End of the line…
One hundred and eighty seven F-22’s. 300 in the pass…
By themselves, there are not enough Raptors to patrol the American skies. Not enough to defeat the entire Chinese air force. Not enough to defeat the entire Russian air force. Not enough to defeat the combined EU air force. That’s barely enough to handle the entire Indian air force. Any combination of the above and the -22’s would simply be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
Over the hill F-15’s, F-16’s, and older model F/A-18’s falling out of the sky from sheer age and heavy wartime use. “New” model F/A-18’s dribbling off the assembly line in ones and twos, each one grudgingly authorized by penny-pinching bureaucrats (from both parties) who don’t having any problem voting raises for themselves on a yearly basis.
“For many years before 1986, the “worst case” scenario was an all-out conflict between the Warsaw Pact and NATO in Western Europe. Individually inferior though the Eastern Bloc aircraft were at the time, they had a tremendous numerical advantage which might have given them aerial victory over the West. The American approach had been to make every fighter pilot an ace via superior technology, but this had an inherent flaw. In a one versus one encounter, American pilots had a decided advantage, which persisted even in a four versus four encounter. But in a close combat, multi-bogey fight, with each pilot basically dependent on what he could see “out the window”, the numerical superiority of the Warsaw Pact air forces could have been simply overwhelming. Numbers create confusion, and confusion degrades technology very quickly indeed.”
-Mike Spick 2000
FoxNews’s KT McFarland says the Air Force doesn’t want the Raptor…
The Air Force used to disagree.
“The F-22A, a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation’s Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The F-22A cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.”
“In a June 9 letter to a senator, Gen. John Corley, commander of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command, wrote: “In my opinion, a fleet of 187 F-22s puts execution of our current national military strategy at high risk in the near to mid term.”
“The Air Force had long disagreed (with Gates cap of 187 Raptors), calling for as many as 381 planes as recently as last year, in apparent defiance of Mr. Gates. The Defense Secretary fired the Air Force’s two top leaders last year, largely over the issue.”
KT McFarland also says the F-35 is “which is cheaper, more flexible and represents the next generation of technology. It is a better investment in national security.”
It’s not cheaper, since we’ll have to purchase four times as many F-35 Lightning II’s to equal the missing F-22A Raptor’s and tens times as many to replace the rest of the aging and soon to be permanently grounded current fighter fleet. It’s not more flexible seeing as the -22 carries far more air-to-air missiles and actually has a gun that was not an afterthought, as the -35’s gun is. Additionally the -35’s afterthought internal gun, when it’s actually mounted internally, carries just 180 rounds of ammunition compared to the -22 which has 480 rounds for its gun.
Nor is the -35 a technological leap ahead of the -22. They are complimentry contemporaries, just like the -15 and -16 are.
If we reduce the salaries of every single elected official in this country to the national federally mandated minimum wage, we’ll probably find enough money for at least one more squadron of Raptors.
Most of the second rate air forces in the world could make short work of a fleet of Predators and Reapers, (The Russians did exactly that over Georgia). As cool and highly useful as they are, they cannot survive long in a contested airspace. They’re just not ready for it, yet.
As far as I know, historically, US ground forces in combat have not been attacked by enemy aircraft since Korea. Will any of the people who’ve killed the Raptor apologize to the kin of the next US troops to be killed by an enemy air strike?
“The invention of [machines of war] has long ago been completed and I don’t see anything surpassing the state of the art”
-Sextus Julius Frontinus 1st century A.D