More F-22 Raptors in store for the USAF? Experts say YES.

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posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 09:13 PM
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Rumsfeld's Ouster, Dems' Arrival Could Bring TACAIR Changes

The departure of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and new Democratic control of the House and Senate could change the acquisition and makeup of the tactical air fleet for the U.S. military, analysts say.

The key change, they say, will be the Air Force's attempt "and probable success" in securing more stealthy F-22 Raptors beyond the 181 ceiling set by Rumsfeld's Pentagon.

"The Air Force will definitely get more F-22s," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of the Teal Group."

Echoed Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute: "There's no doubt about it."
More F-22s

In a Nov. 3 interview shortly before Rumsfeld's announced resignation, Air Force Gen. Ronald Keys, commander of Air Combat Command, which decides the makeup of the service's fighter fleets, said he would like more F-22s.

The service fleet plan called for about twice the number allowed by the Pentagon.

Aviation Week


Well, I always thought this day would come, the USAF has always wanted to produce 300+ Raptors, even if it meant cutting the less capable F-35. But for many years Rumsfeld, followed by the GAO, have been the two main adversary's of the F-22, now that he is gone however the air force may get it's wish. Since the USAF already has the multiyear contract ensurng Raptor lines will remain open past 2011 the future looks bright for this bird once again. The air force and Lockheed made sure that Raptor parts would be produced in forty-nine states ensuing that both Democrats and Republicans can be lobbied into keeping the program alive, so there's no risk of less funds form congress. I presonally would be content with a USAF made up of 300-350 Raptors and 1,200 F-35's (down from the current 1,763).

[edit on 14-11-2006 by WestPoint23]




posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 03:24 AM
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WP23,

>
The departure of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and new Democratic control of the House and Senate could change the acquisition and makeup of the tactical air fleet for the U.S. military, analysts say.
>

Rumsfield as the windmill against which Congress tilted. As such he had 'deflection of intent' value. Without him and _particularly_ with a Democrat now also likely to sit in the White House (have to, if any 'real work' on energy independence is gonna get done), I wouldn't put too much hope in ANY pie-in-sky dreams coming of age.

>
The key change, they say, will be the Air Force's attempt "and probable success" in securing more stealthy F-22 Raptors beyond the 181 ceiling set by Rumsfeld's Pentagon.
>

Then they'd better cross the double yellow and play girl-in-splits on both bandwagons: F-35 too expensive. F-22 now-a-bomber.

>
"The Air Force will definitely get more F-22s," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of the Teal Group."
>

Against who? You see, having made the quintessential mistake of advertising a capability without a need (not the Raptor, the Lightning II), they now must prove that the _Raptor Alone_ can fulfill the roles that the reduction in F-35 numbers will 'open up'. Without EOTS FLIR and with an unknown quantity on the Blk.20 SAR and GBU-39 efforts now underway.

>
Echoed Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute: "There's no doubt about it."
More F-22s.
>

Fine you moronic twit. At what rate says I? All the 'efficiency of lean-line production improvements' was oriented towards first a 36 and then a 24 aircraft/year rate. When the original demand was for 60 per year. You build at 36 per year and it will be 2015-17 before you get everybody on the same doctrinal boat and the spread of fleet (airframe) ages and /presumably/ re-re-re-introduced 'spiral upgrades' will be such that you are STILL looking at about half your fleet being 'useful' and the other decrepit training hacks.

The F-15 effort was handled in similarly slipshod fashion which is why the Charlie (digistal PSP and stronger wings among others) was the first 'real' production Eagle almost a decade after first flight of the A and only the last few production year/blocks with the APG-70 and fixed ALQ-135 and cockpit/wiring improvements for AMRAAM were the really USEFUL ones, come 1991.

Given as the guts of the Raptor are it's most criticized element. And the problem with 'improperly heat treated titanium' structural elements looks set to make half the F-22A purchase into just another hangar queen F-15A, we are already behind the eightball on a viable production strategy.

>
In a Nov. 3 interview shortly before Rumsfeld's announced resignation, Air Force Gen. Ronald Keys, commander of Air Combat Command, which decides the makeup of the service's fighter fleets, said he would like more F-22s.
>
I would be more interested in the F-22 if he had the balls to swing in setting the force structure policies which AvLeak attributes to 'his' command. Last I heard, this was a JCS pissing match of service turf 'roles and missions' negotiation with Congressional working group and Pentagon handholders throughout the begging-for-change proce$$.
>>
The service fleet plan called for about twice the number allowed by the Pentagon.
>>
If you USE the F-22 /the way it should be/ (priority C-Jet delivery of an organically ready-to-stand GSTF superwing force to the hot zone within 72hrs of need) you will destroy the threat IADS and critical BMC2/infrastructure long before the first 'flow in' F-16/15E/18C/18E/35A-C arrives overhead. Literally. That means making key decisions about tankers (where and how many) support enablers (does the USAF by EA-18Gs?) and munitions (smart ARM ala HSAD/AARGM or 'dual mode' AMRAAM? ITALD or MALD?) across the board. Because the F-22s best profile is going to be supersonic to height, fast to the tanker and FASTER to the target. Followed by a reverse evolution and rinse-repeat. For 3-5 just-like-an-airliner sorties per day instead of the average 1.5 of subsonic types. That will mean figuring out everything from dedicated deployment standardized (already at the Barney bases) pallet loads to theater for X days and KonoCo stations for a redundantly safe supercruise transit on a 4-6-800nm radii. Along with targeting and mission redundancy if the threat decides to come play against the 40-60 airframes you send instead of hunkering down under the 'overwhelming' threat of 100-200.
Commiting to the Raptor in a big way also means deciding what you do if you simply /cannot/ get basein priveleges to support an all-blue squid op. Hunting AAM vs. RamAAM being but the first of many crutch decisions needed NOW to make the Super Hornet at all viable on it's own, overland.
Once you get all that squared away, you need to think about 'what comes next'. Do we retain an ability to directly invade a sovereign nation with overhead presence as CAS preference to direct engagement by 'rapid but weak' ground forces? Do we revert to 'influencing by economic blackmail' with snake eaters seeking out threats which they then call in airpower to deal with, exclusively? Do we go for invasive overwatch to guarantee we have the best corporate intel on any given theater -without- weapons-aboard 'fighters' as provocation?
In any of these scenarios the UCAV/UAV ratios are going to be high, simply because a fastjet can have the best sensors and the best stealth and the best there-and-back-again radius:rate numbers on the planet. But against a time sensitive/time critical target set (which is perversely described best by the number of DAYS spent looking without key signature detection.); it is _worthless_ if it is not PRESENT to take the pictures as much as drop the small IAM.
That in turn will lead to a lot of scenarios in which the robot jets augment D1R1 conditioned fights and the only function of the Raptor is to give the wolves a hard time while they hunt for the stealth sheep. That this can happen as a 'shoot thru' event from behind the leading edge of a robotic raid which is not concerned with manned losses to S2A in particular is another thing which will alter the GBU-39 vs. AIM-120 numbers on every jet (with remote guidance, including the UCAVs).



posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 03:24 AM
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CONCLUSION:
Given the above conditions, I too would like to see 300-500 F-22s. But only IF they come at a rate which fills the inventory before the doctrine dates itself. And only IF they do to the JSF what needs doing to remove the 'pure truck' mission from the bombs'r'U.S. approach to manned airpower-as-diplomacy. Unfortunately, this will completely bleep the F-35s numbers for export sales as 'cheap LO' will only be about 30-40 million less than the 133 million dollar F-22 (produced at economics optimized scalars). A condition which any revision in the USAF purchase makes almost impossible to avoid. At which point, the foreign buyers will run like rats off the Titanic and the F-35 will be left a very much specialist mission platform intended for the naval air services alone (i.e. what it always should have been). Nobody will buy an F35C which doesn't penetrate with full LO as export because it's never going to be a 'real fighter'. And the F-35B, expensive as it is, will be lucky to match the radius numbers of the F-18E/F due to fuel and weight issues. But the F-35A is going to represent the biggest pork barrel to get spilled back into the budgetary reserve and without those magic '1,600' airframes (what the USN SPO chief for the F-35 has repeatedly said was the absolute bottom line before the graph went vertical for front vs. backend PAUC costs) the entire program is likely going to collapse.
Not that I mind. Because I'm sure that the EU'ians and Chinese will skip Gen-5 to make Gen-6 unmanned anyway. Just to pull the wind from our Arsenal Of Democracy dominant milair sales. But the reality MUST be faced that we may not be able to afford 'the best' solution (F-22, UCAV, F-18E/F Lot III/IV) if we don't drop the biggest one. And the fact of the matter is that that option is getting more and more expensive, the closer we come to an SDD decision and foreign commitment to the techbase and production percentages on the JSF (which is also 'built everywhere' at home and abroad).
Stick with low rate F-22 and 'for export!' F-35 and you will break the bank without really gaining much in terms of tacair improvement in any key areas of modern warfighting. Low or high intensity.

KPl.





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