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More on the Air Force “Star Wars” Over F-22

by Ward Carroll on February 18, 2008

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Our friend and sometimes DT poster Bob Cox of Fort Worth Star-Telegram fame had this piece on Saturday:

General reprimanded for disagreeing on F-22

A senior Air Force general picked a bad time to publicly disagree with Defense Secretary Robert Gates over his opposition to buying more F-22 Raptors.

After weeks of debate over the future of Lockheed Martin’s high-priced stealth fighter jet, Gates sent Air Force leaders a message to tone down the rhetoric by having a top general reprimanded for suggesting that the service would find a way to circumvent Pentagon and White House objections.

Experts don’t expect Air Force officials to change their minds about the need to buy more F-22s after the disciplining of Gen. Bruce Carlson. But a Washington insider said Friday that service leaders will turn down the volume.

“The secretary of the Air Force has sent a message to all of his four stars [generals] saying they need to be more circumspect in their language,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, who has close ties to the Air Force and is a consultant to Lockheed.

Leaders of the Air Force and the Pentagon have been engaged for weeks in an unusually public and testy disagreement about the future of the F-22 program.

The latest developments were spurred by Carlson’s comments published this week in the trade journal Aviation Week.

The general, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said the Air Force was “committed to funding 380″ F-22s regardless of the Bush administration’s budget policies. “We’re building a program right now to do that. It’s going to be incredibly difficult … but we’ve done this before.”

Carlson’s comments came as Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England was testifying before congressional committees.

In an exchange during a Senate Budget Committee hearing Tuesday, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, asked whether the Pentagon would buy F-22s to replace aging F-15s, some of which have been grounded because of structural defects.

“I do not believe the F-22 will be the replacement for the F-15,” England said. “I would expect instead to try and accelerate the [F-35] joint strike fighter,” which he called a capable and far less costly replacement.

The Air Force has long insisted that it needs at least 381 F-22s, which cost about $175 million each, according to budget documents. Bush’s 2009 defense budget provides funds to buy 20 F-22s, which would bring the total force to 183 planes.

England and Gates have insisted that they do not see a compelling need to buy more than a few additional F-22s, especially with the government facing the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as developing and procuring future weapons.

“The reality is, we are fighting two wars … and the F-22 has not performed a single mission in either theater,” Gates said in an appearance before a Senate committee last week.

Without an additional multiyear order for F-22s, Lockheed says it will have to begin shutting down the assembly line.

The company builds the plane’s midfuselage in Fort Worth, where about 1,800 people work on the program. It assembles the plane in Marietta, Ga.

About 8,000 people at Lockheed’s Fort Worth plant are working on the F-35 program, which is expected to provide most of the facility’s work for the next 20 to 30 years.

Winslow Wheeler, an analyst with the Center for Defense Information in Washington and a critic of the F-22 program, said Gates’ rebuke would have little effect on the argument over the F-22 because Congress will likely grant the wishes of the Air Force and Lockheed and provide money for more F-22s.

“There’s 44 states where there’s F-22 production,” Wheeler said, adding that even liberal Democrats such as Wyden like to preserve defense jobs.

The office of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne released a statement late Friday saying that the “F-22 program is critical for the nation’s defense” but that Carlson’s comments “misrepresent the position of the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force wholeheartedly supports the President’s budget request for the F-22 program.“

– Christian

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{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

CTR1(SW) February 18, 2008 at 11:48 am

Perhaps the most tragic observation that I can make is this: At some point in the next two decades our Air Force may be called upon to protect this country with only 183 front-line fighters. Given the volitile nature of world politics it is impossible to firmly state who that foe will be, therefore IT IS FOOLISH IN THE EXTREME to declare that we do not need more. Our politicians are ensureing that all future “sabre-rattling” on are part consists of a “dagger-waving.” Our foes will hardly be frightened or deterred.
This country is capable of providing the AF with thousands of these aircraft.
For our politicians to provide so few aircraft is a form of Dereliction of Duty. It is a failure to protect and defend. It is a form of slow treason. They are guaranteeing that our country will not have a future.

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steve February 18, 2008 at 11:52 am

Calm down, read the post. That would never be our total number of fighters, they are going to have quite a number of F-35s. The 183 is only referring to the F-22.

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jeff February 18, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Only 183 front line fighters?
Do we not have anymore F-16s?
Does nobody else think it’s funny that the Army is using Cold War era rotary airframes with success while the Air Force bitches for more $$$$ to get ultra cool stealth fighters which aren’t likely to be used in anger?
I’m all for preparing for the future wars etc. but why is the Air Force getting so much money compared to the Army and Marines when the most likely threat to the US is not from the air?

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James February 18, 2008 at 12:44 pm

175 million wtf look if we knew these things could radar for the next 25 to 40 yrs id say ok but realy the europeans already figured out how to beat stealth tech so realy cant say we nee 380
think maybe its time we invested in something and keept to generals away from it like say i dont know like we did the a-10 warthog?

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elijah February 18, 2008 at 12:51 pm

183, 380, i don’t really care. Just keep the production lines open somehow. It seems foolish and awfully short-sighted to invest so much money and more importantly time into such a hugely expensive (and hugely capable) aircraft and then destroy the means of making more of them should the need arise later. A few hundred million here and there honestly isn’t all that much anymore these days.

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Benjamin Fan February 18, 2008 at 12:55 pm

In the world of military procurement, never take anything for granted. I’m hoping that the pro-Raptor advocates manage to claw through for more fighters somehow, someway. Maybe just “20-plane” extensions every year, and each year after that, until we have 300+?
Don’t count on the JSF either. Again, nothing is for granted, the whole thing could be axed. JSF is no substitute for F-22 because you don’t even know if JSF will go ahead. At least F-22 is in full swing, thank God for that.

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Vercingetorix February 18, 2008 at 1:17 pm

The F-16s are thirty years old. Should we have fought Vietnam with Mustangs?
Oh, super-duper Mustangs with chrome spinners and napalm. Have to update things, you know.
Those airframes are old. Airframes fatigue. They crack. They are capable in some duties. Others? They are rapidly waning.
The threat environment is actually more dangerous than it was during some theatres of the Cold War. Flankers in the right hands – a threat out there right now – are comparable to our best fighters. In twenty years, the threats will overmatch our Eagles and Hornets and our Falcons.
It almost seems that some people are arguing for a Soviet era approach to defense: Quantity, not Quality.
Anyone remember how the Soviet approach worked out?

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cam February 18, 2008 at 1:20 pm

i think any aircraft in these 2 wars are considered stealth. the enemey doesn’t have radar so it makes it pretty easy. heck i say bring back the p51 to fight insurgents. they must be cheaper to operate than 155 million dollar supercraft. i love the f22 but i just don’t see us using them anytime soon.

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LKW2 February 18, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Jeff,
A large part of the air force getting so much money is the fact that they’re the space force and now it looks like the cyber warfare force. Without GPS, communication, and reconnaissance satellites, the army and marines capabilities will be greatly diminished. As long as the Air Force is in charge of operations in space, they’ll always have a substantially higher budget. Satellites have never been cheap, and neither is putting them into space. And yes, they have these expensive airframes, such as the F22, that can be argued from now until the apocalypse on whether they’re necessary, but as long as the Air Force has controls space and now the new cyber command, they’re going to need money for vital support roles.

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Vercingetorix February 18, 2008 at 1:51 pm

To add to LKW2′s comment, the things that soldiers and Marines do just don’t take up that much money. It costs about $18K to make a Marine through 13 weeks of training. It costs millions of dollars to make a pilot, because there is college (or a ring-knocker academy), then candidate school, then basic school, then flight training, then specific model training, then you go to your squadron and then get qualified in a syllabus which you have to keep current, and then you go to specific courses such as Tog Gun or WTI etc, each of which costs half-million on up to train the crew.
Marines? Put your boots on, we’re going for a hike.
Now, being a Marine, I think the Air Force are a bunch of pansy-ass sissies. BUT I respect the fact that their entire service is geared around the flight-line, whereas mine is in the sandbags. You don’t need much money to be miserable in the mud or sand. You need alot to be miserable at 40K feet, strapped into a jet, when the Taco Bell you ate in Laredo six hours ago is bubbling your guts over New Guinea, with another six hours to go.

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crazy February 18, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Lost in the battle for bucks is the answer to the question of how do we want to fight the next conflict with a peer or near-peer competitor? It’s easy to say buy more of this or less of that or even buy more for this service and less for that one, the problem is what will it take to accomplish the tasks we plan to assign to each of the services for the next war. Missiles, unmanned systems, and other aircraft may be a cheaper replacement for systems like the F-35, B-2, or future bomber but are they more effective? Isn’t the real problem that our future needs are being determined by arbitrary budget restrictions rather than military necessity? If the top line were different would we still be debating this?

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crazy February 18, 2008 at 1:56 pm

My bad…line 5, delete F-35 and insert F-22. Sorry for the typo.

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steve February 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Heh , P-51′s. Funny you mention it. Remember about fifty-someodd years ago when we predicted the next war? We wound up in an on the ground slugfest. We had to rush P-51′s to the front because F-86′s were useless for the ground support task at hand.
In Vietnam one of the most feared planes was the A-51d. Why? Because it was built like a truck, carried plenty of bang and could loiter longer than the average teenager at the mall. I would think a modern version with a turboprop would be a fine thing to have flying over convoys and such. It would probably be a lot cheaper to operate than a rotary aircraft doing the same job.
History has shown us over the past half-century we keep preparing for a clash of the titans and always seem to wind up in limited engagements.
Yes, we’ll always need a shiny new air superiority fighter. We also need lots of slower uglier stuff for our little jaunts across the globe. We might also want to rethink some of our combat use of UAVs and other unmanned platforms. I think it might not send the right message to people that we care enough to kill, but, not enough to actually send someone to do it.

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Camp February 18, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Are there any reports as to why the F-15 cannot be fixed?
.
Is there any word on what other nations are planning to do with there F-15s, that cannot fly?
.
Just curious…

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Vercingetorix February 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm

A-51s were awesome. Didn’t help the air war, however.

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rix February 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm

If, as the F-22 advocates claim, the F-35 is a piece of junk, why are we buying thousands?

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Vercingetorix February 18, 2008 at 5:10 pm

DA, amen.

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pfcem February 18, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Good god the idiocy!
The F-16 & the F-35 are not front line fighters. They are second line fighters (used MUCH more as “bomb trucks” than as actual fighters). That is what the who high-low mix is all about.
Air forces by their very nature are more expensive than ground forces. Planes & pilots are more expensive to develope, produce, operate & maintain than tanks & infantry.
How the hell did the Europeans beat stealth technology? Don’t guive me that BS about the F-117 that was shot down because the F-117′s stealth was not beaten.
The F-22 is not & was never intended to be a COIN aircraft. What it is is a AIR DOMINANCE fighter. Some potential future threat DO have capable air forces & capable air defences. Without AIR DOMINANCE, COIN is next to impossible!
For much of the last century we have prepared to fight the next war as if it were going to be essentialy the same as the last war. There is NO guarantee that the next war will be against an insurgency (& don’t forget that the reason why the current war in Iraq is an insurgency is because we won the “conventional” war there).
It is not that the F-15′s cant be fixed but that it is not wise to do so. How long will it be before something else is found wrong with the 20+ year old airframes that grounds the ENTIRE F-15 fleet while they try to figure out what is wrong & how/if it can be fixed. You can’t “replace” older airframes with “younger more structurally sound F-15s” because ALL the youngest F-15s are in service – in fact THOSE are the ones with the problems, all the “older” F-15′s have already been taken out of service (many of which have been cannibalize to keep the “newer” ones flying).
No “F-22 fan” has said the F-35 is a POS but the F-35 is no F-22. Just as the F-16 was no F-15.

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smc February 18, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Lot’s of good points here (some questionable spelling though)but we need not only the F22 but the F35 as well. When the F16 was being developed we didn’t have message boards such as this to post on but many of my friends were making similar statements. “I’ts not as good as the F15″, “the F15 costs too much”, “we should upgrade the Phantom or F105″, “we should not buy either and wait for the next best thing”, etc, etc.
The original plan for these aircraft was to present a mix similar to Eagles and Vipers. The F16 was never really supposed to go in the first day of the war and tangle with frontling Soviet fighters. The Eagle was to do this and the F16 was to engage them only in emergency. This is much the same for the Raptor and Lightning II. Have you ever really studied the flight performance of the advanced flanker family? Or even watched a video of what an SU30 can do? A Raptor would have a difficult time handling one of these aircraft within visual range; a Lightning II, F16 and maybe an Eagle would be litter on the ground. We must have enough Raptors to keep the air clear for the JSF, Strike Eagles, Vipers, Hornets and Warthogs to do their job. Have you not paid attention to the volume of Advanced Flanker variants being exported and built under license. Do you not know about the nasty suprise we and the other NATO members got when Vipers, Hornets, etc went against the 1st generation Mig 29 in mock combat (surely you know that these former East German aircraft were able to consistantly turn inside Hornets or Tornado and usually inside Vipers)when we found that if it came to a knife fight they owned us.
The Flanker family now has longer range missiles than we do. They can turn tight enough to stay out of a sidewinders aqusition cone (with the exception of the AIM 9X)and they can just flat out run the JSF, Hornet, Super Hornet and Viper. Not to mention the range advantage they have. If you go to Air Power Australia there is an interesting article citing a study by a retired Russian AF Colonel laying out their plans for beating Aussie or USN Super Hornets, Lightning II and AWACS. It is very interesting and informative to hear how they see it. They have a plan, they believe in it and it sounds like it would work.
We must have more F22 volume if we are to keep our commitments to the Aussies, Japan, Taiwan, etc plus build the JSF.
And while the A51 comments are great what about the A1 Skyraider? That is the beast we should bring back for COIN operations. It can fly on the deck, launch from a carrier, turn on a dime, punish anyone stupid enough to stick their head out of a hole and take punishment better than anything short of the A10. I’m sure it would cost a lot less to build a modern rendition of the Skyraider than a JSF. Just a thought, Steve.

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Nessuno February 18, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Keep the production line open.
People can argue about costs and quantities of front line fighters all day long, but can anyone seriously argue that it is wise to close the production line very soon on a fighter we will be counting on for the next 35 years?
That’s just flat out insane.
The cost of the F-35 is creeping up closer to the F-22 level, and the F-22 is cheaper with each one you buy. If we buy more 22s and fewer 35s we can keep the lines open without materially affecting the 35′s viability. The F-35 is made to be an export fighter, like the F-16. We can pressure countries to buy more to make up for our reductions. And some countries are looking at the Eurofighter and others because they won’t be able to get deliveries of F-35s for a decade. If we reduce our buy, others will get theirs sooner and be more likely to buy.
There are some sane ways out of this predicament, I just don’t see how letting the lines close can even be on the table.

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ELP February 18, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, most of the other airframe types in USAF are getting pretty thrashed.

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CTR1(SW) February 19, 2008 at 1:33 am

I had the opportunity to make the opening comment on this thread, and I have now read all of the following comments. All are interesting. Many focus on mission vs. mission, capability vs. capability (F-22 vs. F-35), or quality vs. quantity.
When I stated, “This country is capable of providing the Af with thousands of these aircraft” I was making a point. I do not want quality vs. quantity. I want QUALITY AND QUANTITY.
Within 10-15 years most of the F-15s will be in the bone yard. Those not there will be overdue.
The F-35 has yet to enter production, and as others have stated, the production “winds” may blow contrary.
My opening comment remains: It is insane to have only 183 frontline fighters to protect this nation and those nations with which we have treaties. I can only conclude that our politicians do not take the defense of our country seriously.
By the way, after a war begins and you have lost half of your fighters, is the wrong time to restart the production line.
I find it interesting, as well as hypocritical, that politicians love to talk about smaller, more efficient, and more professional military forces, while the rest of government grows exponentially.

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Roy Smith February 19, 2008 at 5:17 am

Well,now that Kosovo has declared independence,& nobody has said whether the idea of a “Greater ‘Islamic’ Albania” is a good thing or bad thing,it is now one more log to add to the fire of the Iranian threat,the Hezbollah-Hamas-Syrian threat against Israel,the North Korean threat(who decided to buy fuel for their army equipment,rather than feed their starving people,with the “aid” they received),& China’s threat against Taiwan.All of these “hot spots” have Russia in the mix.Russia is also threatening The Ukraine if they should decide to join NATO.
It would be wise for us to “arm” ourselves with more F-22s AND F-35s,but we need to refurbish our F-15s AND F-16s also.
I’m afraid that we’ll learn soon enough how destructive former Sec.Def.’s Cheney & Rumsfeld were on our armed forces with their reckless downsizing of our military & the retiring,scrapping,sinking,& canceling of very needed weapon systems.Former president Clinton & current president Bush also destroyed our military capabilities with their reckless foreign policies.Actually,I should add Bush,Sr. to this list also.They totally pissed away all of the military advantages that we had under Reagan.
Anybody who strongly feels that it would be economic suicide for both Russia & China to attack us miserably fails to understand that THAT IS THE PLAN.The plan is to tear down the old world order,along with its economies,& replace it all with a “New World Order” with a one world government rising out of the ashes of all the fallen nation-states.
Meanwhile,I’m waiting for the Amero to replace our falling dollar,the Peso(which is worth more than our dollar right now),& the Canadian dollar(ditto).

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James February 19, 2008 at 6:56 am

arent the kosovar buddy buddy with al quiada?
is this another freakin TALIBAN!
of course even funds its army with heroin

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James February 19, 2008 at 7:00 am

The plan is to tear down the old world order,along with its economies,& replace it all with a “New World Order” with a one world government rising out of the ashes of all the fallen nation-states
the UN you mean? stupid fasist UN
dont think we need 380 f22s though maybe its time to refurbish the iowa’s and roll out the thunderwagons muhahahaha

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James February 19, 2008 at 7:08 am

Speaking of which where is this american EMPIRE the ppls keep telling me about and if its a american empire……..WHERE ARE MY HOT SLAVE GIRLS!!!!!!
i feel cheated :(

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CSS February 19, 2008 at 8:04 am

This is crazy, only building 183 F-22s. This is throwing away much of the F-22s development costs. This is going to cost, rather than save, money.
With such limited numbers of F-22s, the Air Force is eventually going to feel the need to develop a version of the F-35 with air-to-air capabilities rivalling the F-22 – which would probably wind up more expensive than an F-22. And if the F-35 is cancelled, then another next generation fighter will have to be designed and produced, and reasonably quickly.

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paul February 19, 2008 at 8:38 am

In my last post I argued against additional f-22′s. I actually think the 250 number is around a good amount, and after that number, keep the lines open by selling to Japan, Australia and possibly Israel. Would that make a good compromise? (seriously asking, not rhetoric.)

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Benjamin Fan February 19, 2008 at 9:30 am

Paul, I like your idea of 250 airframes (although I think we shouldn’t sell abroad, just to keep the tech at home.) 381 is still better though.

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FoxThree February 19, 2008 at 9:45 am

F-22s should never, ever be sold to anyone else other than the United states. Even a 4 star Army general has been quoted as making this his first point in discussing future war.

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AhzeeDahak February 19, 2008 at 11:35 am

I don’t feel competent to discuss the general’s or the DDS’s comments, either regarding whether he should have spoken up, his accuracy, or what the DDS was possibly thinking when he said he thought the F-35 could replace the F-15 in the air-intercept mission.
However, there are a couple of factual errors in the original article. 31 July 2007 LockMart was awarded a $5.049B contract for 60 Raptors. That’s 20 per year in ’08, ’09, and ’10, with final delivery stretching into ’11. Pratt & Whitney got a $1.28B contract simultaneously for engines. The multi-year buy dropped the unit price for the Raptors by $6.85M. For those of you playing along at home, that means the current fly-away unit cost for one Raptor is $105.5M, not $175M. That’s a slight discrepancy.
By comparison, on 27 July 2007 US Naval Air Systems Command awarded a contract for 12 Lot 2 LRIP F-35s, 6 ‘A’ variants, and 6′B’ variants. These are the two least expensive and most common variants currently planned. The contact was for $2.44B, for a unit price of just over $203M, to be completed in 2011.
Low-rate production is expensive, and the $200M and $175M price tags thrown around as belonging to the Raptor date back to it’s LRIP period. The price it’s at now is something else entirely. The current price tag for the Lightning II is equally prohibitive. I’ve no doubt that price will drop like a stone when they’re making 30+ per year. But it is still far too early to make rosy predictions about how cheap the F-35 is. It isn’t even close. It’s just that it’s built and scheduled to be able to be built for far less money.

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irtusk February 19, 2008 at 12:04 pm

> Or even watched a video of what an SU30 can do? A Raptor would have a difficult time handling one of these aircraft within visual range; a Lightning II, F16 and maybe an Eagle would be litter on the ground.
1. an airshow has basically no relationship to aircombat
2. an F-35 will eat 6 flankers for breakfast, burp, and then inquire about dessert

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pfcem February 19, 2008 at 12:51 pm

I have seen the number 250 thrown out a half dozen times now as the “right” number of F-22s..
SOMEBODY, ANYBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THE HELL YOU COME UP WITH THAT AS THE RIGHT NUMBER!!!
The USAF has given the REASONS why it requires 381. NOBODY else have give ANY justification for ANY other number.

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Vitor February 19, 2008 at 1:48 pm

The F-35 is very heavy for its size, its a “chubby” fighter, its not very agile, any recent russian aircraft can pwn it in a dogfight. Ah, ok, I know the F-35 wasnt designed for dogfight.
And about its “stealthness”, the radar cross section of it maybe be stealth enough, but its IR signature with that big single engine doesnt seem to much “stealthy”, and we all know that IR detection is what the russian stuff does better.
Lets not forget its a big software mess, with zillions of code lines, and this means, by the law of probabilities, that it will have tons of bugs to be found, and they will be usually found during the most innapropiate, delicate moments.
Frankly, its an aircraft without any merits, that relies on its low RCS and good radar devired from the F-22.But without those 2 things, its quite a lame duck.

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pfcem February 19, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Vitor get your facts right about the F-35.
While it is no F-22 it will dogfight quite well – F-15, F-16 & F/A-18 pilots will be in for a nasty suprise if they underestimate the F-35 when they start mock dogfights…

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steve February 19, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I can’t see any real reason we would need more than 183 of these birds. The F-35, FA-18 and existing aircraft would be more than sufficient for any scenario. The day of hundreds of planes filling the skies in dogfights are long gone. As for any threat aircraft, does anyone actually beleive any of our opponents would still have working airfields after 72 hours after we go to war? We would shut them down with cruise missiles etc. That would quickly nullify their numbers.
“A-51s were great, but, didn’t help the air war”
Well, duh, what gave it away? Was it the A for Attack?
We’re falling into another Cold War quagmire. Spending billions on “what-ifs” instead of acknowleging the two wars we’re in right now.

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irtusk February 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm

> The F-35 is very heavy for its size, its a “chubby” fighter, its not very agile
you can’t judge agility from looks, aerodynamics have advanced significantly
according to the designers and pilots, it’s at least as agile as an F-16
> but its IR signature with that big single engine doesnt seem to much “stealthy”, and we all know that IR detection is what the russian stuff does better.
1. the F-35 was designed with IR stealth in mind
2. IR has severe limitations
- not nearly the range of radar
- no volume search capability like radar
- can be severely limited by atmospheric phenomena
- ineffective in clouds

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NTV February 19, 2008 at 3:25 pm

> IR has severe limitations
> – not nearly the range of radar
> – no volume search capability like radar
> – can be severely limited by atmospheric phenomena
> – ineffective in clouds
These points seem to be forgotten/disregarded when IR “stealth” is discussed. Its a shame really.

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Mike V February 19, 2008 at 4:49 pm

The F-35 isn’t being rolled-out just yet and with all its delays and propeller problems it doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon. Why would we waste money on this fighter when the next generation of aircraft is being designed and developed now, why hand over more resources to a fighter we aren’t sure will be ready soon? It just doesn’t make any sense.

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Roy Smith February 19, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Mike V,
The next generation of Fighters are ALWAYS being designed & developed.If the automobile industry produced automobiles like our military-industrial complex “plans(& robs us of our tax money)” the building(& canceling) of new aircraft,then we’d be getting around today on horse & buggy.the “design & development” of new aircraft is the biggest scam & con of our time perpetrated on us the tax payers.Talk the “Sting.” How much non-refundable tax money was sunk into the F-35? How much non-refundable tax money has been sunk into the F-22? You can add the Comanche,Crusader,ADATS,DIVAD,the list goes on. We’ll never see any of THAT money ever again.
So everybody willy-nilly saying “cancel this program” or “cancel that one,” I ask you,will we get our money back? Nobody is arguing about whether the F-35 & F-22 works or not.Nobody is saying that either aircraft are “flying Edsel or’Yugos’.” No,they’re saying(after personally pocketing the billions of dollars) that we don’t need them because “there is no ‘viable’ threat.”

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Roy Smith February 19, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Talk about a “sting.” Paul Newman & Robert Redford would be proud of the con job that the military industrial complex is playing on all of us.

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Roy Smith February 19, 2008 at 5:55 pm

It’s not “your” money.

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irtusk February 19, 2008 at 6:01 pm

> why hand over more resources to a fighter we aren’t sure will be ready soon?
so we can hand them over to a fighter that we are even less sure about and is even further away?
lol
> Why would we waste money on this fighter when the next generation of aircraft is being designed and developed now
you mean Boeing’s “6th gen” (harhar) powerpoint concept that is less a real design and more a desperate attempt to sell more superhornets?
and by the time that plane is ready (assuming it ever is), there will be even newer planes on the drawing board, so we might as well wait for them
if you always wait for the next generation, you’ll never have anything
we have needs now, our allies have needs now, we can’t afford to wait for some mythical nextgen plane that won’t even be available for 20 years

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Roy Smith February 19, 2008 at 7:57 pm

irtusk,
Amen & well said!!!!

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Kyle February 19, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Since a few of you can’t imagine a situation in which we might need all these F-22 Raptors, let me give you one. Lets just say that Putin and the current leader of China are once again highly friendly and out of nowhere they make an alliance (they pretty much already have one) and decide to mount a full force offensive against NATO and the US. Now to date I know of many different russian aircraft that could give us some worry, the Su-35 and the Mig 35 respectively. Thats not even touching the Chinese forces…
So with our current force of F18, F15 and F16, you really believe that we could stand them off? Ha I really dont think so. Granted we may not need the 400 or whatever they said but we at least need enough to give us the superiority in the skies that we have kept since WWII…

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irtusk February 19, 2008 at 10:29 pm

> Lets just say that Putin and the current leader of China . . . decide to mount a full force offensive against NATO and the US
even Putin isn’t that MAD
> So with our current force of F18, F15 and F16, you really believe that we could stand them off?
are you forgetting about 1500+ F-35s?

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morpheus February 19, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Russia and China attack NATO? Why does the US need to defend Europe? Why are our soldiers’ butts on the front line? Why doesn’t Europe have their own nukes?
If Russia and China attacks then Europe should nuke them. Russia may nuke Europe back but at least it is not us. The US meanwhile stays out of it and has a missile shield to knock any incoming missiles down. It may be a terrible time for the world but at least the US comes out okay.
If all the friendly countries have nukes, who is going to attack them? And if our enemies have nukes, do you think we would attack them? I don’t think so.
When countries have nukes, the only strategy that works against them is guerilla warfare. Otherwise they will lash out and strike back.
The US only uses conventional war to defend another allied country because we will not use nukes first if our country is not attacked. However, every country that has nukes will use them in self-defense. You can bet on that. Thus why do we need conventional forces to defend our allies? I say give them nukes and bring our boys home.
The biggest threat is no longer conventional warfare. It is asymetrical NBC terrorism. Why would one country conventionally attack another when they can organize and fund a terrorist cell in their enemy’s country and then have that group fight by proxy.
Is that not what the Muslims are doing? What if Iraq and Afghanistan had nukes? Think we would have invaded? I don’t think so. Why do you think the terrorists hide in Pakistan? Why don”t we invade Pakistan? They have nukes.

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irtusk February 19, 2008 at 11:34 pm

> Let ME give you some examples when we’ll need 380 F-22s.
>
> 1) The year is 2030. The F-35 program is a failure
if the F-35 is a failure, another 100 F-22s isn’t going to make a difference
currently the US alone is scheduled to buy 1,763 of them
the F-35 is so critically important (and make no mistake, it is the most critical aircraft program of the next 30 years) that it will not be allowed to fail
1. the design and prototypes are far enough along that we know there aren’t any showstopper problems
2. they think they’ve fixed the engine problem
3. if they can’t fix it (and there’s no reason to think that), there is the alternate engine
4. if that also fails, it only affects the B variant, the A and C are unaffected

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Roy Smith February 19, 2008 at 11:35 pm

irtusk,
“are you forgetting about 1500+ F-35s?”
Those damn 1500+ F-35s don’t exist yet.They haven’t been built yet.Damn,I doubt that the molds have been built yet.Is this what easy credit has reduced us to,counting our chickens BEFORE THEY’RE HATCHED? Maybe 1500+ F-35s exist on a “credit card” somewhere,but they don’t exist in the “REAL WORLD” yet.
morpheus
“Why doesn’t Europe have their own nukes?”
Let me be the first one to tell you that the United Kingdom(alias Great Britain & England,although calling the U.K. “England” is like calling the U.S. “Texas”) & France have nuclear weapons.

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Roy Smith February 19, 2008 at 11:51 pm

I know that I’m comparing apples & oranges here,but it’s the same government in charge of all of them.
A government that can screw up the Comanche helicopter(because it’s too expensive),the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter(it’s commercial off the shelf for God’s sake),the Lakota Helicopter,The LCS project,& the list goes on,can suddenly be trusted to get the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter right? Think of all of the projects already screwed up,the aerial refueler,airlift aircraft,the Air Force CSAR-X,Marine 1,& the JSF will all work out just fine?

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Vitor February 20, 2008 at 12:02 am

I just checked to be sure…the F-35 is chubby indeed. The B and C versions weights more than the larger F-22.

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irtusk February 20, 2008 at 12:04 am

> Those damn 1500+ F-35s don’t exist yet.
neither do your 268 extra raptors
at 20 raptors/year that’s over 13 years away
by which time the F-35 will have swiftly passed it by in terms of quantity

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Cole February 20, 2008 at 12:32 am

This version is more realistic Brian.
1) In 2030 we have 600 F-35A, and an equal number of mixed F-35B/C with 50 USAF and 50 USN/Marine aircraft being cranked out each year. Because we did not have to fund another 9 years of F-22 production, an additional $3 billion a year was able to be spent on F-35 fixes and accelerated production and improvements on the existing 207 F-22s that allowed fielded of 8 squadrons of 20 aircraft plus training/development aircraft. A new unmanned fighter/bomber capable of teaming with both the F-22 and F-35 is on the drawing board nearing production.
2)In 2020 no nuke goes off in Jerusalem because it is sacred to Muslims as well as Jews/Christians. A contemplated nuking of Tel Aviv was thwarted a year earlier when Israel successfully employed its F-35s and other aircraft to preemptively attack Iranian and Syrian nuclear development sites. Both countries attempted hidden nuclear launches against Israel but its advanced SAMs shot them down.
Iranian tanks had attempted to invade Iraq and Kuwait but U.S. land and sea based F-35s along with F-22s/B-2s annihilated them with help from FCS brigade equipment prepositioned in Kuwait and flown into country via C-17. The DoD had wisely opted to use some monies otherwise spent on too many F-22s to purchase another 100 C-17s to lift the FCS forces.
If stupid enough to rain artillery on South Korea, the far more advanced and less hungry democracy crushes the North and its weak air force…while the U.S. rushes FCS brigades and Marines to Korea from bases in Hawaii, Guam, and Alaska.
China threatens Taiwan? The U.S. blockades the Straits preventing supertankers from reaching China while unmanned undersea vehicles tail/threaten all Chinese subs. Numerous U.S. F-22 and F-35 squadrons that are both land and sea based deter air attack and threaten Chinese land and surface-sea power, while U.S. and Taiwan AMD assets preclude missile attack. Marines and FCS brigades rapidly deploy to east and west Taiwan to protect Taiwan military and airbases and cities.
3)Its 2020 and Putin is threatening Europe as you state….but it took him an extra few years since the Russian ground military had deteriorated so badly. Fortunately, our allies now own hundreds of F-35 fighters and any excessive seizure of NATO partner countries is met by annihilation of Russian armor by ALL NATO partners while FCS armor is rushed to Europe to reinforce weak European ground forces.
The F-22 is not the savior of the world. Many diverse capabilities…land, sea, air…all contribute to deterrence, and failing that, allied victory.

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CTR1(SW) February 20, 2008 at 12:49 am

DarthAmerica wrote, “You find and post for me a credible threat between now and 2025 that would require more than 183 Raptor.”
The idea of naming a threat 17 years in advance is beyond crazy.
Gulf I was about 1990. Seventeen years before was 1973! We were still fighting a war on the other side of the planet, in Vietnam! WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED IN 1973 THAT WE WOULD BE IN A WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST 17 YEARS LATER?! Do I need to give the “grocery list” of all the changes in THE WORLD during those 17 years?!
Our military does not employ prophets, but they do employ planners.
DA: I am considering going back through some of the threads on the Iraq conflict to see your comments on our military’s lack of preparedness. I already sence a lack of foresight on your part. The question is whether you are also a hypocrite.

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Cole February 20, 2008 at 1:29 am

Ah Roy. Let’s put this in perspective.
The Army canceled Comanche because it was going to cost $35 billion for 450 stealth aircraft…useful for any/all long wars. No problem, the threat driving the need for those Comanches is largely gone. The Army wisely committed much of that money to upgrading 3000+ Army aircraft instead…useful for any/all long wars across the spectrum of conflict from major theater war to insurgency.
The USAF, instead of 750 F-22s for twice the Comanche-cost $70 billion, got only 183…not 450 or 750 aircraft. They spent twice what the Army decided against spending…and will end up with less than half as many aircraft as the Army would have had. F-22s are great aircraft, but frankly, have limited usefulness against any but the most extreme threats….and certainly no essential use in insurgency or conflict against less than near peers. Plus, if you want nothing but the best at an exponential increase in cost, you must settle for fewer aircraft, ala the B-2 example. If you can afford 3 Corvettes at your income level, you can’t suddenly decide you need 3 Ferraris instead, when 1 fits your budget and provides the required capability to kick booty against any opponents current and future Corvettes.
Having the best means far fewer aircraft suffice against the reduced post Cold War threat. You certainly don’t need as many F-22s as you needed F-15s given the newer aircraft’s far superior capabilities. Fortunately, some stealth R&D is easily transferred to the F-35 which we will produce in larger numbers for land and sea basing applications and sales to allied friends.
The USAF can also do what they originally planned and upgrade 178 F-15 Golden Eagles with AESA radars to increase their capability. After all, the longerons that failed on the Missouri aircraft had only 5000+ hours on what were thought to be 30,000 hour longerons, costing just $500K to fix. They are inspected now, and plenty of good aircraft remain. Problem solved in support of homeland defense against those extremely agile airliners and Bear bombers.;) Real world capability is enhanced given that Northern Edge saw 241:2 kill ratios employing teamed F-22s and F-15s…with the latter NOT having its AESA radars yet.
A compromise 207 F-22 silver bullets are an insurance policy against extremely unlikely scenarios involving near peers. You also have thousands of F-35s split amongst joint-basing venues and friends, that are better able to support more likely wars, and long wars…not just the first two weeks required to take out threat fighters and air defenses.

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Brian February 20, 2008 at 1:32 am

Cole,
I like the F-22. I like the F-35. I like the FCS. I even like the DDX. The only one that is currently in any real stage of production is the F-22. The last price quote I have seen is that a new F-22 tomorrow will run us about $105 million. I think we can afford 380 at those prices. I think those 380 can get a real workout in the future–in multiple combat zones around the world.
I do not have faith that the Congresses of the future will fund the F-35, the FCS, the DDX, or any other program to the extent I would prefer. This is not a case of taking money away from Raptor procurement and putting it into some other system. It is more likely a case of Raptor procurement decreasing, and JSF procurement decreasing right alongside it. I don’t think we’ll ever see the 1500 F-35s.
This is really a case where we should buy Raptors NOW. Its flyaway cost is not that much over the F-35 projected cost. I would push for us to get as many as we can out of the next administration, because you cannot predict the future, and you never know when someone will say “okay, that’s enough” and shut down production. As I see it, we can never have too many Raptors. Purchasing more than we need is a problem that I can deal with. Purchasing too few, so that they become the B2 part II, that is frightening. We have the best fighter in the world, RIGHT NOW. The production lines are open. The cost is dropping. I say we buy.

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Cole February 20, 2008 at 1:44 am

Quick Vercingetorex. Name how many conflicts have occured between the U.S. and Soviets/Russians or Chinese in the past 50 years since both sides got nukes…..tick tick tick, I’m waiting.
During that time, how many more extremist leaders were in charge of the USSR and China…and how much more powerful was the then Soviet Union…yet they never attacked Europe/South Korea/Japan/Taiwan.
Again, the F-22 alone wins none, sero, zip of your extremely unlikely scenarios. A balance of capabilities equally conquers them all.

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Cole February 20, 2008 at 1:57 am

Brian, I doubt we will see or need 1500 F-35s either. The USAF certainly does not need 1760 of its own. No countries air threat will grow that large and unmanned fighters/bombers are the future.
I don’t buy that $105 million cost when fly-away costs most frequently vary between 140 and 160 million with the USAF citing the latter most frequently. When most stealth/radar R&D is completed via the F-22, why would the F-35 have more extreme problems? Will costs for F-35s climb? Yes…in 2020 average and beyond dollars. Do 200 extra F-22s replace even 400 F-35s? No way, given the latters multiple basing options, better air-to-ground capability, range, and lower operating costs.
NTV correctly points out that political and distance constraints hamper a land-based approach to fighter/bomber attacks and air dominance. Multiple basing options complicate threat targeting and enhance our own.

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Vercingetorix February 20, 2008 at 2:37 am

“U.S. and Soviets/Russians or Chinese”
You mean besides Korea, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Grenada? Those are just the big ones.
Um, let’s see, more Pact on NATO violence.
Cole, gee, let’s go ahead and disband the military! Seeing as how there will never be another conventional war ever again.
/Sarcasm
What are you kidding me? We will never nuke another country first. Never. Even if we get hit, we are not nuking another country. It isn’t our policy right now, it isn’t in the country’s spine, at least of our political class. So throw MAD right out the window. Without Massive Retaliation, no MAD. That simple.
Which means we can fight a full conventional war with a conventional army and never go nuclear. We fought the Russians over Korea (their fighter pilots in their MiGs), we fought the Chinese in the Korean snow. And we fought them again in Vietnam, and we’ve clashed with them over and over again in Africa.
You are absolutely right. The Cold War is over. And MAD went with it. Deal with it.

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Vercingetorix February 20, 2008 at 2:41 am

Ask yourself a question: If the US had lost the conventional war in Iraq, suffered tens of thousands dead, would we have nuked Baghdad out of spite?
The answer is ‘No.’ For the same reason we never nuked North Vietnam even though we lost tens of thousands to their continuous infiltration, including their conventional invasions of Tet and the final one.
Get over nukes. Precision guided weapons have replaced them. Get with the times.

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Roy Smith February 20, 2008 at 6:28 am

Oh,since our Kiowas are being severely degraded & run down into the ground,& it doesn't look like the less expensive replacement COTS Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter is anywhere in sight,just how smart was it,& how much "money" did we save by canceling the Comanche anyway? How much money did we save by canceling the Crusader Howitzer? Will our forces ever see the M109A6 Paladin PIM,or is that also a "relic" that can be scrapped?

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Gysselle March 25, 2014 at 10:21 pm

At last! Someone with real exsitrepe gives us the answer. Thanks!

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Cole February 20, 2008 at 8:34 am

Vercingetorex,
I chose 50 years for a reason. The Korean War was long over by 1958. Neither the U.S., Russia, or China (?) had many nukes during the Korean War, and China fought because we got uncomfortably close to their border.
Fighting surrogates or supporting the opposition does not constitute direct fighting. Grenada? Come on.
I am somewhat concerned about Kosovo independence and its long term potential for conflict with Russia. At this point, however, Russia would have little capability to kick us out. During the Cold War, having ground troops in Europe served as a tripwire/deterrent preventing excessive aggression by the USSR. The same applies in Kosovo. Sounds like another one of those pesky insurgencies/standoffs/mid-intensity conflicts that predominate the last 50 years while the sky-is-falling conflicts never materialize….because of MAD.

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Vercingetorix February 20, 2008 at 9:37 am

“Fighting surrogates or supporting the opposition does not constitute direct fighting.”
Why not? Afghanistan and Vietnam would have been over far shorter if they were not continuously resupplied with advanced weaponry. We know that because South Vietnam collapsed when we stoppered our supply chain.
But what doesn’t concern me is the events of the Cold War. MAD is dead. MAD is dead because we will not first strike and if we will not first strike, no one will second strike.
All of these arguments for quantity, Quantity, QUANTITY work precisely against us. We will not have the luxury of time for a build up against even Iran or North Korea. Quantity works for offense. If we will not attack, quantity works against us, because our expeditionary forces are very small. Our near-peers will have hundreds of planes to our dozens, plus integrated air defenses. Then there are the ground or naval forces which must be stopped, before they swallow our air bases or battle groups.
And about surrogates, yes, they are important, because they can start epochal wars, such as the Napoleonic wars, the World Wars, etc. With the death of MAD, why wouldn’t they?
We’re not losing the West Coast over the Senaku islands, nor Taiwan, nor the 1st Marine Division, sad to say. We’re also not sandblasting SouthWest Asia if a dirty bomb or suitcase nuke glasses LA either. Being blase about a future big war puts you squarely in “The End of History” territory; nobody wants to be proven so disastrously wrong.

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steve February 20, 2008 at 10:21 am

This thread gets funnier and funnier. Yes, let’s all throw out our history books and have China and Russia become allies. That is funny. I love how we dream up these doomsday fairytales to justify this kind of spending.
Yes, the F22 is a great Air Superiority fighter. It will keep us at the forefront of airpower for decades. However, we still desperately need new tankers, gunships, and attack aircraft. Nevermind trying to keep things working while fighting in two countries.
As far as keeping the production lines open, one would think in today’s world of CAD/CAM design and manufacture, we could be able to build any parts as needed.
I sometimes find it hard to believe we once armed the world in WW2, but, now it’s all we can do to build a couple of wing’s worth of fighters. I think this is the kind of thing we were warned about the military-industrial complex.

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Roy Smith February 20, 2008 at 11:21 am

Why won’t Russia & China become allies? Why won’t there be an attempt to bring down the economies & independent sovereignties of the “Old World Order” Nation-States? Why will there not be a large scale nuclear holocaust to reduce the world’s human population to a more manageable level of 500 million souls? Why won’t there rise out of this chaos a “New World Order” One World Government,either run by the UN or EU? Why won’t any of this happen? Who’s going to stop it from happening? The UN is only strong if independent nation-states are eliminated.
Oh,the argument that Comanche helicopters weren’t needed anymore because the cold war threat was eliminated can also be made(& in fact is being made) for the LCS,FCS,F-35,F-22,& DDG-1000 Zumwalt.There has also been a lot of cancellations of cheaper/less expensive COTS aircraft,weapons,equipment,& vehicles
Oh,I read that Northrop Grumman is making a scalable Agile Beam Radar for that thorn in the flesh of more stealth aircraft,the F-16.Unfortunately,the article is not clear on whether this is technology just “pulled out of their ass” or has been around for a while & they are just now reporting it.Translation: is this the AN/APG-80 Block 60 F-16 Fire Control Radar,or is it an upgrade to the AN/APG-80?

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Vercingetorix February 20, 2008 at 11:35 am

“I think this is the kind of thing we were warned about the military-industrial complex.”
Next grassy-knoll third shooter conspiracy theorist that says “military-industrial complex”, and the F-22 threads automatically become flame-wars from now on.
Maybe we should build our fighters from wicker baskets, you know, grow them from baby wittle seeds. Get out of the Military-Industrial Complex! Unconstitutional! Ron Paul!
Or maybe the civilian government, the Bridge-to-Nowhere, $5000 toilet seat crowd, maybe they are responsible for extravagance in government contracts. Couldn’t be, could it? Government responsible for government waste? Has to be greedy capitalists in penguin-tails and top hats in cahoots with jackbooted generals, right?
Take off the tinfoil, read “The Forgotten Man” by Amity Shales. Then come back to us. Christ, what morons.

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pfcem February 20, 2008 at 11:36 am

Once agains Cole, you demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge &/or understanding of reality…

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Brian February 20, 2008 at 11:55 am

Steve,
We have a lot better weapons now than we did then.
I am not worried about some foreign country defeating our Air Force in the future. What I am worried about is us stretching our Air Force too thin. It’s expensive to buy airplanes. Everyone can agree on that. It’s only going to get more expensive in the future. I think that buying only 183 will be a decision we regret in 30 years. The more we buy now, the longer the Raptor can stay in service. If we buy 380, it can stay in service until the 2050s. If we buy 183, I think it will have to be replaced long before then. That means building a new aircraft, with new development costs, and a lot more spending than simply buying more F-22s.
If we buy 183 Raptors, and then close down production, we’re counting on the same sort of low-intensity conflict that we’ve seen over the past few decades continue to be the norm. We’re counting on no real combat losses. We’re counting on the next few decades to be pretty much like the last few decades. I think that’s a big risk to take when we can, for relatively little additional spending, provide our Air Force with a much higher degree of “insurance”.
The Raptor has, to a certain degree, become a victim of its own success. As pilots determine just how good the F-22 is, critics have used this as an excuse to claim we need a smaller number. The expectation now is that a Raptor will never be shot down, that having a few Raptors in your Air Force is like having Superman on your side. Some think we only need 183 Raptors because they are so damn good that 183 will be more than enough. While I love the plane, I don’t think they are invincible. We need spares.

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Vercingetorix February 20, 2008 at 1:06 pm

“Its called compromise guy.” It’s called cowardice. If we need more, we need more. If not, then not. Make a point. Which you did…
“Fill us in, sport, on why the USAF thinks 381 is essential???”
This is rather silly. Why do battalions have around 400 soldiers? After all, we rarely ever encounter more than platoon strength in insurgencies…
But it isn’t about the raw number. It is about attrition of the fleet, updating the fleet, having assets in place for rapid response and maintaining a strategic reserve.
Over and again, you miss the importance of having a strategic reserve. Many of the legacy airframes will be phased out.
But, if the possibility of fighting a big conventional war with a peer or near-peer, or even a competent adversary, is out of the question, Cole, then what is the justification for stealth aircraft at all?
Surely stealth aircraft are only used at the beginning of a conflict, and if war is impossible (MAD!!!) anyways, then let’s throw off these stealth albatrosses, let’s retire the F-117s, the B-2s, and go back to Jammer aircraft exclusively.
But I think you will find that ship has already sailed. Stealth is here, we need more F-22s to manage our responsibilities, intelligently.

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Cole February 20, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Roy and DA,
The ARH is the real deal. Just talked to one of its test pilots the other day. Here’s a picture:
http://www.strategypage.com/military_photos/200827231631.aspx
The aircraft the ARH will replace, the OH-58D, performs yeoman’s work every day in Iraq, just as it would in any conflict from insurgency to major theater war. Over this and any other long war, it supports ground troops up close and personal which is often the only way to fight for information.
I like Strategypage, and his observations here about the F-22:
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htlead/articles/20080220.aspx
And don’t forget to read about Chinese weaknesses in his other article:
http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/china/articles/20080220.aspx
Hope everyone followed how helpless this multi-billion person nation became when they lost power during a recent snowstorm leaving millions stranded. You probably recall the internet lines being cut in the Mid East. Wonder how well the Chinese will hack into our computers, and communicate without electricity or the internet?? ;)

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Brian February 20, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Steve, that’s a fine idea. Just be prepared to pay more for each piece of equipment. Sometimes a lot more.
Restarting production means retraining people. Sometimes companies that make individual parts will go out of business, etc. I’m not sure if its really feasible to do it like that.

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NTV February 20, 2008 at 1:40 pm

> So in a highly unlikely worse case if a war
> were to break out in Iran tomorrow and then the
> Taiwan strait the next day. A force of 183
> Raptors would have enough assets to deploy in
> strength both places, suffer attrition and
> still achieve the objectives with enough
> Raptors left for a third scenario!
When you look at a scenario like you pose you have to consider things like distance from operating base, aircraft regen time, aircraft availibility rates, and how many aircraft are in depot. I did a quick run down of the number concerning Tiawan here recently, and in the end the Raptor force would be spread thin dealing with Soley with China. There would be little strategic reserve and thus little ability to deal with other emergencies. Capping the number at 187 while buying more F-35′s makes little sense when the price difference between the two aircraft is 30 – 45 million.

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steve February 20, 2008 at 1:47 pm

I would expect to pay a little more. However, I find it difficult to believe it takes that much training to take someone off the production line of one type of plane to another. A riveter, electrician, what have you should be able to work on another type of craft after bringing them up to speed.
But, I think we can agree, that the way we procure some things now is pretty messed up. When you factor in that a major system like this will be in service for a couple of decades at the very least, perhaps we should include some planning for replacement of units down the road. The only major problems with our current fleet isn’t so much technological, but, the airframes themselves being old and tired. How much better shape would we be in right now if we factored in to replace F15s, 16s, and 18s one for one when they reached a certain number of hours. From where I sit, we”ll be having this same arguement about the F22 in 15 or 20 years when they start getting old and we’re in limbo waiting for the next plane to finish the development/acquisition phase.

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NTV February 20, 2008 at 1:52 pm

> I still haven’t heard much to dispute my
> original points, the chance of a China-Russia-
> US hoedown are remote,
Well, yes it is of course remote. But thats not really the issue. During the cold war we spent a lot of time, money and energy prepairing for the rather remote chance of full scale nuclear war. The reason for this was of course deterence. We made the Soviets undestand that wageing nuclear was was unwinable for them, furthermore nuclear war was a possible outcome of conventional war between the two superpowers. Now, I am not advocating nuclear saber ratteling with respect to China, but what I am saying is that conventional forces are a deterent as well. Thus it makes sense to spend money on high tech weapons to show the world that wageing conventional war against us is a loseing proposition. In the end a strong capable military is as usefull detereing war as it is for winning wars.

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steve February 20, 2008 at 1:57 pm

You misunderstood my intention, I’m not trying to save money, I’m trying to see us not have an entire class of fighter being grounded with no real replacement options I also know it’s foolish to think they could pump out modern combat craft quickly. I still believe there’s got to be a better way to procure such long lived weapon systems than what we do now.

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pfcem February 20, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Still waiting for ANYBODY to explain how they get any number other than the 381 the USAF requires…
By the way, the 381 requirement comes from a September 2002 Air Force study & that the DOD

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steve February 20, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Agreed. It also doesn’t help that our military has to ask for huge numbers just to get anything or how congress has been shoving another engine design down the F35′s throat.
I guess my main point on acquisition, is that with modern aircraft, it seems like we’ll see any particular design for 30 to 40 years. It would just seem logical to prepare for that.

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Vercingetorix February 20, 2008 at 3:04 pm

“I still believe there’s got to be a better way to procure such long lived weapon systems than what we do now.”
Yeah, build more aircraft. You get more parts. Simple.

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Vercingetorix February 20, 2008 at 3:12 pm

“no one has ever posted a credible scenario where the Taiwanese or allies including the USAF/USN lose due to numbers.”
Exactly who are you to judge “credible”?
If you answered anything other than, ‘shucks, no one,’ you are wrong. If the Chinese do anything, they will have taken steps to neutralize our major assets. It could be sinking a carrier, it could be sinking a tanker at the entrance of its harbor, so it cannot get out, or it could be cyber-sabotage, etc.
The point is that nobody cares about your opinion in regards to the legitimacy of the scenarios. If the Chinese somehow want to do it for whatever reason, I am quite sure they can, to hell with your green army men and crayoned-in battle maps, Cmdr Doofy.

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NTV February 20, 2008 at 3:16 pm

DA-
This is what I posted on another thread.
where will the F-22 be flying from in a potential conflict with China? S. Korea? Japan?, Phillipines? We cant count on the ability to fly missions from any of those countries in the region. We might be able to, but we cant be certian. Where does that leave us? Where would the F-22′s fly from? Tiawan? They would be subject to air attacks, so probably not. So then where? Guam, 1800 miles away. A round trip from Guam to the Chinese mainland and back, plus 2 hours on station is a 8 hour mission. This mission does not including penetrating the mainland. Now throw in a 4 hour regen time for the aircraft and a F-22 could make 2 flights a day. In order to keep 4 planes on station the US will need 24 F-22 planes operating with no down time. Keeping 8 planes on station will take 48 total F-22′s. These missions, as I said are only CAP type mission, not interdiction missions, which would take 2-4 more hours each. So, we need more F-22′s to carry out that mission. Keep in mind that Airplanes wont be operating at 100% availibility, maybe 80%. so we need to bring in another 20 0r 30 to cover for that. SO now we have 48 CAP + 50 Strike + 30 backup = 128 F-22′s leaving a grand total of 52 left over. Thats a VERY thin reserve, considering we need to train, a performe depot maintanece, not to mention let other bad guys know that we have F-22′s to smack them if we need to. Now the number I metioned are examples for illustration, and I would bet the PACCOM wants more F-22′s in an event of conflict with China. The point being that the 184 being proposed falls short.

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steve February 20, 2008 at 3:53 pm

“just build more aircraft”
If you build more initial aircraft that won’t help once they get into use and you start logging hours of stress on the airframe. You can’t just throw them into storage either, it’s better for machines to see use as not. Factor in shutting down the assembly line after a few years and you should see the problem I’m trying to address.

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Vercingetorix February 20, 2008 at 4:56 pm

“If you build more initial aircraft that won’t help once they get into use and you start logging hours of stress on the airframe.”
Precisely wrong. More aircraft means more parts.
If one aircraft goes down, you cannabilize the parts off of that to keep the other ones up and running. Having fewer aircraft reduces the total number of parts, reduces the total amount of opportunity.
Just supply and demand. Elementary stuff.

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Roy Smith February 20, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I have to go back to Kosovo.This is a major deal for Russia.They are betting their prestige in backing Serbia over the Kosovo independence debate.They CANNOT,like it or not,allow their dicks to get stepped on over this,it’s a matter of pride.It’s a matter of pride for their weapons industries.Since they know that American technology is superior to theirs & that American forces are probably better,they have to plan a more asymmetric response.Russia,Putin cannot back down from this,no matter what the wags here say.I must quote a line from the movie “Jarhead” to the people saying that Russia & China will not sacrifice their economies in fighting the U.S. & the West in a war,conventional or otherwise.The line is this,”F**k that S**t!!!!”
I believe that you will see the long “predicted” Gog/Magog alliance forming over this U.S. & Western attempt to step on Russia’s dick concerning Kosovo.
From Stratfor.com
“The decision to recognize Kosovo

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NTV February 21, 2008 at 1:27 pm

> gain, look at the threats. We can get by just fine with 187 Raptors.
I have, and I showed a situation where 187 Raptors would be streteched thin.
I agree that the F-35 is important. I also understand the political side here, but in the end there will ~2500 F-35′s built. With the R&D cost spread amongst the whole build. If the AF cuts its buy by 200 it will have minimal effect on the unit cost.
> Just accept the fact that we don’t need as many F-22′s
Sorry, I am not going to “Just accept” something that isnt true.

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Cole February 21, 2008 at 1:57 pm

NTV,
Why can’t the USAF seek a compromise. Ask for 8 squadrons of 18 + 2 floats which would equal 160 aircraft plus the other 47 or so for overhead (same as the 7 squadron overhead figure), they could probably make a good case to Congress and DoD for ONE final year’s build of 24 instead of the current 4.
Nobody would raise an eyebrow concerning the budget pressures of 207 aircraft, and the USAF would be 1 squadron closer to its 10 AEF total…and would have lots of Golden Eagles for Homeland Defense.

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Brian February 21, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Cole, in a compromise situation, you don’t ask for how many you really need. :)
I don’t think the Air Force will end up with 380. But it certainly makes sense to push for as many as possible. If the Air Force asks for 207, people will say “oh, can’t you just make due with 183?” So you ask for 380 to get Congress to fund you up to some in-between point.
The Air Force will take as many Raptors as they can get. They’ll push for the FB-22 as the 2018 bomber to keep parts production going, and they’ll use that to argue that we need to buy more Raptors so that commonality of systems will make the price cheaper on the new bomber. They want as many as they can get — that much is obvious. Will the get 380? Doubtful. But they’ll try every trick in the book to get more. You don’t get more by simply asking for small increases — that makes the need look small. “We only need 24 more” translates to Congress as “please overlook us because we’ve got 95% of what we need”. Saying “we need another 200″ means “the sky is falling unless we get more, please pay attention to this desperate need”. They’ll get more with the latter than they would with the former.

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pfcem February 21, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Cole,
Thats right the USAF requirement for 381 F-22s IS NOT BASED ON ANY WORST CASE PROJECTED THREAT! It is the MINIMUM the USAF requires just to ensure it has JUST ONE fully operational F-22 squadron for each AEF (which is the MINIMUM it requires to do what it is asked to do on a day-to-day basis). At any moment ANY AEF could be on the front lines of a conflict that could break out ANYWHERE at ANYTIME!
And yes the neglect of USAF procurement since the end of the cold war has put it is a position that it NEEDS to replace a lot of aircraft that have rreached (or are quickly reaching) the end of their useful lives or it will be unable to do what it is asked to do on a day-to-day basis much less win a possible major conflict in the future. Unfortunatly the situation only become worse & MORE EXPENSIVE as time goes on.
No, upgraded AESA Golden Eagles coupled with F-35 and other service air dominance capabilities, to include sea and ground air defenses, are NOT sufficient for any foreseeable air and SAM threat!

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Roy Smith February 21, 2008 at 3:05 pm

With world events screaming that we need a bigger & much,much,stronger military(I was in the army in the 80s & I remember what a “strong” military looked like),it seems like we are ALL suffering from Pre-911(& pre-Reagan) syndrome.In a case of “deja vu all over again,” Serbian rioters broke into the,& thank God a vacant,U.S. Embassy & set it on fire.While I guess that means that Serbia won’t be joining the EU anytime soon,please remember that World War I was started on smaller situations than this(although I guess some would question assassinating the Arch Duke & his wife as a “small” incident).While maybe our Armed Forces doesn’t need to be increased to Cold War levels,the total size of our military during Desert Storm(including stateside,European,& Asian levels),before Cheney took a knife to it & Clinton slaughtered it,would be nice. For those who say we just cannot afford a military build up,BUT we CAN afford our government printing up money for their ridiculous social programs then,huh? Oh my God,when the cost of more F-22s cuts into welfare & socialized medicine,then you know what gets cut.
Well,its back to more bread & circuses.Baseball’s starting up soon,& its such a shame that they can’t find a way for football to last longer huh(Arena Football just doesn’t do it for me)?

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Roy Smith February 21, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Oh,I completely forgot about Kurdistan declaring independence & claiming Kirkuk,which should totally drive Turkey over to the dark side.Well,I guess Turkey won’t be getting any F-35 JSFs then,huh? But that also means that we’ll lose our bases in Turkey AND Turkish airspace. It also means that Turkey controls the entering into & exiting from the Black Sea.If the Ukraine & Moldova joins Turkey,Russia,& Iran on the darkside,then that leaves Romania & Bulgaria on our side.But I think that they also have separatist problems & Kosovo doesn’t help them any at all.
These are ALL very real world situations that should influence our military re-build up.More F-22s,F-35s,FCS,LCS,this list goes on & on.We need more troops.If we want to cut unemployment & reduce the welfare roles,we can enlist the “unemployed” into the military.This will also solve the “‘socialized’ medicine” problem.We need a stronger Air & Army National Guard,Coast Guard,& Border Patrol to protect our southern states & borders from the very real threat from “Aztlan” separatists.Those are the real “terrorists” infiltrating our borders from Mexico.
Off-topic,if the Serbs had been busy making more babies & not letting the Albanians out-breed them in Kosovo,there wouldn’t be a Kosovo problem today.

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steve February 21, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Vercingetorix: You obviously haven’t been paying attention. We tend to keep planes in the inventory far far longer than planned. In case you missed reading the front page recently I’ll speak slowly. We have F15s falling out of the sky because of metal fatigue in the AIRFRAME, you don’t scavenge an airframe. At that point you usually are better off with a new aircraft. Also, where would you scavenge from? After a point you would have nothing left in the inventory that hasn’t been bolted together like Frankenstein’s monster.
You also have to factor in the high use of composite materials that we simply haven’t had fielded long enough to know the effects of time,sun, stress, etc. We simply don’t know how these planes will age, but, we do know they’ll be in service for decades. To suggest that by just simply pumping out more during the initial production does not address these issues. That’s why I’m suggesting it might not be such a bad idea to plan on having to make more than one production run on an aircraft series.
I love a good debate, but, you need to apply more logic to your arguements.
Have a nice day

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NTV February 21, 2008 at 5:07 pm

The scenario is hardly a strawman. I understand that there are other US assets that will be used. I have never said otherwise. Since this article was about the Raptor, I chose to look at the problems caused by a limited number of them. That in no way indicates that I think the Raptor is the sole weapon the US would bring to bear.
> Do you realise the differences in BVR
> capabilities between an F-15C or F/A-18E and
> potential threats?
Yes, these fighters are good, but its not hard to see that China can find ways to neutralize their capabilities, Not totally, but to at least decrease the US’s advantages.
> it’s inconcievable that we would lose an air battle to anyone.
” Inconceivable!
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. ”
But again its not about the US “losing” the air battle. Its about China achieving its goal(s), which couldhappen even if they win the air battle.
> To get an idea look at how the Iraqis or Serbs > did against AMRAAM armed coalition combat jets
Again, I understand the advantage in technology the US has, but the PLAAF is more advanced than the Serbs or Iraqis, not to mention more numerous, add to that the US will be restricted due to the distances involved.
> Before the Eagles, Raptors or Super Hornets
> even move in, hundreds or even thousands of
> cruise missiles and other PGMs will smash
> opponents in their HAS or out on the tarmac.
Gee, Ya suppose China might be prepared for this?? They might have thies IADS up and running and maybe shoot at some of those CM’s and bombers. Besides the only aircraft that will be penetrating CHina’s Airspace will be LO. ANd some of them are going to be Raptors. Its not like we will have a whole lot of other options for the next 8 – 10 years, although we should have a fair number of F-35′s by then. Also I suppose China might put some of their airplanes in civilian airports thus lessoning the impact of CM’s.
> Factor in these things and your logic changes dramatically.
Not really, China has the ability to neutralize and/or reduce some of our advantages.
> the USN just told the PLA 2nd Artillery very
> loudly that it has the means to defend our regional bases.
Again, the same problem applies here as with TLAM’s. After we have fired all of our ABM missiles the ships need to head back to Paerl or Guam to resupply. How long will that take them. When we fire off our hundreds or thousands of TLAM’s how long will it take for the NAvy to get back to Guam and or Pearl and load? Besides if we are fighting China its likely that the Navy is going to want most of the VLS tubes to be filled with SAM’s not TLAM’s.
> But to be accurate you have to sample all of
> the data. That include the DoD and allied
> forces in their entirety. Not just F-22 vs
> whatever because thats not how it works in reality.
Uhh, I am aware of reality, AGAIN, I fully understand the full forces that the US can use, I was originally illustraing the limitations brought on due to a limited number of Raptors.
> Our F-22 pilots would be just as bored as our F-15 and F-14 pilots after the first week or so.
Do you suppose maybe that China might get the first punch in? Whether they gain complete strategic suprise or not, its likely that we will have to spend time getting forces into position, and as such their numeric advantages will be even greater, and our command and control will not be at its full effectiveness. In the aerky part of the war we will be playing catch up, and And if CHina plays their crads right the F-15 and F-14 piolts will be bored because China has already acheived its objectives. OTOH maybe they wont be able to. But IMO your bravado here is based on the enemy being very stupid. Which aint the case.
> This is why the most dangerous opponents we face wear towels and flip flops.
before Towels and flip flops, there was a low tech, large army that outfoxed and an arrogent and overconfident MacArthur. I belive that he thought it was inconcievable for that army to attack and beat his strong advanced army.

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NTV February 21, 2008 at 5:13 pm

> But if you want more airframes, build more
> planes. Once you stop building aircraft, you
> don’t get any more.
Yep, This leads to somethingthat hasnt been talked about, or I suppose I could have missed it.
If you buy fewer airframes, they will be flown more often,and thus they will need more repair and need to be replaced sooner. So while it might appear to be a good idea to rotate planes so that fewer planes can be used to do the same work as more planes, in the end you have more wear and tear on the airframes and quicker retirement due to overuse.

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steve February 21, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Bonghits? I’d call you reactions knee-jerk, but, I think it would be more effecient to leave the knee part out.
No I haven’t maintained aircraft, but, I know people who’ve had to refurbish them. I also have worked on enough elderly crap to know when it needs replacement as opposed to repair.
Refurbishment is always more expensive than manufacture. I’m so sorry for trying to see further down the road than 10 to 15 years.
BTW, Ollie Stone is a wacko who has done a great disservice to the truth about many subjects (actually, I’ve refused to even watch JFK, it was Lee Harvey Oswald, alone, in a book depository, deal with it). I don’t think having concerns about a handful of big businesses having so much to do with our decision making is all that crazy. I think it’s far crazier to assume they have our best defense interests at heart as opposed to their profit margin and cementing their future as a supplier.

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NTV February 21, 2008 at 6:17 pm

> You keep saying China has ways to neutralize our advantages without providing a shred of support for that suggestion.
Well You also falsely assert that only LO aircraft
> would penetrate into PRC airspace.
Well then strap on the F-18 sport. And let us know where to send the death benefit. Non-LO planes will penetrate, but they will pay a high price, espically early on. (On that note, will a high US death toll be an issue for the US? That might be tactic China uses. maybe make the fight to bloody for America, Like you say outfox your opponent.
> Setting aside that falsehood, so what? Why is
> it in the USA interest to fly over PRC proper?
Uhh, I dont know, Maybe because it make sense to attack the enemies Command and Control, logistics, airfields and what not. Hasnt such stratagey been part of US doctrine forover 70 years? Didnt you say that the us would hit China’s airfields with hunderds and thousnds of PGM’s and CM’s. Unless all those are CM’s, penetrating the PRC’s mainland is pretty much in the US’s intrest. And by the way, you seem to ignore the logistical issues that I have raised concerining large numbers of cruise missiles.
> The primary task will be stopping a landing attempt or blockade of Taiwan.
Uhh yeah, I know that. But one way of winning that battle is interdiction.
Whats funny is you accuse me of not provideing evidence of my claim, but then you have a almost a whole paragraph telling what would happen to Chinas forces, and not a shred of evidence to back it up.
> Moreover, you are failing to accurately
> access the amount of air assets they could mass
> for this. It’s 600-1000 fighters and bombers
> at most. Most of those are primitive. More than
> 2/3rds.
More than 2/3 are primative???
According to GlobalSecurity in the 2015 time frame the PLAAF will have the following mix of fighters abd attack aircraft.
200 JH-7
400 SU-30MKK
50 – 100 J-12
300 J-11
100 J-10
200 J-9
While those of course will be hard pressed to match and exceed the US planes they are hardly primative.
Besides thoose, they have another 1000 primative J-7 and J-8′s.
And yes they will suffer loses, and they have bad command and control, but they most likely will accept those losses.
I have to run now, and maybe I will come back to this.

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Vercingetorix February 21, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Steve, not trying to be a jerk. But it is exhausting to continuously state the obvious. There is no third way. What you want can be accomplished for less money by buying more planes. Keeping factories tooled and warm for refurbishment costs more money, decreases the aircraft available which increases their wear, and serves no purpose. Just bite the $20 billion now to double the fleet instead of spending $40 billion over thirty years for an insurance policy.
And the cost of these airplanes is a function of capability (of course they cost more than F-15s, just as F-15s cost more than Phantoms and Starfighters) and also bureaucracy. The government extended the buy for almost twenty years. Did you think that would bring the price down?
In the link I provided before, Ike goes on about the military industrial complex that you are so in love with as a boogie man. I don’t think you really have a firm grasp of what exactly he is talking about. Read it. Think about it. Get back to me.

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steve February 21, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Whatever the numbers end up being, it will be the stuff of nightmares that a couple of squadrons of these things could be lurking in your airspace without you really knowing it. The best clue would probably be the blackhole where your planes keep disappearing.Then there’ll be that nagging problem of all those other types of planes you do know are flying around.

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steve February 21, 2008 at 7:22 pm

I would never refer to it as a boogeyman or as some deep-seated conspiracy type of thing. It’s just I think it’s just as bad as any other big business or interest group that gets in bed with our legislative branch(and sometimes the military). It creates an unhealthy relationship at times and sometimes clouds our spending habits.
That being said, I still insist I never thought it would be cheap, I want us prepared. The tech edge we maintain means these types of systems take long times to develop and actually field. Today’s manufacturing techniques are more due to CAM machinery as opposed to specialized tooling.
I don’t think it would unreasonable in acquiring a system like this to basically plan on replacing X% after a decade or so. We always run into this problem, by the time we realise we need a replacement, then design, build and field it. We will have some very old(in air hours) planes indeed.

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NTV February 21, 2008 at 8:55 pm

> You keep saying China has ways to neutralize
> our advantages without providing a shred of
> support for that suggestion.
What I meant to respond here was this.
I expect China to keep the couter measuers secret and not tell me. But it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that they are working on them. Our weapons systems are not invincible, they are good, but weaknesses exist.
> Also, the ABM force will buy time for offensive measures to finish off what they start.
But what happens when the when China gets thier missile attacks in before our Ageis ships in place, yes Taiwan has has Patriots, but they can be overwhelmed.
Also, remeber China’s sub that got within torpedo range of The Kittyhawk. Are you sure that they cant do that again? I would suspect that China might have a few subs sitting quiet, waiting for US ships to sail to the rescue. They wont get them all, but they miht get enough to weaken our response, and what would 2-3 ships on the bottom do for Homefront support for the war? Two tings here, The lose ships will force the Navy into a more cautious operating pattern, and reduce the support that they provide, and if China is able to get the US public to be against the war then they will only have to worry about Taiwan.
China doesnt have to defeat our military, they just need to achive their goal(s).
> That 600 to 1000 fighter force of their would be savaged.
Maybe, Maybe not. They can attack from 180 degrees on the compass, and since they are so close and many of our forces will have limited time on station, they have the ability to time their attacks when our forces are at their weakest. Yes they may suffer great loses, but they may very well be prepared to handle thoose loses. They have done it before.
> advanced SAMs Taiwan and the USN send up will also take a huge toll.
China has some SAM’s as well, and the S-300 and S-400 sites based on the mainland cover the entire Taiwan Strait. While obviuosly the US would spen a lot of effort to defeat the SAM’s, there is no gaurantee that they would be destoyed. Thus most US planes would be unable to operate in the range of the SAM’s, although Raptors would be in good shape.
> They aren’t as capable as people make them out to be NTV.
Maybe, but they sure arent aas dumb as you think they are, And the US has a number of issues that you continue to ignore. But no good commander underestimates his foe.
> How many aircraft of theirs do you think can fire active radar homing weapons?
Few, if any, This is something that I have not disputed, but it would be foolhardy to think China wont do something to try and minimize our advantage in this area. Thier efforts may or may not be successful, but its ignorant to assume that China wont have anything up their sleeve.
Their C2 is of course limited, but thats how they roll. They will be at a disadvantage here, but I would bet their tactics take this into account.
> assuming we make no further advances and deploy
> no new fighters they still would need decades
> to make this feasible
Thats the issue here, I am talking about a scenario 10 years from now. In those 10 years their military will grow rapidly, probably moreso than in the last 10 years.
As Vercingetorix says, you need to learn to have more respect for your advisary.

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CTR1(SW) February 21, 2008 at 10:54 pm

DA:
I have read your response (February 20, 2008 08:02 AM) to my post and wish to thank you for making my point.
You indicated that

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pfcem February 22, 2008 at 1:18 am

Steve, the USAF needs 381 F-22 just to ensure ONE squadron lurking in your airspace…
THAT is the whole point behind the requirement for a MINIMUM of 381!
Otherwise ALL the F-22s could be already assigned to lurking in sombeody else’s airspace or not fully operational due to training, attrition, maintenance, et cetera…

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Brian February 22, 2008 at 11:58 am

DA,
I am not worried about China today. I AM worried about China’s capabilities in 2035. My worry is that the F-22 is going to be the spearhead of any US air operation for the next 40 to 50 years. There are currently no plans for a replacement for the F-22. There aren’t even plans to create any plans for the replacement for the F-22. This aircraft may end up with a service life to rival that of the B-52. We’re facing an enemy with a growing economy, with a large population, that has shown a large interest in upgrading its own military capabilities.
If we cease production on the Raptor, it will not restart. I would rather invest in the Raptor today (we already have a substantial investment–I’d like to take advantage of that by buying more) than be forced to spend much more in the future to counter a growing Chinese threat.

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Vercingetorix February 22, 2008 at 12:06 pm

DA, your ignorance is startling. Consider the number of armored divisions that we currently field, which is way and above more than what we would field against any third-world army that we might fight, such as Iran, Venezvuela, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc, in the next twenty years.
Our armored divisions are just about invincible (!!!) according to how you’d define them. So why couldn’t we get by with half the armored divisions? Why couldn’t we retire a 1000 tanks?
Because we need a strategic reserve and we need to cycle those units, we need them to guard hotspots and deploy on exercises, etc.
Your insistence on invincibility of the F-22 is risible. It isn’t. Nothing is. Saying so makes you a titanic fool. Disdaining the force structure of the Air Force makes your arguments risible.

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Cole February 22, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Man, way too many negative attacks on this thread that tend to destroy credibility of otherwise outstanding posters with differing opionions.
Please stop.
NTV, while the Chinese theoretically could launch a surprise attack with something up their sleeve, even if they have initial successes, if we stop the shipment of oil to China, how long does a country with 1.3 billion continue to fight and survive daily life?
Add our own mobilization and deployments and China could not stay on Taiwan for long. Of course, this may be academic with Taiwan elections in March. Hong Kong seems to have survived under Chinese rule, and Taiwan would as well…through peaceful elections.
Can’t picture fighting China in any scenario other than saving Taiwan. Can you, and why? Please no obscure references to wanting to dominate the Pacific. What specific event would cause war with China if the Taiwan issue disappears? I can envision many more reasons for war between China and Russia that would not involve us….their best trading partner.
Even with the worst case China air threat, with our F-35 fleet soon to be growing annually, it’s hard to picture anyone threatening us in the air for the indefinite future.
The USAF has to learn to compromise like every other service.

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NTV February 22, 2008 at 2:48 pm

> if we stop the shipment of oil to China, how
> long does a country with 1.3 billion continue
> to fight and survive daily life?
The question is, do we have theability to stop the oil? Maybe we could, or maybe we couldnt. China is building its navy so that the oil makes it through. AT this point it is anyones guess as to how this would shake out in 10 years.
> Can’t picture fighting China in any scenario
> other than saving Taiwan. Can you, and why?
Thats the thing with war,it often pops up where you least expect it. On February 22, 1998 did you think that in 10 years the US would be engaged in 2 COIN operations, and that those operation had been going on for % and 4 years?
The fact is China is a growing power, politically, militarilly, and economically. As China grows their influence and thirst for resources both natural, and human, will cause conflict with our intrests. When, and where, and IF this conflict erupts into war is up in the air right now. Hopefully, we can work together and avoid armed conflict, but that may not happen.
As I have said before, Conventional military forces are a deterent, and if China looks at out Air Order of Battle, along with our naval forces and sees a weakness, then they will exploit it. In that same vein, we will exploit their weaknesses.
> What specific event would cause war with China if the Taiwan issue disappears?
Sorry to disapoint you, but there is no way to point to a specific event and say that a certian action will result. There are reasons for conflict, how the events paly out, is a unknown at this time.
> The USAF has to learn to compromise like every other service.
I would suggest to you that the USAF has compromised like evey other service in the past, they do now, and they will in the future. If they didnt there would be more than 20 B-2′s, The F-22 buy would be 600, they wouldnt be tied to the F-35 with the Navy and Marines, We would already have a new Tanker, etc, etc.

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Vercingetorix February 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm

“This is why I asked why getting airsuperiority [sic] over PRC proper would even be necessary. If you look at the situation, it isn’t.”
Really? Air superiority isn’t necessary? Are you sure you want to go with that answer, chief?
Granted, total air superiority over ALL China is not necessary, but we had better have it over Taiwan, and unless we want to supply 1000 Patriot batteries to Taiwan, we ought to have it over the Chinese coast.
It is those mind-blowing statements (F-22 came from planet Krypton, and due to our yellow sun, is superfantastic; air superiority is, eh, good, I guess, but I’d rather have a sammich), DA, that make polite conversation with you so difficult.

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pfcem February 22, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Cole, 381 F-22 already IS a compromise. Actually, not it isn’t it is the MINIMUM of that they need to do their job, a compromise would be something MORE than 381. The USAF has stated that it would PREFER to have 1.5 F-22 squardons per AEF (which would require 500+ total) but knows that isn’t going to happen.
The USAF is not out of whack with the budget, the budget is out of whack with what the USAF (as well as the rest of the US armed forces) is asked to do.

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pfcem February 22, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Where did I say that one squadron deployed and one on call is much of a deterrent to China?
China is not the only place in the world the USAF is expected to maintain total air dominance. Hell the requirement for 381 F-22s is NOT based on deterring China. It is based on the fact that at any given moment at any give hotspot around the world the USAF is EXPECTED to provide total air dominance & with the current structure of the USAF is set up with 10 AEFs which are rotated around to provide “constant coverage” when ever/where ever it may be needed. It doesn’t matter how many F-22s you have if the AEF closest to the fight doesn’t have any…

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Cole February 22, 2008 at 8:46 pm

pfcem, perhaps you can clarify. I’m still not sure how 2 AEFs deploy or on call to multiple theaters. That suggests to me that someone chooses where they will visit:
http://usmilitary.about.com/od/airforce/a/afaef.htm
This last quote from the second page of the link above illustrates what I’ve been arguing all along. Once you surge F-22 squadrons with multiple AEFs, you can handle the worst case Chinese threat…especially when considering the other fighters in the AEFs, the permanently based squadrons in the Pacific, and the permanently based carriers in the Pacific.
“An AEF will be able to deploy in 48 hours

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Roy Smith February 22, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I may have misunderstood anything said about Indonesia,but I do know that their armed forces is so disorganized,that they are not a threat at all to Australia,which has a population a fraction the size as Indonesia.
Anyway,we’re 1 short a B-2 Stealth Bomber today,since one of the very few we have crashed in Guam today.Maybe,just maybe,it wasn’t hurt enough that they can rebuild it,if we have the technology & industrial capability to do it.If however,it’s reduced to powder,then never mind.
Anyway,Russia is threatening an armed response to the Kosovo argument.While they have their balls handed back to them if they do attack(who though,who?) militarily,the threat should still be taken seriously.We’re aren’t talking “scripted” sneak attacks like they do on WWE wrestling or in Hollywood movies,where we all start singing patriot songs,go on war bond drives,& “MIRACULOUSLY” gear up our industries to pull ourselves out of the “jaws of defeat” & drive the foes back(even though it DOES work in the movies AND for WWE Wrestling).
Kosovo,it’s south of what’s left of Serbia,north of Albania.It’s in Europe.It’s a small insignificant place in the world that can play its part in plunging us into World War III just like in Israel,the middle East(like around Basra),the Korean Peninsula,& Taiwan.
What are we supposed to do if the shit hits the fan in all of these hot spots all at once,at the same time? IT CAN HAPPEN. Don’t forget the massive terrorist attacks happening all over the “free world” with weapons of mass destruction occuring also at the same time.

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pfcem February 23, 2008 at 1:28 am

Cole, I NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT DETERRING CHINA!
In fact I said the USAF requirement for 381 has NOTHING TO DO WITH DETERRING CHINA. The only relevance China has to the 381 requirent is that it is ONE of the several hot-spots around the world where the USAF may be expected to obtain & maintain total air dominance. OBVIOUSLY with the size of China’s air force & SAM network more than 1 AEF would be required to do that.
From the link you posted…
“In plain language, the Air Force has taken their combat wings (Active Duty, Reserves, and National Guard), and assigned them to one of ten AEFs. For example, AEF #1 might be composed of F-15 or F-16 flying squadrons and maintenance/support squadrons from multiple bases throughout the United States (both active and reserve). When it’s time for that AEF to deploy, personnel from all of these different squadrons, located at different bases, will all deploy as one large organization. Everyone knows in advance when their particular AEF deployment “window” is, based on what AEF their Wing (base) has been assigned to be part of. If a deployment is required within that window, they know that the AEF they are assigned to are going to be the ones that go. This eliminates much of the “no-notice” deployments of the past.”
It could hardly have been stated more clearly, the 10 AEF are on a rotating cycle. The idea is for all AEF to be as close to equal as possible with requard to overall capabilities so that it does not matter which AEF up “up” on the schedule when called on to deploy (whether that be part of “normal peacetime” deployments or a sudden “emergency”).
The last quote from the second page of the link ALSO illustrates what I’ve been arguing all along. An AEF is able to deploy in 48 hours with ADDITIONAL AEF able to deploy in 15 days. So if the AEF “up” on the schedule is one of those without F-22s (or whose F-22 squadron is down for whatever reason), you won’t have ANY F-22s in theater for ~2 weeks until ANOTHER AEF arrives.
Again, the requirement for 381 F-22 is based on the need for AT LEAST 1 squadron of F-22 for each AEF & NOTHING to do with the number of F-22 required for any ONE specific campaign.

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Vercingetorix February 23, 2008 at 10:45 am

DA,
You’re just wrong, chief. Of course, air superiority over China is necessary. Deal with it.

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pfcem February 24, 2008 at 12:15 am

Cole,
The rotation is for 10 AEF & the requirement for 10 squadrons of F-22 is so than each AEF has one F-22 squadron. Like I said, if the AEF that is “up” on the schedule then you have NO F-22 as part of the AEF for two weeks.
The USAF originally wanted 750 F-22, 381 is the MINIMUM they require do to what they are asked to do on a day-to-day basis – they would LIKE to have at least 1.5 suardons per AEF.
The USAF has already been cut to the bone & you just want to make it smaller & work each airframe/squadron even harder.

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NTV February 25, 2008 at 11:07 am

DA
Yes, the US Navy is a mighty force, but China understands that a will plan accordingly. Will the US Navy be able to cut the amount of oil imported? Yes, Will that be able to cut imports enough? Thats a little harder to determine. China is improving their Navy so as to better control their SLOC’s ANd here again time and distance are our enemies. How long will it take the US to get enough naval forces to the region th implament a blockade? Further what international pressure will we face for sinking unarmed merchant ships?
Lastly, what about the new oil pipelins into China, and also one that may be built from Russia. The US Navy will have a hard time getting at those.

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pfcem February 25, 2008 at 8:06 pm

DarthAmerica, are you (like Cole) completely unable to see reality?
Between the USAF & the ANG we currently have over 500 F-15A-D (~440 + ~125 respectively). ALL of which are currently past their originally intended 4,000 flight hour life & MANY are quickly (more quickly than originally forcast) reaching 8,000 flight hour (IIRC estimates put most of the fleet over 8,000 around 2010). By some wet dream some HOPE we can keep 178 of them flying until they are/were ALL replaced by F-22 ~2025 by SOMEHOW extentending their life to 12,000 flight hours.
The 178 “Golden Eagles” are/were intended to extend the life of the F-15 (in order to maintain the required force numbers) until they could be COMPLETELY replaced by 381 F-22!
Without 381 F-22 you not only need to somehow keep F-15′s flying longer (not just a little longer but 4 TIMES longer than they were built to & TWICE as long as most are even now intended to) but MORE of them flying.
In reality there are only 2 options. Either get 381 F-22 by ~2025 (@ 20/year we would get them ~2022) or start designing the NEXT GERERATION air superiority fighter (which will undoubtably be even more expensive than the F-22) NOW in the hope that it will be ready for full scale production by ~2025.
Who knows how long it will be until the ENTIRE F-15A-D fleet is grouned again, how many will then NEVER return to service & how expensive the “fix” (which will undoubtably be temparary until the NEXT problem to ground the fleet yet AGAIN) will be…

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Cole February 26, 2008 at 9:32 pm

pfcem utters his normal refrain: DarthAmerica, are you (like Cole) completely unable to see reality?
1960 Price Reality:
House: $16,500
Car: $2,600
Gallon of gas: 31 cents
Gallon of milk: 49 cents
F-4 Phantom: $2 million
Multiply all of the above by a factor of 10 for today’s median prices means we should be able to pick up a new fighter for about $20 million, correct there little buddy.
Apparently not.
Now lets look at other trends:
1380 B-47
744 B-52
100 B-1
21, oh wait, 20 B-2
Do you see a clear trend? Are we heading for negative balances in Air Force aircraft procurement?
Or could it be that in actuality, 20 B-2 are more than sufficient for the threat as are 200 or so F-22s?
Get with it dude. The USAF can’t have its quality cake and large numbers too. Choosing outlandish pricepoints obligates you to live with fewer numbers. Otherwise the exponential budget bite starts to eat into other services.
I might add that many F-15Cs can easily last until 2025 and 12,000 hoursy then we will have ample F-22s and F-35…all that’s required for the threat.
You can continue to question other’s concept of reality or you and the USAF can do a little self-examination.

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D August 12, 2008 at 2:15 pm

I think that the 381 number(For F22) is the correct number. 381 is a min.# The Navy also must order some next generation Super Hornets while decommissioning old legacy Hornets. The new Super Hornets will fill the void until JSF starts being delivered in numbers.

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