posted on Dec, 28 2007 @ 11:13 PM
the U.S Air Force needs more than 183 Raptors. I don't think even 240-260 would be enough.
something like a quarter century ago, when the USAF came up with the requirement for the ATF / Advanced Tactical Fighter, and through the 1980s, it
was planned that about 750 airframes would be built, with a flyaway cost of $35M per plane in 1984 or 1985 dollars.
in 1991 after the YF-22 had emerged and won the ATF competition, the number of aircraft that would be bought was reduced to 648.
in 1994, the number of F-22s was cut to 442 airframes
in 1997 it was reduced again, to 339 airframes
around 2002 or so, the amount was reduced to yet again to 276, and then the most recent amount became 183 sometime after that.
I think the Air Force should get no less than the 442, which is two reductions below the original 750 amount.
with just over 440 F-22s, the Air Force could have an active force of 400 strong, with extra for spares, attrition, losing some airframes, some for
testing, upgrades, airshows, etc.
I also think the Pentagon and the Air Force should push for a "Super Raptor" with more powerful engines, higher supercruise speeds of over mach
2.0, longer range, larger wing & airframe allowing for a larger bay to hold upto 12 medium or long range A2A missiles, advanced IRST, stealthier
engine exhausts (engines buried deeper like the YF-23) to reduce its infra-red sig. more advanced rader.
A mixed force of 400 F-22 Raptors and ~150 Super Raptors, operating in teams ( 4 Super Raptors, 20 Raptors, the SR could be even more of a forward
air controller with AWACS like capabilities, directing regular Raptors into the fight ) would be interesting, and perhaps proove more difficult for
advacaries to overcome with a single new fighter.
[edit on 28-12-2007 by airraidjet]