Can anyone give me a rational argument against the F/A-22?

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tnitsuj

Diamond Member
May 22, 2003
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Originally posted by: Brie
Originally posted by: charrison

The carrier version, stovl and normal version are supposed have over 80% common parts and training.

But this wasnt the original intention which was to have the exact same plane. Then have a special one for stovl...then one for carriers. ... I agree with SuperTool that it is mediocre in most areas since it was designed to meet the minimum requirements for all branches. If we wanted to save money we should reorganize the way we handle parts (really bad imo) not reorganize our airplanes. Also for me JSF will be invalid when any of the branches wants a new plane like the F-22. Why waste the time and money if we are going to diverge again in a few years.

The original intention was never to have identical aircraft. The US and the British always envisioned different models.
 

alphatarget1

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2001
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our allies buy them too don't they? I thought UK was buying some JSF.

aha, here is an excerpt from popular mechanics:

"The British government, which has been involved with the JSF project since the inception of the program in the mid-1990s, has expressed interest in buying either the F-35B or F-35C. A finanl decision is not likely until 2010 when, amoung other things, the prices of these aircraft can be estimated with greater certainty."

popular mechanics, may 2002

oh crap, we're talking about F-22... who brought up F-35?
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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Can anyone give me a rational argument against the F/A-22?
I'll give it a go.

First, as a kid, I used to subscribe to Popular Science and one of my favorite sections was latest military technology. I am very fond of all our military goodies. I get kinda weak in the knees when I see a jet fighter up close. I giggle like a school girl watching videos of aircraft raining down hell fire on some poor bastards whose DNA won't even be sufficient for identifying them. So I was particularly interested in the JSF/F22 projects.

But I'll be damned if I can come up with a good reason for expending such an incredible amount of money on a 'new generation' of fighters when our 'current' fighters are the best in the world and are projected to remain the best in the world for another 15 years in their current trim. That edge can be extended to 25 years with updates to the engines, fire control systems, avionics, radar upgrades, etc.

I understand that in 25 years, we'll need a new generation of fighters. But that is 25 years away, why fund with such urgency the development of next generation fighters and securing a design today as though we're only 5 years from being bested by China and North Korea? Securing a design today increases the risk of that design being rendered obsolete sooner, requiring another replacement sooner.

I also understand that airframes in our current inventory are aging. Many are being retired without a replacement because the airframes are no longer in production. My question is, why are they no longer in production? Drag-out the F-15 tooling and dies from storage and start building some brand new F-15 airframes to replace the aging ones.

Even better, revise and improve the F-15 airframe to build-upon what is already there, with the goal of being able to use a substantial amount of the original tooling, at 1/10th the cost of developing an entirely new aircraft from ground up. We have a ton of data on these airframes, where their weaknesses and strengths are, and with the benefit of hindsight, can conclude how they should have been designed or built.

General Motors took one of the worst engines ever in automotive history, and through methodical revision, refined it to degrees nobody anticipated. The 3800 Series engine is a 30+ year old single cam push-rod V6 that competes rather well in all categories with the most advanced dual overhead cam variable-valve V6 offerings from Europe and Japan.

Granted, the F-15 was an outstanding aircraft to begin with, and so there isn't as much 'headroom' for improvement. But does anyone believe that, with the amount of data we have accumulated on these 30 year-old designs, we haven't learned a thing or three in 30 years about how they could be improved upon in a number of ways?

Refine the current platforms, toss in the latest engines, revise them to accept the 'next generation' combat and flight systems like the passive radar array that will be perfected in several years, I don't see how we could not extend our air superiority for another 25 - 30 years at a fraction of the cost of developing a 'next generation' fighter from the ground up. And when the time comes to roll-out a next generation fighter, we will have benefitted from on-going development without a sense or urgency, affording us the time to have considered and evaluated many different micro-evolutions of the next generation fighter.
 

SuperTool

Lifer
Jan 25, 2000
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A case can be made for improving F-15. Look at what the Russians have done with the Su-27. They are up to Su-37 now with thrust vectoring and all bells and whistles.
Why can't the F-15 get similar upgrades?
Su-27 variants
 

tnitsuj

Diamond Member
May 22, 2003
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Originally posted by: Minchenden
Here is a logical argument. Especially paragraph 5.



Text
So we should buy Eurofighters? Not bloody likely,although it would be a lot cheaper.
 

freegeeks

Diamond Member
May 7, 2001
5,460
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It's going to be very difficult to scrap the JSF program because a lot of eurocountries are participating in the development. These govt. already invested millions in the project.

The F-22, I have no clue. It's going to be superior to anything that flies (with exception of the eurofighter)

It's your taxdollar, not mine ;)
 

Minchenden

Member
Feb 17, 2002
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Quote

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Originally posted by: Minchenden
Here is a logical argument. Especially paragraph 5.



Text
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So we should buy Eurofighters? Not bloody likely,although it would be a lot cheaper.



And a bloody sight better. If America is willing to pay twice, maybe more than twice as much for an aircraft with limited additional capabilities, then it truly deserves it's multi hundred billion $ deficit. This would seem to be machismo and ego gone mad.

 

AndrewR

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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Ok, the usual arguments as I expected. I'll address them in turn.

1.) "We don't need a new air superiority aircraft. We have the F-15 or the F-16, and we have not needed one recently nor in the foreseeable future."

Wrong. Flat out, plainly and absolutely incorrect. The best air superiority aircraft we have right now in the USAF inventory is the F-15C (F-16 fanboys can stop right now), and that aircraft is showing its age these days. It first flew in 1972 and entered active service in 1975, well before stealth was even being considered for fighter aircraft. For those that don't see the need for air superiority after what happened in Iraq, by that reasoning we could avoid upgrading nearly everything we have because "it worked just fine" over there. Take a look at where the Russians are selling their aircraft, particularly the Su-27 and its derivatives, for an indication of what the U.S. could face in the near future. Also take a look at the Mirage 2000, and where it's being sold. We cannot count all of the countries using these aircraft to remain our friends forever. Trust in the stability of countries in unstable parts of the world is not the greatest basis for weapons procurement or national security.

we haven't learned a thing or three in 30 years about how they could be improved upon in a number of ways?

That's exactly what they're doing. By your logic, we should never have built the M1 tank and only redesigned and refitted the M60 series. Sometimes, in order to compensate for the inherent design flaws of an older model, you have to construct something entirely new. Given that the Eagle is one of the largest and heaviest fighters around, a new design which avoids having to build the airframe around the radar would result in significant and very beneficial weight and size savings (near as I can tell -- ~2 ft shorter, ~2 ft narrower, 2.5 ft shorter, and from 8,000 to 10,000 lbs lighter). The new airframe enables other things as well, not the least of which is a tremendously smaller RCS (it's considered stealth -- it damn well better have a smaller RCS).

2.) Budget.

Great -- so the existence of a budget deficit (caused, incidentally, by a direct attack on United States soil and a significant downturn in the world's economy) is reason to avoid protecting national security? I wouldn't call that the height of stupidity, but it's not far off. Do you install a quality deadbolt on your front door, or do you use twist ties to secure it from intruders? Granted there are limits to spending, but if the need exists, and it is very real, spending should not be the priority. If the problem is the cost per unit, which is going up fairly exponentially regardless of which weapons system you address, then buy more units. The difference in cost between the F/A-22 and perhaps the latest F-16 is that once you've made 2,500+ aircraft, the costs of R&D really aren't a factor anymore. Given the logic that it's always cheaper to buy the older planes, we'd still be flying P-51s.

3.) Need more money for the ground troops.

Admittedly, this is a new one I haven't heard before. However, the lack of modern weapons or the lack of a new generation of modern weapons for the Army and Marines is not the fault of the Air Force. If the Army wants to spend its money on the Crusader, microwave tanks, and various other gadgets while ignoring the weapons that its troops use, then the criticism needs to be addressed to those drawing up the Army's budget (and that of the Navy with regard to the Corps). I agree that something should be done with infantry weapons, but that need does not trump all other needs within the military. Further, it is easier to come up with high power weapons for aircraft or ships given the availability of power (aircraft engine or ship's powerplant), but man portable devices are harder to develop without small fusion power reactors.

As for the Eurofighter, it is a capable platform, but it is not in the same league as the F/A-22. It has no true stealth characteristics meaning that it can be detected and targeted from longer ranges. It does not have supercruise capability meaning that it has to go into afterburner and waste fuel to push above Mach 1. Don't underestimate the importance of this one because fuel=time on station which can mean the difference between fighting and running. When you consider the fighter pilot adage of speed=life, you should begin to understand why supercruise is important. The Eurofighter does not have thrust vectoring engines. I suspect that it's avionics are not as powerful as the Raptor's, but I'm only speculating. "Limited additional capabilities"? BS.

Not to get too far off topic but what is the plan for Close Air Support. I read the A-10 is going away. Again.
That rumor keeps cropping up, but it isn't true. A-10s are being upgraded with at a minimum new engines and probably some other items as well. I believe the plan is to keep the A-10 flying through about 2020 or so. At that point, it will be interesting to see what happens for CAS.
 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
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Make military aircraft illegal for all nations but us... and there ya go.. we could use spads and still rule the sky... course the aero industry would have to lay off a bunch...
 

tnitsuj

Diamond Member
May 22, 2003
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Originally posted by: LunarRay
Make military aircraft illegal for all nations but us... and there ya go.. we could use spads and still rule the sky... course the aero industry would have to lay off a bunch...
I think it would be sufficient just to restrict them to Caucasian, Christian majority nations. No need to go overboard here.
 

FacelessNobody

Senior member
Dec 13, 2002
314
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Man I sure can't think of a good argument against the F-22 program. Especially when you talke a look at the latest foreign aircraft like the EF2000, Rafale, Gripen, Su-37, and MiG-39. All can put up a good fight against our current equipment, so why shouldn't we surpass them? It's in our best interest to have a military that's more than "adequate." In a fight, you don't want to actually have to fight your opponent, ideally you beat them as easily as possible and maximize risk to them while minimizing the risk to yourself. Go F-22!
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
69,618
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The machines will not allow us to waste resources on war. When your dental fillings can become conscious your teeth will be pulled.
 

straubs

Senior member
Jan 31, 2001
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Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: AndrewR
Instead of the blanket assertions that "we don't need it" which seem to abound whenever the topic emerges. I am curious what the basis for a cancellation of the program would be.
The only rational argument is that we dont need it. But at the same time, I would rather be ahead in RnD and not behind.
Um, as the last remaining superpower, I think we got that one in the bag. We don't really need to do much to keep ahead at this point.
 

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