posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 03:56 PM
To say nothing of your other points, as I don't need the aggravation... Indeed, deploying twelve birds and 174 support personnel 3,200 miles cross
county to a new base and environment and fly ten sorties the next day while maintaining a 97 percent sortie generation rating for six weeks says
nothing of "rapidly deploying a 'deescalation' capability". While flying fourteen missions everyday mind you...
The thing is, rapid deployment is more about having preassigned airlift and AAR for ready-to-go pallet loads than it is anything related to the jet
itself. And this capability has been endemic to the 1st FW since the days of the CENTCOM-as-RDF, given it is the equivalent of a 'First Responder'
unit. Since you can't fight any war, anywhere, until your A/B/C class expectation of deployment duration and intensity arrives in theater and is
setup, flying jets to an 'already USAF' base infrastructure with ground crews likely already present and stoodup for days beforehand is itself no
big deal, if only because it is only 1/4th the distance to get to SWA.
However; the range of the F-22 itself still is important because it was a major selling point differentiation between the Raptor and the F-35 that the
latter could 'only' do 350-400nm plus 150nm in and out as a supercruiser (which, as Riccioni states, an F-15 can also manage). While the F-35 could
do 600-700nm as a marathon runner.
If the F-22 has a 'nonstop' UNREFUELED RANGE of 3200nm, it has to have /at least/ 25,000lbs of internal fuel plus probably another 8,000lbs or so in
the twinned 610s. i.e. F-111 class gas. With that kind of fuel, it can almost certainly make a course segmented 600nm radius in intermediate
high-fast mode, hit the tanker for a full drink (with no competition for fuel) and then do /another/ 400-600nm (200-300nm in and out) at a full
Which means that the USAF has been and continues to LIE about it's true capabilities, just to guarantee themselves the JSF on a cake-and-eat-it-too
basis. Even as they also render _completely false_ the notion of 'defending the tanker' because the KC-whatever should not be /anywhere's close/
to a high density air threat. Not with the BVR MRM capabilities now ubiquitous.
Indeed, being a third of your strike force while destroying more than half of the enemy; even elevating and increasing the capability of older systems
by just staying in the same airspace says nothing of 'allowing prosaic systems to do their missions more effectively', etc... Ah, why even
Such is the difference between going into the Gulf in 1991 and flying CAP missions because, despite nominally being trained with bombracks, the FF-15s
were really not suitable for multirole tasking until 'the rest of the AF got there' (especially at the operating radii given south of Saudi is a
500nm trip to the border, at least).
And going in with the F-22 and _getting to_ the far fight quickly with enough bombs onboard to make a standoff-IAM difference LONG BEFORE the 'Legacy
Fighters Can Flow In'.
You fight the war you brung but only if you bring the FULL capabilities of the asset to the fight can you decide /how/ you will choose to block as
much as butcher your enemy.
NAPFAG in the Raptor means that you get to fight the next Kuwait battle all over again, tossing another trillion dollars and ten years of commitment
away rather than ENDING THE FIGHT SOONEST. With a concentrated airlift and a capable, _Multirole_, force on arrival in theater.
Ignoring this obvious reality, the USAF brass are determined to prove the F-22 is a 'team player' in the least used as much as useful of mission
taskings when in point of truth such a needlessly specialized effort simply continues the same'ol same'ol practice of delaying the onset of U.S.
stabilizing force into a region while /multiplying/ the risk to both the Raptors and the rest of the package.
Threat Air simply does not show up in numbers anymore. It being unusual to see a fourship operating together. BUT IF THE POTENTIAL FOR IT TO DO SO
IS PRESENT, you do not want to be overly commited to defending conventional signature, slow, and high fuel use airframes simply because they have a
few extra missiles onboard.
Instead, you want to operate in small units with maximum discretionary ability to refuse as much as accept the engagement _to the limits of LO only_
shot count. Because that discourages the enemy from /making the attempt/ at 'getting lucky' in a target rich environment. Even as it keeps the BVR
shot lanes open.
Indeed, everytime a Raptor comes home with _two kills_ and a runaway-from-threat frustrated enemy condition, it can go out again with the certainty
that those are two of perhaps twenty enemy airframes that will never be a threat to it again.
And two kills are much more likely when you have a bomb bay full of GBU-39 because the IAMs suck away four AIM-120s and without those added LRM shots
to shock the bad guys and break up their formation discipline, you DO NOT go wading into the survivors just to prove 'the gun still has a
As such, IMO, A2G is 'what it's all about' when you are the First Responder. Because today as always, the majority of the threat is _ground based_
to both you and the in-theater forces you are actively supporting.
Air threats should be dealt with as they present themselves within a maximum contempt of engagement doctrine relative to putting mud munitions on
target in a manner which frustrates the /campaign objectives/ of your enemy. Rather than becoming embroiled in his war, his way, as a function of
letting him continue to prosecute a landwar while you deny him use of the air 'because that's what you've indoctrinated yourself to do', you have
to reach beyond the immediate threat and kill the schwerpunkt one.
'Supposedly' the F-22 schoolhouse down in Florida and the tactics folks up with the FWW at Nellis include both former F-16 and F-15 drivers as a
kind of balanced approach to warfightering, giving both A2A and A2G capabilities even weighting as a function of developing the Raptor playbook.
In light of which, given Northern Edge's predominant air emphasis, one can only say "Where's the beef?"
Indeed, all's I see is a 'look how good we are!' repeat of the USAF's 1974-76 'AWACS Defense Tests' (separate from the AIMVAL/ACEVAL demos) in
which typical odds were 9:1 against and the threats were allowed to use all manner of deceptive maneuver and EW. The then-new F-15s won 38 of 39 of
those missions as well. Blue Air in that case also at least _stated_ what the residual onboard weapon reserves were after each fight. As an honest
yardstick assessment of how overextended they were in dealing with different tactics.
The difference being that the Big Bad Russkians are no longer a part of the opfor threat picture and the notional value of LO + SSC is to take the
fight BEYOND the in your face level of direct confrontation which makes force massing practical for the target values.
As such, it would have been interesting to see the USAF roll out more than a repeat scenario from 30 years ago and simply up the odds. It would have
been nifty to see them PROVE the Raptor as an entirely new battlespace dominance machine with 'look how -smart- we are' using multiple alternate
(real world appropriate) scenario models.
Support an SOF effort to destroy 2-3 Nuke TELs in a threat globe dominated by enemy _S2A_ threats being one. Destroy a multiprong ground maneuver
force from extended raidus with unreduced (mixed) air and surface threats before they reach objective-X another. Decapitation strike on a deep
political target with 'unknown' supporting AAR on the return trip (emphasizig fuel economies) a third.
NE as a jet powered Marianas Turkey Shoot exercise designed to 'pump up' the already overstated abilities of the Raptor was just a waste of time on
the taxpayer dime.