- Jan 24, 2006
- Total Time
I don't claim to completely understand the ins and outs of the CSAF's decisionmaking process, but I do get his rationale behind cutting manpower to modernize the fleet. It's not about the F-22...it's about the replacement tanker, a replacement CSAR helo, and several other aircraft, too. The overall age of the USAF fleet is unprecedented, and SOMETHING had to be done to throw a stake in the ground toward fixing the problem.
The AF mortgaged modernization of the fleet in the early 90s by counting on a "peace dividend" that would eventually open the flood gates to new money and new airframes. Well...that money never showed up, and here we are 15 years later with nothing significant to show for it.
So, I don't claim to know HOW the shrinking manpower of the force is going to be used as taskings continue to grow, but I do understand the dollars-and-cents rationale for needing to modernize the aircraft fleet across the board.
MudEagle has some great points here and I will mention one thing that people always seem to forget when talking about the F-22. The F-22 is very much needed in today's world, especially if the US is going to have the ability to fight countries with ever increasing technologies and the ability to fund them (i.e. China and India are two that come to mind right away). Will we ever go to war with either of these countries? Probably not, but never say never right? What was that adage about the F-4 not needing a gun in Vietnam because of our "advaned" air-air missles? Oh yeah, that's right - that failed miserably. Again, India will probably never be a real threat to the US, but China has the capability to be a real and credible threat very quickly. And has anyone been keeping up with China's surface to air integrated defense system lately? They're buying every double digit SAM that Russia can get them...and those double digit SAM's are very mean.
The F-22 with it's stealth, supercruise, extremely long precision guided bomb dropping ranges, and superior air-air avionics is a nasty customer when it's full up. It kicks all our 4th gen fighters a$$es with experienced pilots behind it's proverbial wheel, even when we take the cuffs off our "red air." Scenarios of 4 F-22's taking out 16 F-15/F-16's at range in not unheard of. In the long run, the F-22 will save us money as opposed to deplete us. We will be able to operate much more effeciently with less airplanes doing the job. The maintenance alone on some of our older F-15's is getting atrocious. And not to mention the most important point - the F-22 is the fighter we need to combat the increasingly sophisticated equipment our "potential" enemies are buying in droves.
I know Dave Griffin is a naysayer who has a personal grudge against AF fighter guys. That's fine though, reading his posts you'll learn quickly he is a buffoon that thinks CAS is the only mission that should ever be flown (which he isn't even a pilot by the way). But I will tell you, reading the latest intel on these countries and their equipment and developing tactics is a real eye opener.