Skip to comments.Pork kills: Congress, Secretary Gates and the F-22
Posted on 07/18/2009 6:24:01 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
If a Secretary of Defense cuts an expensive, Cold War-era jet from appropriations, does anyone in Congress notice?
The answer is, of course, yes. The jet in question is the F-22, which has never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The United States Air Force has 187 of these jets, which cost $250 million each. The plane has reliability problems too, costing upwards of $40,000 for every hour flown and needing 30 hours of maintenance for every hour it flies. It cannot operate for more than 1.7 hours without a critical failure, according to an internal Pentagon report.
Some members of Congress wants the Defense Department to buy seven additional jets for a total of $1.75 billion. Supporters of the purchase are from both sides of the aisle--they exemplify "post-partisanship" more than Barack Obama. They include liberal Democrats such as John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd, who want to protect jobs by Lockheed Martin, as well as hawkish Republicans such as Saxby Chambliss who argue that the additional jets are necessary for national security, even though the Cold War ended almost twenty years ago. The jets were designed to fend against Soviet MiGs. China has nowhere near the air capability that the U.S. already hasboth in technology and numbers.
President Obama has threatened a veto over the appropriations bill over the purchase. Senators John McCain and Carl Levin introduced an amendment cutting the item from the appropriations bill.
But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates drew the line in a speech in Chicago on Thursday:
The grim reality is that with regard to the budget we have entered a zero-sum game. Every defense dollar diverted to fund excess or unneeded capacity is a dollar that will be unavailable to take care of our people, to win the wars we are in, to deter potential adversaries, and to improve capabilities in areas where America is underinvested and potentially vulnerable. That is a risk that I will not take and one that I cannot accept. He's right. Defense spending like this is indefensible--except in Congress.
For more info: Full Text of Gates' speech to Economic Club of Chicago
The numbers in this article are out of date. The WaPo did a similar hit piece, using data from the first year of the F22’s deployment.
I know. Thanks for pointing it out.
Senators McClain and Levin...two individuals who are far, far past their shelf life!
Considering that the F-15, F-16 and the newer models of the F-18 are now outclassed by the newer versions of the Sukhois, which are being fielded in ever increasing numbers by the Chinese and Indians, and
considering that the several versions of the F-15 were recently grounded due to bulkhead cracks as in being worn out, and
considering that we generally keep our fighters in service for several decades (which is why they wear out and need to be grounded), we need something to replace the old inventory we are retiring: the F-22 the current ultimate air superiority fighter with demonstrated multirole capability,
considering those things and more, what Gates says is a lie.
It is being force-fed a multirole capacity that it was not designed for reasons of political relevance. It is a Cold War-era fighter with a Cold War-era data architecture that will not accept the most current weapons systems without massive software upgrades and even that may not be enough to field those weapons.
The F-22 serves an important role as the sole 5th generation air superiority fighter in our inventory. If it has problems then it needs more funding to iron those problems out. What we cannot afford to do is cut back on one of the few legitimate government functions, military defense, so that we can waste more money throwing cash at single mothers, union thugs, and the assorted quasi-criminal cronies that hang around Washington. To paraphrase an old saying, billions for defense, not one penny for welfare.
This guy, Luke Johnson, is a student at a small private Liberal Arts College East of Los Angeles, and never has his facts straight.
RE :” billions for defense, not one penny for welfare.”
And Back on planet earth.....
We will never face a tougher foe than the Afghans.
The ‘Rats have made clear that America will cede all influence in the 21st century and become a banana republic. As such, we have no use for a system as advanced as the F-22.
Lets just all forget about it and go to Walmart and buy some cool made in China stuff, you know lead based kiddie toys and badly made shirts.
Yeah, that will help.
You left out that it is an overpriced and overpraised piece of junk, mostly a political pork jobs program. The cold war is over period!!!
We risk starting a new Cold War if we let our enemies reach technological parity. Striving forward for ever greater military capability is its own reward in advanced technology and assuring our security.
Glad you agree, spending money on an overpriced POS that would not last five minutes in superpower combat engagement is not new technology.
There is no such thing as a “cold-war” era jet when talking about the F-22.
If you control the skies, you win.
The F-22 controls the skies.
It IS that simple.
The Raptor has never killed an enemy in combat. Until it does all it controls is friendly airspace.
Revised: 21 September 2007 Published online: 3 July 2008
Abstract It is considered an approach to development a form of information subsystem of self-guided antiaircraft controlled missiles (ACM) of promising antiaircraft missile systems (AMS). Authors viewpoint about mentioned problem is based on long experience of theoretical researches in this application domain and development works of integrated homing heads (HH).
There is no defense system to stop a computer guided air to air are ground to air missile. A plane with a human in it cannot fly fast enough are turn fast enough. Period.
We seem to have a disagreement about the facts. Even if we take the detractors claim at face value regarding the technical drawbacks of the F-22 the system is not overpriced nor is it inferior to other weapons systems. The F-22 has destroyed all fourth generation aircraft easily in simulations (which is the best we can do to guage its viability). Currently there are no other aircraft that can stand up to it. All advanced air combat systems require intense upkeep. Our current fighter aircraft require similar amounts of refitting; certain parts have to be replaced after a very few uses, the entire system has to be refitted every so often, etc... That is the nature of these types of high performance weapon platforms. The expense is negligable though. We spend a paltry five hundred billion on our entire defense, let alone this single system. We waste many times that sum of money on unconstitutional social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, Food Stamps, corporate subsidies, and untold discretionary pork barrel spending.
I agree, if we stick to simulated warfare we don;'t need the overpriced POS at all and you can always win.
Unfortunately, simulations are all we can do to test new systems. The F-16 never seriously competed against comparable superpower aircraft flown by superpower trained personnel in evenly matched combat. By your exacting and unrealistic standards we should go back to investing in proven technologies like the F-105 Thunderchief.
Perhaps, to some degree, but those systems are very young and have many potential drawbacks that we have not yet fully realized. Since they are remote controlled the most obvious drawback is intense jamming and destruction of controlling military satellites. We’re still not at the stage where we can rely on unmanned vehicles only. We need human personnel on the scene able to make situational judgments even if they’re cut off from distant command posts by communication disruptions.
Longeron not bulkhead.
“Every defense dollar diverted to fund excess or unneeded capacity ”
But somehow those dollars being diverted to “shovel-ready jobs” filling potholes is going to save the day...
Any idea how many F-22s have been destroyed in ACM exercises?.
While they've gotten better with age, with an average age of 25 or so, our F-15s aren't getting any younger. The one that crashed in Mo. was 27. These assets don't just sit in hangers being pretty. We use our fighters. Replacing the older F-15s with new F-22s makes sense. Canceling the F-22 program doesn't. Why must we keep repeating the mistakes we've already made?
More info on the longeron issue here for anyone interested.
“In exercises and simulations, the Raptor racks up a 30:1 kill ratio, vs. 3:1 for the F-35, and slightly better than 1:1 for the F-15. All other fourth-generation fighters in US service score a tossup against foreign fighters.”
From my understanding the F-22 suffers from 3 major drawbacks:
1. Unit Cost (~$200 million vs 30-40 million for Su-30)
2. Maintenance Time (70 hrs vs 5-10 hrs for Su-30)
3. Training Time (1 yr vs 4 months for Su-30)
Simulations are fine and well, but unfortunately, no simulation has been remotely accurate in the prediction of Air-To-Air kill ratios with competent adversaries. Claims that the F-22 can achieve kill ratios of 30:1 or even 10:1 seem extremely unlikely to me. This is simply because such ratios have never been achieved in the history of Air warfare between semi-competent air forces.
If we look at past experience.
WWII: Mustang vs Nazi ME-262
Korean War: Mig-15 vs F-86
4:1 (345 to 88)
Vietnam War: Mig-19 vs F-4 Phantom
The WWII and Vietnam War ratios are interesting because in both cases, you had aircraft that was 1 technological generation ahead of the competition. Yet the actual kill ratios do not reflect much of a lead at all. This is most likely due to the fact that in both cases there were competent opposition forces(Americans/British in WWII, Russian/Chinese in Vietnam) with enough tactical cunning to neutralize many of the technical advantages.
New systems always cost more when they’re first put into production. Besides, I don’t want to hear complaints about costs for a legitimate government function when we’re spending trillions unconstitutionally. Maintenance time is concerning, but most of that maintenance is consumed by the stealth technology, so if we were pressed in wartime we could send it up with much less maintenance by sacrificing its stealth (making it like an ordinary fighter). Training time shouldn’t be an issue unless we have massive attrition in war, in which case we need more spending, training, and equipment now, not once we’re losing.
I find the kill ratio to be quite believable because the technological gap is so wide. It’s something like pitting a Mustang against a MiG-15 in terms of technological disparity. In many of the tests the F-22 was able to achieve kills before the opposing planes were able to see them on their instruments.
What I’m questioning is the efficiency of buying a 5th Generation manned fighter fleet at an extremely high cost, when viable alternatives exist.
One paradigm(currently being pursued by China, Russia, and Israel, amongst others) is to build/upgrade to cheaper 4.5 Gen fighters. While plowing limited resources into unmanned programs.
If we consider that a 4.5 Gen SU-35 or a J-10 is 1/5th to 1/7th the cost of an F-22, all they need is a better than 7:1 kill ratio to win air dominance.
Add this to the fact that the technology gap between a 4.5 gen fighter and a 5 gen fighter is smaller than the gap between the 2nd Gen Mig-19 and the 3rd Gen F-4. And in that conflict, we saw near even kill ratios.
I’m not arguing that it is more efficient. Nothing about the government is efficient. My argument is that it is more effective on the battlefield to pursue the best technology available. If we want efficiency lets eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, corporate subsidies, the bail outs, the take overs, and all the pork barrel spending. Then, when the total government budget is around $1 trillion dollars and you need to cut a few hundred million more for that last tax cut we can talk about maybe rethinking the cutting edge air superiority fighters. As I read that back it sounds more flippant than I intended, but I think my point is clear.