Skip to comments.F-22 Necessary For Continued Dominance
Posted on 12/06/2009 2:26:22 PM PST by myknowledge
This column is the third in this series on the best fighter ever put in service by any country at any time in history, the F-22 Raptor.
To briefly summarize the first two columns: The F-22 Raptor is the most superior fighter in the world. Its key feature is its stealth quality, which allows it to run undetected by enemy radar. Its primary purpose is to gain control of the sky above a battlefield and hold it. It can opportunistically attack ground targets, although that mission is the main role of the currently planned multi-service, multi-purpose stealth F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). When the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 JSF are joined by the stealth B-2, they constitute a Stealth Triad that may very well be the answer to the continued extension of American airpower in world military dominance. We’re No. 1 and should want to remain so.
I’m bothered that the numbers issue of the Raptor at 186 maximum is not front-and-center in our military and budget debate. Because our national security and world primacy militarily are involved, it should be. This is more than an incidental matter, considering what is at stake. It is, in fact, a significantly critical issue.
In my last column, I wrote that a resurging, revanchist Russia, possibly joined by China, would simultaneously open up major battles for us in two theaters. China is a good prospect for conflict with us. They want the island nation of Taiwan, which we are committed to defend. To expand on this here, we aren’t ready to take on the two relative behemoths operating in concert and will not be until the planned stealth F-35 JSF is in operation in sufficient numbers.
One opinion is that the F-22 is doomed to failure because it needs forward air bases in order to operate. According to this thinking, medium range missiles would destroy these forward bases, probably fact also, to a point. We would be firing back with our B-2 long range missiles and the stealth F-35 JSF, once in service, and would be obliterating enemy firing sites through air to ground attacks. Additionally, Air Force theory holds that aerial bombing has its highest value in roughly the first two weeks of battle. That bombing softens the enemy militarily and its resolve, especially when it can’t find the stealth B-2 to shoot it. It’s demoralizing to the enemy. The B-2 would be put in play immediately to ferociously bomb missile firing locations.
Because the B-2 is the long-range strategic arm of the Stealth Triad, it needs no forward bases. It does its bombing runs and then returns home to Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. On schedule, the two pilots are home for dinner. Since there are 20 of this aircraft, we can repeat this process again and again. Indeed, the onslaught by these bombers can be continuous. Imagine the combinations possible here. For example, two can attack simultaneously, with another two replacing them when the first two depart for home and so on to whatever combination the command may decide. In this way, there is no rest for the enemy, just dismay.
While all of this is going on, the F-22 can help its own cause by attacking ground missile firing targets. It then has to climb high to refuel and then on to destroy enemy defensive fighters, assuring dominance of the sky above the battlefield. Additionally, the F-22 Raptors will have to provide protective cover not only for KC-135 Sratotankers – refueling Tankers – but also the long line of aircraft needing gas.
In the Stealth Triad, the first two aircraft over the battlefield are the F-22 and the B-2, in that order, with the former to grab air control and the latter to devastate key enemy targets, airfields, anti-aircraft batteries and ground forces at the outset of the battle. Then, the B-2 moves to bombing military production plants, factories in general – in China, toy factories – oil production facilities and depots and even civilian infrastructure but not civilians themselves. The F-22 Raptor and the B-2 Spirit are then joined by the F-35 JSF in a total clean up of anything militarily lethal or economically valuable on the ground – call them secondary targets for destruction.
Against Russia and China, I don’t see us winning by introducing our own ground forces, which would be vastly outnumbered at that, especially by Chinese forces. In fact, in Korea, the Chinese conducted battle with stealth ground forces. We couldn’t find them, although we knew they were there, even with air spotters searching for them. As soon as they attacked, we hit them hard from the air and with artillery, but did so without the advantage of any planning. I wouldn’t advise placing American ground forces on Chinese soil. Moreover, combat among somewhat sophisticated nations technologically and militarily is not measured in victory by ground conquered, but rather damage inflicted. In this regard, the American homeland must be fully defended, thus necessitating the retention of F-22s in air defense of skies over the U. S. This is another clear reason to manufacture more of them. The five areas in which they would be committed would be: Two are accounted for by the dual simultaneous conflicts; the third is in our homeland for defensive purposes; the fourth is to protectively cover refueling Tankers and the aircraft they’re feeding; and, the fifth are the F-22s in essential maintenance, most likely 30 to 40 percent of them.
Raptors numbering 186 are currently not enough and it takes no special insight to so conclude. Why, then, do President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates staunchly oppose more? There is something wrong here. It is politics as influenced by the left wing of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, Mr. Gates has been drawn into complicity with that group, and he’s too talented a public official and too much of a patriot to have allowed it.
Without the refueling Tankers, we can’t do battle over protracted time periods. Picture the air and missile battle I’ve described. It can’t be accomplished without air refueling. Once that fuel needle approaches empty, the pilot is looking for a tanker to fill up his or her aircraft. Even the long range B-2 Spirit might need refueling in a campaign in Asia against China. The F-22 Raptor and the F-35 JSF will do their work, go to a rendezvous point for gas, then return to fight some more. In the meantime, he or she has left the battle to travel to the rendezvous point. Once fueled up, he or she has to fly back to fight. Absence from the battle could cost an opportunity and there is a direct cost in fuel, not to mention pilot fatigue, in a total loss that can be light or severe, depending on the time traveled away from and back to battle.
In any event, the current refueling Tanker fleet is aged, over 40 and some up to 50 years old. Even though they have been upgraded in engines and avionics, it’s a wonder they’re up there in the skies.
However, the Air Force has been contemplating a new tanker program, named the KC- X. The program is hardly off the ground. If we know that two of our Stealth Triad are going to be dependent on Tankers, then the KC-X program should be immediately jump-started, with production a high priority. It’s amazing that expensive weaponry has proceeded to production, with pilot lives at stake, without the necessary supporting hardware in place. This is a serious managerial oversight in Washington.
Although Russia, as the former USSR, lost the Cold War, its ambitions have not abated. China, beyond its near obsession with taking Taiwan, has international power objectives. These are tinder boxes about to explode. The hypothesis here of a joint Russo-Chinese conflict with us is not far fetched. We have made a massive mistake in leaving a window of opportunity for that joint force to attack us. We can close that window by expanding the number of F-22s, quickening the production of the F-35 and accelerating the FC-X tanker program. Then, we can, in fact, have the Stealth Triad for the security of the American people, with a good chance of retaining our dominance as the world’s premier military power. The two do go hand-in-hand.
Ominously, you can be certain that the Russians and Chinese are hard at work on creating a stealth capability through research and development. It is important to remember espionage, as they are very good at that. Right now, it looks as if the administration conducts its military business in a state of denial.
I am concerned about the window of opportunity given to two formidable, potential military adversaries, about which this administration seems oblivious to. As guidance, in this column, I have given a blueprint to our leadership for closing that window as rapidly as possible.
Will we make it? As I said in my last column, the returns are not fully in on the Stealth Triad. We have to wait and see. I believe it can work to a favorable outcome for us, a continued position of military dominance.
Top reasons why the F-22 Raptor is the only Western 5th Generation fighter most capable of maintaining air dominance for the USAF.
Wicked looking craft...
President Palin will reestablish the program as Reagan did the B-1.
The B1-b was more relevant than the B1-a too.
Not on radar.
"Not on radar."
We make kick-ass aircraft!
The left doesn’t like American superiority which is why they hate our technology.
but US can’t afford it
Remember WWII when the Japanese A6M Zero was outclassed by F6F Hellcat and F4U Corsairs in the PTO. The IJN decided to stay the course with Zeroes instead and their a$$e$ were whooped by the USN.
If the USAAF did not deploy the P-51 Mustang in ETO, the Third Reich's cities would not have been bombed to ruins and could have enabled the Luftwaffe to deploy the Me262 in large numbers and regain air superiority.
If I were a USAF general, I'd certainly tag along with next-generation fighters and gain air supremacy rather than lose it.
Still overall, if you want to go on a shoestring, bring back the F-4 with upgraded avionics.
Against a first-class adversary, the Rhinos would be mincemeat, unless you're facing MiG-21s.
Still overall, if you want to go on a shoestring, bring back the F-4 with upgraded avionics. B-)
The F-15 and 16, while great for their time, for their respective jobs, are out of date for Gen 5 aircraft coming out. The F-15 upgraded, would be hard pressed to keep up with the Russian Su-37/47. It would be stretched to its absolute max against the s-300/400 missile system if operated by an integrated by Russians.
I don't care if the F-15 costs $50 million per plane less. When planes are getting blasted and pilots dying, the added cost of the F-22 pays off.
You might be able to buy 50 new Eagles for 30 Raptors. But send 10 of the 30 Raptors up against the 50 Eagles, and your going to have 10 pilots coming back to share beers with their 20 buddies, who hung back. The Eagles will be scrapped.
Gen 5 fighters are that good. And the Raptor is the best of them.
Of course it’s the best... that’s why 0bambi’s white house killed it
Some of the F-15C fleet is getting upgraded with AESA radar and AIM-9X missiles. They are informally referred to as "Golden Eagles" and will be around for a very long time.
When President Obama spoke to troops at Alaska's Elmendorf Air Force Base last month, the unit there parked a shiny new F-22 fighter plane in the hangar. But according to multiple sources, White House aides demanded the plane be changed to an older F-15 fighter because they didn't want Obama speaking in front of the F-22, a controversial program he fought hard to end.
"White House aides actually made them remove the F-22-said they would not allow POTUS to be pictured with the F-22 in any way, shape, or form," one source close to the unit relayed.
Stephen Lee, a public affairs officer at Elmendorf, confirmed to The Cable that the F-22 was parked in the hangar and then was replaced by an F-15 at the White House's behest.
The airmen there took offense to the Obama aides' demand, sources told The Cable, seeing it as a slight to the folks who are operating the F-22 proudly every day. They also expressed bewilderment that the White House staff would even care so much as to make an issue out of the fact that the F-22 was placed in the hangar with the president.
A White House official, commenting on background basis, told The Cable that yes, there were discussions about which plane or planes would be in the hangar, but that they were not meant as an insult to the pilots and other personnel who work on the F-22. The official couldn't elaborate on why the White House aides felt it necessary to get involved in the matter in the first place.
The official pointed to Obama's speech to the troops that day, where he praised both the 90th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Dicemen," and the 525th Fighter Squadron, the "Bulldogs," both of which operate the F-22.
Even so, the Air Force personnel thought it odd the White House wanted to display the older plane rather than the more advanced plane that, in the eyes of its supporters, represents the latest and greatest in American aviation.
The Obama administration fought hard and successfully to cut off production of the F-22 at 187 planes, a number Defense Secretary Robert Gates endorsed but that was hundreds less than originally planned and about half of the 381 planes Air Force leadership lobbied hard for in the years preceding Obama's inauguration.
"It's one thing to be against further production; quite another to slight the folks who are flying them in the operational world," one source said, adding that "the F-15 pictured was put into service roughly around the same period when Obama graduated from college. It's vintage."
“The IJN decided to stay the course with Zeroes instead and their a$$e$ were whooped by the USN.”
The IJN decided not to deploy its secret jet aircraft and missiles, saving them for the expected US invasion flee, and their a$$e$ were whooped by the USN.
Unlike you I have a life and am not glued to FR 24/7.
Unadulterated bull s***. The "author" of this piece of crap article ought to take a look at some emissions and susceptibility data. Once he does that then he can travel to Cherry Point and Whidbey Island and take a look at the reams of ATOs requiring SEAD support for these platforms that "run undetected by enemy radar."
John Tsucalas is an idiot.
That’s OK, buddy, I covered for you.
Looking at that HUD, I think it’s a bit too late to go around.
“The “author” of this piece of crap article ought to take a look at some emissions and susceptibility data.”
Er, A.A., you’re talking the Top Secret emissions and susceptibility data? You’ve seen it, and are talking about it in a public forum?
I’m fairly sure you’re informed enough to know that “stealthy” doesn’t mean “invisible”, it means “greatly reduced detection and lock ranges”.
If we can shoot them before they can shoot (or any many cases even detect) us, we win.
“Unadulterated bull s***.”
I sure smell some.
Another question: Why buy more F-22s when the AF can move into the future of Unmanned Aircrafts?
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