Skip to comments.IN FOCUS: End of F-22 production closes chapter in eventful history
Posted on 04/02/2012 5:58:37 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
IN FOCUS: End of F-22 production closes chapter in eventful history
On 14 March, a lone Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor took to the skies over Georgia on a test flight. It was the last of 187 aircraft ordered by the US Air Force.
The USAF had originally wanted 750 of the stealthy fifth-generation fighters, but a political debate over the very nature of aerial warfare in the 21st century ultimately sealed its fate. The debate started in the halls of the Pentagon in the wake of the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan around 2004 and came to a head in 2008 when then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired the USAF's top leaders - secretary Michael Wynne and chief of staff Gen Michael Moseley.
Marvin Sambur, who was the USAF's acquisitions chief during much of Donald Rumsfeld's tenure as secretary of defense, says the Department of Defense leadership was convinced that air combat was a relic of the past. The F-22 was "overkill" in an era when most wars would be fought against small groups of guerrillas, and unmanned aircraft would be the wave of the future.
The other aspect that influenced Rumsfeld's thinking was a desire for an aircraft that could fulfil multiple missions for more than one service. The USAF had learned the hard way - through the 1960s and 1970s, over the skies of Vietnam - that single-mission aircraft perform superbly. Rumsfeld's bias helped push the DoD to favour Lockheed's tri-service F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) over the Raptor.
The USAF position was that the Raptor, with its stealth, sensors and blistering kinematic performance, could be used to defeat integrated air defence systems and fly reconnaissance missions in addition to clearing the skies.
Indeed, the Raptor can cruise wi
(Excerpt) Read more at flightglobal.com ...
© Lockheed Martin
The last of 187 Lockheed Martin F-22s ordered by the US Air Force took to the skies over Georgia on 14 March
Most wars, not all.
Getting rid of this program is going to come back to haunt us. We have big enemies who are not “guerrilla” style actions. China, Russia, a growing number of smaller countries with high tech.
I want our men in the best equipment available. The only reason I can see to get rid of the F-22 is if we have autonomous stealth fighters that will clear the sky.
A valid point is that the F-22 is overkill if terrorists were our only concern. If terrorists had SA-10s, Mig-31s, Su-27s this would be the plane to buy.
It would appear that Obama and many Republicans seem to assume that terrorism is our only military/national security concern.
In fact, we may some day be fighting another large country, especially if we keep reducing nuclear weapons to the point which all out war is thought to be ‘winnable’ and thus ‘thinkable’.
Another false assumption, on the left mostly, is that nuclear war would extinguish all life, even at the new lower levels. In fact, we have fewer weapons on alert than the total number of tests by the US and Soviet Union over the years (<2000 -vs- 20,000+ at the Cold War levels).
Russia and China are both building nation fighting weapons, nuclear and conventional, while we seem to be more concerned with drones and armored Humvees.
IMHO we are not preparing for the worst case scenario.
And no army would ever try to advance through the Ardennes.
So, rumsfeld killed the raptor... another bushie era screw up...
The US prepared for guerrilla war before Vietnam. What we got when we arrived was very large-scale jungle combat against conventional NVA units from regimental thru divisional size.
To this day the idea is that we were fighting a guerilla war when the fighting was more akin to taking on the Japanese Army in the China-Burma-India theater of WW2.
“Getting rid of this program is going to come back to haunt us”
No it’s not. Russia can barely feed itself, and produced just over a dozen new fighters on the production line this year, all of them variants of 1970’s designs. China’s heralded military buildup is far smaller than most think, and most of what they’re making is comparable to the F-16A of the late 70’s. The electronics gap alone is huge between the US and potential rivals. The truth is, we could continue to produce F-16’s and F-18’s with incremental improvements and dominate the skies for the foreseeable future. Losing the F-22 (and the F-35, for that matter) simply isn’t a big deal.
First - the last USAF air-to-air kill occurred almost a decade before the push to scale down the F-22 Air Dominance Fighter. When you look at the real operational history of the USAF it hasn't faced a “near peer” competitor since Vietnam when it comes to technology. When it comes to numbers you have to go back to World War II. The debate of technology verses numbers is beyond this posting.
Second - the military’s coordinated and approved view of the military future has been trending away from major peer to peer conflict towards limited or irregular war. In fact, circa 2008, the Joint Environment (JOE) (Unclassified) published by Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) and signed off by every service stated that limited/irregular warfare is going to be the dominant form of combat for the next 25 years. Why? Because it is the only form of combat that has even a slight form of success when the US is involved.
I am in agreement with a lot of what you are saying. Furthermore I am not trying to start an argument, just trying to get clarification in an area or two that I find a tad incongruous. For instance when you say 'Because it is the only form of combat that has even a slight form of success when the US is involved.' The way I would take that is the reason it would be nigh suicidal for an opponent to try and take on the US directly is because of the extent of American qualitative advantage. In another post last week I had described it as the 'superlatives' - as in superlative people, superlative training, superlative tactics and superlative equipment; all wrapped up in the willingness to fund all of that, and that if one or more of those legs starts to suffer attrition/lack-of-funding then weaknesses emerge that, even if they do not cost the US a war, will definitely cost it deaths that need not have happened.
I would say the reason why the only way to face the US is either low-scale insurgency doctrine at the low end, and asymmetrical warfare at the high end, is because any other approach is bereft of much hope of success. Which means, in my civilian reasoning that probably amounts to naught but warm spit, that once you start eroding that overt capability then suddenly other forms of warfare stratagem become viable. Again, we are not talking about the US losing, but rather several thousand extra lives lost (not to mention materiel) that need not have been lost. Furthermore, and more importantly, it exposes the US to area-denial strategies, especially against near-peer adversaries striving to keep out US assets from their locus of influence (e.g. China in the South-China Sea, or in the Taiwanese Strait).
Anyways, as mentioned my reasoning is purely civilian and thus I cannot claim to know 'secrets' that some people here claim to know. However I do know that if one looks through history there have been a number of cases of veritable superpowers getting a bloody nose due to assumption. My point of view may be wrong, and there might be aspects about the US that make it immune to the misfortunes that have fallen upon other powers in the last couple thousand years of recorded human civilization, however since I am a civilian I cannot see it. It is my hope that those who say 'this time it is different' are correct.
Have a blessed day.
Last A/A kills were against technologically advanced aircraft. They were aircraft that were most certainly near-peer. However, they were flown by dolts with little or no training, hobbled by cultural inhibitions prohibiting independent thought. So, we have recently flown against technologically near-peer jets. We have not flown recently against near-peer pilots. Which brings us to China. In Vietnam, China pilots gave the US trouble.
“limited/irregular warfare is going to be the dominant form of combat for the next 25 years. “
Indeed, but it is NOT the only form of war that we will ever fight. And, by the way, we need decades to develop a concept, conduct R&D to mature a technology, tool and manufacture and to build a capable force of an effective number. . .about 20-yrs minimum or so. So, that 25-yr time-frame means we should NOW be working on what we will need in future.
If we did not have such a technological edge, perhaps the foes would be less inclined to resort to LIC and challenge the US directly.
By letting the military become one-dimensional we are limiting our capability, not only by not having the kit able to operate within any sort of conflict, we are also losing the capability to build a capability if we need to. Once a factory door is closed and R&D and manufacturing capability ceases, we have lost decades of time we we need to field a competent and modern, heavy or light, diverse military.
The question is: Do you want to be as good as you can be or just as good as your enemy? The F-22 gave us the edge and the F-22 intimidates the enemy. . .and perhaps because we have this superb qualitative edge, ANY enemy is reluctant to try and take us on head-to-head.
This joint policy is more a reflection on budgeting priorities than a true belief that we should focus almost exclusively on low-tech LIC-scenarios.
We are all familiar with the old adage that generals prepare to fight the last war. We are seeing that now. . .to our great peril.
It was the overwhelming superiority of the U.S. military - and, more importantly, the willingness of U.S. politicians to engage enemies as the need arose - that has kept the politicians of other nations under any kind of restraint since WWII.
Chinese and Russian communists have been the arch-enemy of individual liberty since WWII, with their satellite governments and numerous third-world despots simply functioning as thinly-veiled proxies for those two powers in many of the various post-WWII conflicts.
Job 1 is, of course, to know who one’s real enemies actually are, i.e., to know who one is fighting. If we tell ourselves we’re fighting the proxy outfit, but they are being backed by a larger evil empire, that’s how we can get into decades-long small wars that allow communist and islamic operatives inside the U.S. political, educational and business establishments to paint us as the bad guy in the minds of our own citizens.
Small wars that drag on for decades create an environment where U.S. citizens can be turned against them; even though we did not militarily lose, we certainly can suffer generations of damage in the court of public opinion.
The easiest way to win a war is to have your enemy simply give up. Fomenting rebellion, discontent, immorality, corruption, etc., inside your enemy’s borders provides the most bang for the buck in getting them to sue for peace.
Major powers (China, Russia, islamic) may not have forces
equal to ours at the moment, but they use a multi-pronged approach, i.e., not just military, but social, economic, political, etc. This is, IMHO, much more of a threat to American sovereignty than most people imagine. Russia and most especially China are both blasting away at our computer-related infrastructure, for example. I can post copies of logs showing Chinese attempts to hack into a server of mine that continue 24x7 in an automated fashion. This is not activity from criminals, but from within the Chinese telco/government/military/manufacturing complex.
We think we’re buying sneakers made cheap from Chinese “companies” (whatever that means), when, in reality, we’re buying from a totalitarian regime that is becoming more and more afraid of losing power and hungry for cheap resources themselves.
It’s very similar to pre-WWII Japan, if one simply replaces the religious cult of the emperor with the religious cult of communism.
IMHO, with the cultural patience of our enemies, where they will pursue strategies literally across generations for hundreds of years, conventional wars may prove much wiser than the close-up, house-to-house, ‘policeman’ style of combat. IMHO, if I’m a villager in some third-world nation, and the U.S. military is always there and involved in the local politics, I might easily find myself thinking of America as an unwelcome guest. Now, the reverse, where U.S. soldiers are nowhere to be found, and I struggle under the local tyrant and experience murder and mayhem at the hands of my own local leaders, would make a U.S. soldier a welcome sight if he comes in, kills all the bad guys, then goes home.
IMHO, if we’re giving up the F-22 program by choice, as part of some smart moves, that’s one thing. But telling ourselves that we have no worthy adversaries for the foreseeable future, and, in truth, having a government drowning in almost $16 trillion in debt - if that’s the reason, which I think it is - then, IMHO, Congress is starting to delude themselves much the way the government of every fallen empire in history has.
If I can’t afford something, and I know I can’t afford it, but I don’t want to admit it - I say out loud that I don’t want it, so I don’t have to admit out loud that I can’t afford this thing that I want.