Why We Need the F-22

Cobra17

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Why We Need the F-22
It’s been more than half a century since American soldiers were killed by hostile aircraft. Let's keep it that way.
By MERRILL A. MCPEAK

The United States relies on the Air Force, and the Air Force has never been the decisive factor in the history of war.

—Saddam Hussein,
before Desert Storm

High-end conventional war is characterized by the clash of industrial forces. It’s armored, mechanized and increasingly air-power centric. Few are equipped by training or temperament to understand the phenomenon, especially as it concerns air warfare, a relatively recent aspect of the human experience. (In this regard, Saddam Hussein had plenty of company.) But the bottom line is that in high-end conventional war, neither our Army nor Navy can be defeated unless someone first defeats our Air Force.

For high-end conventional war we’ve built an Air Force that, for now, is virtually unbeatable. Anyone looking at our air-power capabilities knows there is little hope they can concentrate conventional forces for decisive engagement of our Army or Navy. We will track them and pick them to pieces. When Saddam Hussein tried us on for size in the early-1990s, the ground war was a four-day walkover that followed the initial 39 days of aerial combat.

So today, no one in his right mind wants to fight us in a conventional war. Many are saying this another way: that we have no “peer competitor,” that there is no threat of high-end conventional war. I wouldn’t bet the ranch on that, but, if it is so, it is a desirable condition and one that didn’t happen by accident.

We have forced anyone with a bone to pick with us to find an alternative to high-end, conventional war. We’ve had to invent a vocabulary for this low end: “asymmetrical” conflict, it being another poorly understood activity. But it seems clear that in this sort of war our existence is not threatened, that we can regulate the resource input. It can be expensive in men and material, but we cannot be defeated militarily.

When the enemy succeeds, it is because we do not defeat him and then weary of the fight. This is not a good outcome, but it is better—and much cheaper for us in lives and treasure—than losing a high-end, conventional conflict.

The future air combat capabilities we should build are based on the F-22, a stealthy, fast, maneuverable fighter that is unmatched by any known or projected combat aircraft. But the F-22’s production run may soon come to an end at just 187 planes, well short of establishing the fleet size we need. After all, it’s expensive, and getting more so as the number contemplated has been repeatedly reduced. In an argument they seem to think makes sense, critics say the aircraft has no worthy opponent—as if we want to create forces that do have peer competitors.

It’s been more than half a century since any American soldier or Marine has been killed, or even wounded, by hostile aircraft, a period roughly coincident with the existence of the Air Force as a separate service. Even during the Korean War—the Air Force’s first engagement wearing new, blue uniforms—enemy air attack was primitive and rare. The main air battle was fought along the Yalu River, just as in Vietnam it was fought over Hanoi, and in Desert Storm, over Baghdad. Our guys on the ground had hard work to do, but when they looked up, they saw only friendly skies.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why we should wish to change this.

Gen. McPeak (ret.), Air Force chief of staff from 1990 to 1994, was a national co-chair of Obama for President.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204908604574332870284931470.html
 

av8orboy

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You would think that with all the legitimate and expensive claims on the government pocketbook — including two wars, an economic crisis and desperately needed health care reform — Congress would be extra judicious about how it spends the taxpayers’ money. But no, at least not when it comes to the House Armed Services Committee and lucrative defense contracts.

The panel has proved again how the insatiable drive to keep fancy weapons systems alive can trump all good sense. With Representative Rob Bishop of Utah and other Republicans leading the charge, and with the support of six Democrats, the committee this week narrowly voted to keep producing the Air Force’s F-22 stealth fighter jet.

We adamantly opposed Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s proposal to buy four more F-22s in next year’s budget. But at least he wanted to cap the fleet at 187 planes. The House committee has voted to approve a $369 million down payment on 12 more. If all of those are bought, the total price tag would be about $2.8 billion.

The Pentagon budget must be more closely attuned to military and economic reality than the misdirected and undisciplined spending of the last eight years. Mr. Gates has made a compelling case for ending programs that significantly exceed their budgets or use limited tax dollars to buy “more capability than the nation needs.”

No weapons system fits that criteria better than the F-22. It is a cold war relic, designed for defense against the Soviet Union. It has never flown in combat, much less in the wars this country is actually fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air Force’s new high-performance F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which begins production in 2012, uses stealth technology to elude enemy radar like the F-22, and should be sufficient.

Lockheed Martin and its partners parceled out work on the plane widely to ensure maximum political protection. And we deeply regret that jobs will be lost by phasing out the F-22. But the United States cannot keep paying for redundant and dubious systems. There are too many other compelling demands on the country’s battered budget — some of which will certainly create new jobs. It is up to House Democratic leaders to make this case to their members and ensure that the committee’s decision on the F-22 is overturned.
 

Indy319FA

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Maybe McPeak should have thought about this before he supported Obama for President. The only real cuts you will see out of this administration will be in Defense. Just like Jimmy Carter. Makes a heck of a lot of sense. Budget cuts in Defense when we are at war.

Oh wait, I forgot. According to the Obama administration this isn't a war, its an Overseas Contingency Operation.......
 

pilotyip

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What else would you expect from McPeak?, maybe a new uniform? That kinda looked like an airline pilot?
 

Cobra17

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I think Tony isn't ready to accept that his job is being replaced by a computer, minus the ego.

He makes his own argument against the F-22...we have enjoyed air superiority for over half a century....without it!
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

We need the F-22 to effectively maintain air superiority when we are fighting Britain???, France???, Switzerland???, India, or for sure Israel, since they have the best air-to-air Air Force.

Or, maybe we're going to invade Russia??? It shouldn't cost too much, and we have lots of spare cash laying around.

cliff
NBO
 

ableone

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Maybe McPeak should have thought about this before he supported Obama for President. The only real cuts you will see out of this administration will be in Defense. Just like Jimmy Carter. Makes a heck of a lot of sense. Budget cuts in Defense when we are at war.

Oh wait, I forgot. According to the Obama administration this isn't a war, its an Overseas Contingency Operation.......
Typical right wing hyperbole.

Please show where there is a cut in the defense budget.

You won't be able to do so because the defense budget goes up not down.

Don't let the facts get in your way.
 

Oh-ryan

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But the bottom line is that in high-end conventional war, neither our Army nor Navy can be defeated unless someone first defeats our Air Force.
Granted our Army brothers get significant support from the USAF, but I think the navy can cover their own air support requirements fairly well. Hilter will be wearing ice skates before a Carrier Group Commander calls Big Blue for help protecting his boats.
 

CitationLover

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Maybe McPeak should have thought about this before he supported Obama for President. The only real cuts you will see out of this administration will be in Defense. Just like Jimmy Carter. Makes a heck of a lot of sense. Budget cuts in Defense when we are at war.

Oh wait, I forgot. According to the Obama administration this isn't a war, its an Overseas Contingency Operation.......
Do you ever look at FACTS? Bush I cut the military more than Clinton did. Dick Cheney, as SecDef, eliminated a ton of defense department jobs and saw the largest troop reduction this country has ever seen.

The F22 is a victim of our success. The aircraft of the future have pilots flying them from air bases far away from where they operate.
 

pilotyip

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End of a War

Do you ever look at FACTS? Bush I cut the military more than Clinton did. Dick Cheney, as SecDef, eliminated a ton of defense department jobs and saw the largest troop reduction this country has ever seen.

The F22 is a victim of our success. The aircraft of the future have pilots flying them from air bases far away from where they operate.
It was the end of the "Cold War", there was a peace dividend to be reaped. Truman, Ike, and Nixon oversaw much bigger draw downs following WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
 

waka

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Maybe McPeak should have thought about this before he supported Obama for President. The only real cuts you will see out of this administration will be in Defense. Just like Jimmy Carter. Makes a heck of a lot of sense. Budget cuts in Defense when we are at war.

Oh wait, I forgot. According to the Obama administration this isn't a war, its an Overseas Contingency Operation.......
They are correct. This is not a war.
 

CitationLover

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It was the end of the "Cold War", there was a peace dividend to be reaped. Truman, Ike, and Nixon oversaw much bigger draw downs following WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
Of course, but the statement still holds merit. Cheney slashed DoD budgets following the Gulf War. The US has a history of rapid demobilization following major conflicts, I understand that. Clinton's peace dividend in the mid 90's was starting to actually show peace in the middle east and northern ireland, then extremist jews shot Rabin and the respective extremists won yet again.

The backers of the F-22 are stuck in a "Cold War" mentality regarding its existence beyond that which was already allocated, for that matter the B-2 also (in terms of maintaining its existence). Lockheed and Boeing are two of the biggest corporate welfare recipients of the federal government and its about time they stop taking us for a bath. Perhaps our leadership can listen to those who see us "maintaining the peace over the world" and can see the direct parallels to what the Romans did. Ours will fail similarly to what happened to Rome. The economics of such are simple now showing themselves.

And technically this isn't a war. Only congress can declare that. We haven't had that since the early 40's. The executive branch seems to have forgotten this since Truman strong armed them. Ron Paul was the only candidate to mention this during the campaigns.
 

time builder

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Hi!

We need the F-22 to effectively maintain air superiority when we are fighting Britain???, France???, Switzerland???, India, or for sure Israel, since they have the best air-to-air Air Force.

Or, maybe we're going to invade Russia??? It shouldn't cost too much, and we have lots of spare cash laying around.

cliff
NBO
I was watching cable news the other day. Some high ranking military guy was pleading the case that Russia is selling Iran an anti-aircraft missile capable of shooting down anything in the US fleet except the F22.

Not necessarily my opinion, just passing it on "straight from the horse's mouth."
 

JoeMhama

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OK fellas, Lets not forget that we still have 187 of these planes!!! Thats a whole lotta planes.

And who are we fightin right now?? The Taliban, Al Qaida??? They dont even have an airforce! And they never will.

Were gonna be just fine with our current fleet of aircraft!!!
 

satpak77

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what a waste of money. How many UAV's can that money buy?
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

The AF is now rapidly buying new UAVs, and small, light-weight ground attack and transport aircraft. They are spending LOTS of money, just changing what they spend it on!!!

cliff
NBO
 

pilotyip

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Next year the USAF will buy more unmanned A/C than manned A/C. Handwriting is on the wall for fighter and attack pilots. In the future you will man a console work an 8 hour shift blowing up things 10,000 miles away. In fact they are short of pilots for UAV right now and are thinking of calling up reserve pilots to fly the UAV's out of Creech
 

Rez O. Lewshun

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Will USAF UAV "pilots" be enlisted or officer? Or will there be an officer overseeing multiple UAV enlisted operators...
 

pilotyip

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Officers of course, they have not an E offically near the controls of something that flies in the USAF since 1945
 
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