posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 03:24 AM
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."
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
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
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).