they have dedicated systems for aiming sensors and guided weapons? What is a UAV other than a really long range guided weapon?
Heres a thought, you want F-22 functionality with the two seater? Re-equip the 15E with all the wiz bang electronics from the 22…hell there might even be some weight savings…and give the back seater full control of ground attack guidance. So the “Eagle Driver” can pay more attention to driving and not getting shot down, and the ground attack puke in the back can hit the damn target.
Oh wait, somebody is already doing that…I think its the Israelies

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Dutch October 4, 2007 at 12:39 pm

In all the comments I have read there seems to be an assumed enemy ROE. What does that look like, folks?
Also, what does the theater of operations look like in the next twenty years? Are we going to be conducting support ops in Afg or Iraq; alpha strikes into Iran or Syria; something to do with mother Russia? What about China?
How do our current air assets match up against the ROE, both projected and current?
After all that, what does a second person add to the mix?
I flew Corsairs for a brief fling. No second seater, even on my first solo. Why? Didn’t have any. Scared myself when Hyd #1 went south, but it’s all about the learning curve, isn’t it.
Dutch

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Tony October 4, 2007 at 8:30 pm

Keep in mind I am a civilian military nut and I have plans to serve. This is just my opinion.
Wouldn’t replacing an entire force of manned aircraft with unmanned aircraft be dangerous? Most UAV’s are reliant on a satillite connection and China has already proven it can take out satillites. To make things worse, what if someone (this is a reference to China, Russia, and computer smart terrorists) learned to literally jam a UAV computer or hack it with nerds and turn it on its allies. Even worse, they could turn it into a kamikaze bomb.
Not only that, but in every battle of every war the one determining factor has been the man, not the machine. I don’t think the machine can replace the man completely, since no machine can do everything a man can do. A human mind can get creative and adopt to nearly any situation. In short, what I am trying to say is that the human mind’s flexibility is nearly limitless while the mind of a UAV will forever be a box. I think manned fighters are still better than UAVs and should be further invested in. Nothing can replace the human mind since the human mind is indepentant of electronic influence.
That’s just what I think.

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Al Kapstrom October 4, 2007 at 9:15 pm

When you post such items and do not provide a video WITH AUDIO of such a dynamic item, you do your recipients a great disservice. Dou-rated I would have loved to provide such a piece to my grandson whom I am trying to coax into considering following in my foot steps by everything available to motiviate him. “No joy” with this piece and equally so with the one on the F 16 airstrike. Shame on you.

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C-Low October 4, 2007 at 9:21 pm

Oh I didn’t mention that I know many will say why F-22 / F-35 as quarterback why not just keep with the AWACS? Well considering every enemy around is doing all they can to figure out how to hit AWACS which in response will be pushed further and further back or more importantly since the US is airforce is a Strike force not defensive force. Those AWACS will be well off shore in a war with a major power. A F-22 will ensure that strike/airdominance force well into enemy territory even in a major power war.
That is the use of the F-22/F-35 move. Closing don’t forget the best way to avoid a war with a major power is to be prepared for war with a major power. The Big guy doesn’t get tried its the weak guy (who ends up having to either b*tch up or prove himself).

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stephen russell October 4, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Maybe boost AF Aircrew recruitting & hiring if some can get chosen for GIB for the F22.
Id be neat.
Might boost AF Tac Command needs only.
Or PR AF Command needs.
Now can the Navy adopt F22 for Navy Use IE FA22 Raptor?

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stephen russell October 4, 2007 at 9:25 pm

Maybe boost AF Aircrew recruitting & hiring if some can get chosen for GIB for the F22.
Id be neat.
Might boost AF Tac Command needs only.
Or PR AF Command needs.
Now can the Navy adopt F22 for Navy Use IE FA22 Raptor?

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stephen russell October 4, 2007 at 9:25 pm

Maybe boost AF Aircrew recruitting & hiring if some can get chosen for GIB for the F22.
Id be neat.
Might boost AF Tac Command needs only.
Or PR AF Command needs.
Now can the Navy adopt F22 for Navy Use IE FA22 Raptor?

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retammo October 4, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Spent 22 years in the bomb/missile business, and 15 of them in test programs at White Sands/Holloman AFB. Worked with all services and several foreign nations. The best attack bird had to be the A-6E SWIP, and the the absolute top electronic bird was the EF-111, with the F-14 coming in top as air to air. All had 2 crewmembers, and they worked as a team. Ask any Tomcat driver how he would fair without the “Nav”, and he’ll tell you, the guy in the back is a neccessity. We still can’t duplicate the effectiveness of the “old” F-4G with todauys birds, using 1 seat. The F-16CG is as close as we got, and it’s still way short. Too bad the Weasels all became target drones.

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Shadow October 4, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Opinions in response to Zero Seat:
With a zero seat raptor the balance would be thrown off, and no there would not be more weapons or fuel capacity considering to make something like through engineering you have to consider the following
A) Would the craft be able to mantain and fly properly from a RCU (remote controll unit)
B) Would the RCU effect the aerodynamics of the craft
C) When using the RCU how you would spot and recognize difference of a Enemy craft, Friendly craft, or RI (radar invisible craft) even then how would you mechanically fire such – the weight of all that technology would be more than likely a LOSS of weapons and fuel rather than a gain.
D) What is the gain and loss when have a manual flyer and a RCU (Plain and simple at this point an RCU is not the way to go. There are far to much complications and when you have a highly trained pilot actually in the craft at the point it is easier to mantain. 8/10 of every pilot would rather fly the dang thing manually than go through an RCU)

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JIM* STARK October 4, 2007 at 10:06 pm

As a former F-4E GIB,I am a firm believer in having that second set of eyes in the back seat. The evolution of the F-15, F-16, & F-18 all point to having a GIB. When we did the Corona Ace study under the then USAF-IG, Lt Gen Flynn, it was very clear we ought to be recommending two-seater F-15s & 16s, but the single seat guys, including Gen Flynn, won out

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Guy October 4, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Two seats. Two engines. Should be the standard for today

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George Turner October 4, 2007 at 10:45 pm

If we reconfigure the raptor for two men, we will
be somewhat like the Israeli AF. We could strike the enemy before he knew what hit him. We need every bit of techno-fire power that we can amass, so that every time these global despots rear their ugly heads they would be looking at a missle
for at least two seconds before the lights go out
forever! Oh yeah if you haven’t figured it out I am a HAWK!
G.Turner USAF retired

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Bojo October 4, 2007 at 11:21 pm

Ok, here’s the thing. If the F-22 is going to be tasked to do multiple missions simultaneously, be they air/ground, air/ew, air/intel, air/wild weasel, air/ground/ew/intel/wild weasel or any other, then it pays to put a backseater in rather than, as some have suggested, put a second bird in the air. The math is simple. A new Raptor seat at this point costs roughly $120 million, then requires more big numbers in fuel, maintenance, and so forth to stay in the air. The butt that goes in the seat, if it’s got some rank and time under it and a lot of dependants, might cost $200 K/year. What this means is that for the cost of that second plane on the mission, the Air Force can afford to run a backseater in a two seat version for over 500 years. Throw in some extra development costs for a two seat version and training costs for the WSO/GIB or whatever we want to call him, and it’s still no contest. So the only question really is, or should be, how much will the second butt multiply the mission capacity, or will he mostly be along for the ride. If 9/10 F-22 missions will be strictly air-air, then by all means go one-seat and use specialized aircraft with escort for other roles. If, as seems to be the case, 9/10 rides will involve multiple roles and potential surprise such as network warfare, then the second butt, with the second brain and second pair of eyes, is really a compelling idea.

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MURc October 5, 2007 at 4:35 am

Well the F-14 concept was proven and last for over 30 years an concept that is now abandoning without much reason.
GRUMMAN made an great proposal with the SUPERTOMCAT21 witch was based on that very proven concept but it was killed.
Digital tech,computers and all that cuber-stuff are great but at the end it alway comes to the human factor.I would better like to be accompanied with a human RIO then all the computer system taking his job on board.

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G Dog October 5, 2007 at 7:52 am

Two seat F22? Sounds like flying with your wife!… why would you want someone second guessing you, but I do agree with a drinking buddy who can take the grenade in the one’s good looking, one’s not so hot scenario at the bar… but why can’t you just divide the tasks into the section, or even within the division? …and won’t that mean that now the doc is going to want a ride!!! IPs checks, student syllabus hops, and next thing you know, they have one at the school house!!! oh but wait, isn’t that what LockMart wants..oh! so that’s the real reason, lets keep the assembly line open so we can just simply make more!! no wait lets sell some to the Japanese, the Israeli, the UAE, the Saudi, and the list goes on and on!!! so lets call this what it really is… its a sell for a buy! but at least we have a drinking buddy who’ll take the grenade… too bad we already spent the money yesterday on the war we’re fighting right now, the one where F22 doesn’t even play

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Pablo October 5, 2007 at 9:12 am

Why not fly it from the ground and save all that weight and ESS stuff. Get to the bar quicker!

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James L Childress October 5, 2007 at 11:05 am

In combat two heads are better than one. Tomcats were the air superiority leaders. Drones have their uses but people are not yet replaceable.

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Mike October 5, 2007 at 11:15 am

Great idea. Lets drive the cost up some more. What the heck, we are only selling our future with the outlandish cost of new weapons systems as it is.

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James October 5, 2007 at 12:44 pm

In the quote from the movie “Top Gun” at the begining of the article, please correct the spelling of “innacurate”. It is correctly spelled “inaccurate”. :-)

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James Jennerson October 5, 2007 at 12:48 pm

In the quote from the movie “Top Gun” at the beginning of the article, please correct the spelling of the word “innacurate”. The correct spelling is “inaccurate”. :-)

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Mark October 5, 2007 at 4:56 pm

The only reason the two seat concept came about was because in the 50′s technology did not allow a single pilot to operate the necessary equipment. We swung back to single seat when technology allowed. There’s only 2 reasons to go 2 seat; one, if we intend to operate within the threat envelope, and two, if we intend to operate low to the ground. Our weapons and sensors allow us to employ well outside the threat envelope and at high altitude. UCAVs will operate inside the threat envelope when required. And since UCAVs don’t have judgement yet, manned combat aircraft will be around a bit longer (though, not much longer…)

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Cameron Gill October 6, 2007 at 8:24 am

The idea of two versions of the F22 and other next generation fighters is not a bad idea considering that budget constraints may mean fewer airframes. So being able to simultaneously conduct diverse combat roles with less aircraft is a good idea. The British were on the right track when they decided to make a two seater version of the Eurofighter as well.

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Roy Smith October 6, 2007 at 9:17 am

I liked the F-23 also when it was competing against the F-22.I read on Wikipedia though that the problem with the F-23 was how the missiles would be stacked inside it,sort of like a magazine,& that if one missile misfired or was unable to be fired,the missiles above it couldn’t be used because the dud missile would be blocking their deployment.I don’t know about that,I never remember either plane,F-23 &/or F-22,being evaluated on weapons firing.

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.ra. ways October 6, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Few may remember but back many years the Shah of Iran said “I can barely afford the F-4′s, How can I pay for the f-14A’s” So Pres.Nixon told him to raise the price of OIL…so there….

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.R.A. Ways October 6, 2007 at 3:16 pm

Few may remember but back many years the Shah of Iran said “I can barely afford the F-4′s, How can I pay for the f-14A’s” So Pres.Nixon told him to raise the price of OIL…so there….

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Roy Smith October 7, 2007 at 7:14 am

Can you do an article on the Suter Electronic Warfare System that was used by Israel to defeat Syria’s Russian Anti-Aircraft Missile System.According to Strategypage.com,it was used by “NON-STEALTH” Israeli planes to defeat Syria’s anti-air systems.Don’t let the American Military-Industrial Complex hear about this,or else people will question the need for 1 seat/2 seat F-22s &/or F-35s. Still being built,today,F-16s,F-15Es,& F-18 Super Hornets armed with this electronics counter-measures system must be a lot cheaper than the billions of dollars that we are pissing down the hole with our “stealth” fighters.How about adding on top of this HyperStealth KA2 Digital Camouflage on the newly,still being built,F-16s,F-15E’s,& F-18 Super Hornets & thrust vectoring to boot,what the hell do we need F-22s & F-35s for.Simplicity trumps “‘advanced(?)’ stealth” technology & how much money would we save doing this?

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Brian October 7, 2007 at 6:02 pm

Roy, even assuming the system of which you speak worked just as well as our stealth technology (against all opponents, not just a third tier middle eastern wannabe), it wouldn’t save us any money. The bulk of the spending has already been done.
The expensive part of the F-22 is the R&D. The actual construction costs aren’t THAT much greater than the costs for any comparable 4.5 generation fighter.
And that’s assuming whatever tech you’re praising works just as well as ours. I’m honestly not ready to christen it as a replacement for stealth based on an unconfirmed attack on an unconfirmed location against an unconfirmed target.

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Roy Smith October 8, 2007 at 12:00 am

Personally I’m of the opinion of “wearing both a belt & suspenders.” Lets have the “belt” of F-22s & F-35s & add to it the “suspenders of Suter equipped F-16s & F-15Es.How could that be so wrong? Let stealth work as advertised,but use the Suter Computer program to disable the enemy’s air defense systems anyway.Apparently,according to the article I read,the Russians had to send technicians to Syria to find out what happened,& Iran is worried also about if their Russian supplied air defense system could be compromised by the Suter Computer program.Unfortunately,people with limited tunnel vision cannot see how it would be great to have a mix of both stealth & non-stealth aircraft.Their money is invested in one system & it has to be that system or else.

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Roy Smith October 8, 2007 at 12:16 am

By the way,the Suter system is our system,used by EC-130s,RC-135s,& F-16 Wild Weasels.They suspect that the Israelis used a variation of the Suter system.The Suter System is produced by BAE Systems & L-3 Communications.The Israeli 2-seat F-16 Sufa could have had it installed in its Dorsal Compartment.I’m not sure where you could install it in the F-15E. The HyperStealth(the name of the company that makes this) FA2 Digital Camouflage is just visual camouflage,just like the digital pattern on the new uniforms of our army & marines.Thrust vectoring has been tested on both F-16s & F-15s.I don’t mean AV-8 Harrier STOVL/VTOL thrust-vectoring,I mean the ability to maneuver better in aerial combat.There are so many potential modifications for both F-16s & F-15s,but nobody wants to pay for them,even though their probably will never be enough F-22s or F-35s to replace the current F-16s & F-15s one-on-one.

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Slider October 10, 2007 at 11:27 am

Situational Awareness. Shows how old I am, been with drones/rpv’s/uav’s/ucav’s since the early 80′s, after stint as an airedale. I don’t care how good the RC pilot on the ground is, computer programs, yeah right, uplinks/downlinks/secure links, cuban taxi drivers can blow them out of the water. If you are not there, you don’t “know or feel” what you are looking at,period.
Trust me, “unmanned” anything, except armaments, is a fad. The capabilities today are no more than 30 years ago, just many, many times more expensive. Predator capabilities back then cost around $75K per airframe, and that was with the old Ferranti missile gyro costing some $12K.
1 versus 2 seats, horses for courses, or nowadays who in the blue suits and the funny shaped building you believe will be on the next source selection panel. Lockheed vs Northrop, B2 competition anyone?

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Flight Tester October 11, 2007 at 10:57 am

Being lucky enough to be part of the F-22 Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB CA when it was tested for years before going operational I feel I can comment on the topic of a two seat F-22. Originally, the A/F had two seat F-22

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Shadow October 11, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Plain and simple… This Raptor will dominate now.

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Michael November 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

This won't happen.

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Abdelkarim Mallouk February 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm

i invent a new F22 Raptor .
you will see it ….

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Namita March 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Peter, Yep, that would be a good test to run. Some details on the above test thguoh, I run back to back tests overnight generally. These tests run 14 1800 second dbt2 runs. It stops, reloads the data, then starts, and reruns the test. So the drive is staying relatively busy. Easy enough to keep a sustained load for the entire day thguoh. Here is what I think I’ll end up runnings:#1 24 consecutive runs of dbt2 running for 3600 seconds, no reload after shutdown. this should give an interesting TPM graph.#2 1 long 24 hour dbt2 run, 43200 seconds, using iostat -x 1800 to try and graph 30 minute w/s + r/sAnother thing, My Standard test is about 11GB of data ( 100 Warehouses ), so I think I need to up this as well to come closer to the maximum drive size. I am curious if Intel maybe doing some free space magic with writes ( like putting them into free space at the end of the drive and processing deletes later, i.e. the MFT stuff I tested earlier ).#3 I think I need to fill the space and restest, or up the # of warehouses

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