Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
In 2009 the Senate voted to end funding for the Lockheed-Martin F-22.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday to stop production of the F-22 fighter plane, handing President Barack Obama a victory as he tries to rein in defense spending.
A pyrrhic victory for Obama now that the new threats come from China and Russia. The Afghan War was one that did not need the F-22. Afghanistan did not have an air force, so there was no need to establish air superiority to protect A-10’s, Apache helicopters, and the AC-130 gunships.
China and Russia have an air force. China is not bogged down in a war of attrition. Russia still has not established air superiority over Ukraine, at least not with manned aircraft.
Could Lockheed-Martin start producing the F-22 again? They could but it would take a long time to retool and rehire the skilled workers to bring the production line of F-22’s back to life. The F-22 was expensive in large part because it was not going to be sold to US allies.
From the very beginning, the F-22A exceeded the USAF’s expectations, and during exercises and deployments, it proved to be more than a match for any fighter opposing it.
During the highly realistic Exercise Northern Edge 2006, the F-22 proved itself against as many as 40 “enemy aircraft” during simulated battles. The Raptor pilots achieved a 108-to-zero “kill” ratio against the best F-15, F-16 and F-18 “adversaries.” The stealthy F-22A also proved that it could avoid and destroy enemy surface to air missiles, and recorded an impressive 97 percent mission capability rate.
Some observations by Mike ‘Dozer’ Shower who has flown both the F-15 and the F-22.
Dozer was in the F-15C community right at its peak during the 1990s through to the 2000s. He says: “Back then the F-15 was the best plane out there: it reigned supreme. It flew high (until the F-22 came along), had a big radar, but it was the weapons and training and sensors that made it.” Mike would get a MiG-29 kill during Operation Allied Force over Bosnia on Mar. 24, 1999, ripple-firing an AIM-120 and an AIM-7 Sparrow. So, let’s talk F-15C versus F-22A Raptor: Dozer?
“In an F-15 you’re sensor operator, you’re working the radar; you’re the guy working this all out and managing the systems and putting together the 3D picture in your head. That’s the difference with the F-22 Raptor. It does it all for you … you could take four weapons instructors in an F-15 each and you could have some lieutenant who is ‘weapons clueless’ and he’s gonna find them all and kill them all. Then you put one really good guy in an F-15 against a Raptor and he’s still gonna get killed; there’s that much of a difference in technology. It’s about sensors and training.”
In 2001 there was a request for experienced pilots, F-15C pilots and ex-weapons school and that meant that Dozer was going to get lucky and get to test the F-22 Raptor.
Initially — at Edwards Air Force Base — as is usual with a new platform, getting things to ‘work’ was an issue. Dozer says: “I was at Edwards for about a year and a half and we had a hard time to get two planes to work at same time. First day we had two planes to work, we had Langley F-15s next door and we are like: `Hey, we’ve got two planes working; wanna come fly against us?’
“So we hop in the jets and set up the two of us; we’ve done simulator stuff but we’re not sure it will work. We take off, we’ve got tankers, we’ve got the F-15s and we try our tactics out. We set up the battles against different numbers of F-15s, up to eight against two Raptors and they just never saw us. We could hear them saying: ‘Hey, where are you at?’ and we are a mile behind them. These were combat-experienced pilots we’re talking about. It was really cool. This proved what the F-22 could do. I had one guy who had worked on the F-22 programme come up to us almost crying, saying: `Hey you validated my whole life’s work.’
“We tested against F-15s, F-16s and then people realised it wasn’t a joke or a theory: the F-22 worked. My favourite time was a Raptor four-ship versus 12 F-15Cs and we’re like, ‘Let’s see how quick we can kill these guys’ So we hook up way up high and supersonic and they can’t take a shot and they’re running away at Mach 1 and we kill them in two minutes or so. I was thinking, ‘This thing is unbelievable.’ When the sensors work and each plane talks to each other, the Raptor is nearly untouchable when things are right. The F-22 versus a 4th-generation fighter is like having two football teams against each other and one of them [the F-22] is invisible!”