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So it's better to stick with what we have no matter how old they are because they're cheaper?
Even if they built brand new F-15s and F-16s, it wouldn't solve the problem that potential opponents are improving rapidly and willing to sell just about anything they're developing. Sooner or later your legacy fleet would come up against something that would kick the crap out of it.
You think air to air is the only combat? Surface to air missiles have advanced far beyond the Vietnam days and a modem SAM system used correctly will swat legacy aircraft from the air.
a.) "dogfights" are obsolete. We already have numerous aircraft capable of dogfighting to the limits of the pilots who fly them.
b.) The F-35 is not necessary for "dogfights" and prohibitively expensive for the role it is to serve.
c.) Other already developed aircraft can address any threat we are likely to face for the foreseeable future.
ETA...Plus, the F-22 is far superior to the F-35, and the only role it cannot fill is the naval role, which the F-18E/F Super Hornet can (and does)
Gen Carlisle, (General of USAF Air Combat Command)
Sir, apologies for emailing you directly, but I thought you would enjoy a quick DEPEX AAR.
BLUF: Overall, the DEPEX was a huge success! (DEPEX = Deployment Exercise)
DISCUSSION:. We were 88 for 88 on the sortie count, including the deployment flights to and from Mt Home (they were RAP counters). The entire team performed flawlessly, and challenges identified during the cross-ramp exercise were resolved, making for a very smooth DEPEX.. Ops executed OCA-SEAD (Offensive Counter-Air, Suppression of enemy air defenses), AI (air interdiction), DCA (defensive counter air), and CAS (Close air support) missions, employed 16x inert GBU-12s (laser guided bomb), and integrated in LFEs (large force exercises) with F-15Es (with ZERO F-35 losses). The scenarios were robust and one experienced former F-16 pilot stated, "we would never have survived that in a Viper.". Maintenance flawlessly produced the planned 4 to 6 front-lines every day (plus a spare) and they maintained a 92.3% MC (mission capable) rate. As previously mentioned, we had zero lost sorties. Lockheed Martin support was exceptional, with a smooth transfer onto and off of the ALIS (Autonomous Logistics System) SOUv2 (not sure). They also provided timely spare parts when needed. The only real issue we faced was lightning protection and the lack of validated aircraft-inerting procedures. While this was never a show stopper, it complicated operations. I have confidence the Air Force will resolve this issue in short order. I could not be more proud of the efforts of the TFI team and the performance of our F-35s. It was truly an epic display of Airpower.
WAY AHEAD: If possible, I would like to set up a 5-minute IOC (inital operational capability)"way-ahead" phone call next week.
(snip signature details)
Commander, 388 FW (Fighter Wing)