posted on May, 26 2007 @ 12:04 PM
Current Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. T. Michael Moseley
posted this recent online
article about his (and therefore the USAF's) views and goals for the F-22 and F-35 program.
F-22 and F-35 Program Focus
The first step in recapitalizing our aging fighter fleet is fielding the F-22 to replace the F-15C as our front-line Air Dominance fighter.
Controlling the skies is the first and most fundamental step in any Joint operation. Potential adversaries continue to develop and field advanced
aircraft, cruise missiles, and surface-to-air missiles in an attempt to project power in friendly airspace or deny our forces access to their
airspace. Let there be no doubt about it – the F-22 will be the primary aircraft responsible for countering these threats, clearing the skies of
bad guys, and ensuring our Nation's air, land, and sea forces access for many decades to come. On my watch as the lead Airman of this great Air
Force I will not allow Air Dominance to be taken for granted. This is a no-fail mission!
To ensure Air Dominance, Raptor pilots must be trained and the F-22 must be equipped for Air-to-Air combat in any arena – from homeland defense to
anti-access environments. Since one of the keys to Air-to-Air success in anti-access environments is the ability to destroy enemy surface-to-air
threats, I want Raptor pilots trained and F-22s equipped to conduct the Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (DEAD) mission as well. If the current
focus of the Raptor program – including training syllabi, ready aircrew program (RAP) requirements, designated operational capability (DOC)
statements, modernization plans, test plans, or the Weapons School – isn't on Air-to-Air and DEAD, then it is wrong and I want it fixed, and if
we're spending precious Raptor modernization dollars or training sorties on the core missions of our other aircraft, such as CAS, SEAD or
Interdiction, that is also wrong and I want it stopped.
Since we're drawing down the F-15C inventory as we stand up the Raptor, I’m directing that 100% of the new active duty pilots entering the Raptor
community be previous F-15C pilots.
These are exciting times for our Air Force. We have the best Airmen in the world, and our recapitalization and modernization efforts will ensure they
have the world's greatest aircraft to do their mission.
Fly, Fight, and Win!
Now there are several things here which are VERY significant about this mission statement. The first which comes to mind is the tone and conviction.
Personally I think there are too many pencil pushers in the USAF portion of the Pentagon. However Gen. Moseley seems to me to be some who has not
forgotten the flight line concerns of the Air Force. Serving in DC (said as it is to say it) causes most career generals to become pencil pushers and
politicians in uniform. Gen. Moseley is a former F-15C pilot who has commanded several F-15 fighter groups and even taught as an instructor at the
F-15's weapons school at Nellis AFB, so in short his background is mostly related to front line air to air fighters.
I think he has the priorities right, the F-22 should be first and foremost an air dominance fighter, with secondary mission going to DEAD and other
limited A/G operations. Previously, former F-16, F-15E and F-117 drivers were all allowed to join the F-22 program. However now only former F-15C
pilots will be considered for selection. Given Moseley's background it is not surprising to hear that the USAF will formally request for more F-22
Raptors and as many F-35's as possible. There is no reason to overload the F-22 pilots in all areas and make them inherently loose their mastery of
air-to-air. We will get an ample amount of F-35’s to provide not only jobs for former legacy drivers but also a system for them to transition their
CAS, SEAD and A/G skills into. Multi-mission is a good thing but when take to far you end up with another Vietnam... Anyway, I hope that now under
his leadership the F-22 program focuses precious dollars on upgrading the jet (soon) with the AIM-9X, JHMCS and AIM-120D, SDB integration is already
Achieving air dominance is paramount, for without it you cannot hope to have a successful campaign. With this new group of pilots who have all
previously focused on air-to-air combat and with a secondary focus on DEAD the F-22 should prove to be even more useful in the skies.
Here is what LTC Showers
had to say...
Let me put it another way, why have F-15C models been king of the skies and so good at air-air for all these years? The same top pilot training
grads went to each platform so maybe that's not the reason, an F-15E has the same radar and could therefore be just as good at air-air but it isn't,
so maybe that's not it either, in my opinion it has to do with 2 primary things, 1-F-15C pilots are master of one trade, air-air, F-15E and F-16
pilots are jack of all trades master of nothing because we've thrown so many missions on them its impossible to get really good at and stay good at
any one thing (the analogy would be pro sports - you don't have one athlete playing 3 or 4 sports do you?, of course not, he focus's on one to get
really good at it), but they have a hosts of missions and tasks to stay current on, 2-and it sort of goes hand in hand with 1, the level of briefing,
execution, and debriefing standards in the F-15C community are exceptionally high for the missions they do. Partially because they can afford to be,
they have one mission of air-air so they can expend all their training and resources on getting everyone to the highest level possible and then
keeping them there, in other communities you simply don't have the resources to get every pilot to, and then keep them at, that incredibly high
level, you have to move on and in many cases accept less than optimum performance because you have 12 other missions to train to. Even if you could
focus for a short time and start to get better at some point you have to move on and air-air is an extremely perishable skill.
So do you want your very limited numbers of F-22's to also be jack of all trades or master of something? I would argue we want to focus on and train
to what this a/c was designed for, air-air and a very limited skill set of specialty missions it has a unique niche for like attacking a surface to
air missile site with an occasional JDAM. But we have A/G experts and that's also what we'll expect our F-35 pilots to be, A/G experts with some
A/A capability & training. I think this nation wants the biggest bang for the buck and in this case it's few F-22's need to be prepared, just as
the chief said, to fly, fight and win vs. any adversary in the air for the foreseeable future. With the proliferation of advanced technologies and
countries continuing to develop and produce advanced aircraft and SAMS, I would argue we must continue to modernize the Raptor to make it even more
lethal in the air realm so we're never at parity with potential adversaries, and ensure it's pilots stay focused on its primary mission as directed
by the chief, kill other airplanes and then maintain air dominance over any place we choose. Pretty straightforward guidance and nice to have, makes
our training plans easier!
There is a very good and sensible reason to use F-15C pilots to transition, those are the a/c we're shutting down right now, not F-15E and F-16
squadrons but F-15C's, so we need to give those pilots a place to go. In addition, they do have the most highly developed air-air skill sets since
that's all they did for a living and therefore the transition in my opinion is easier for them. Think about it, in a few years they won't be
clamoring for F-15C pilots to transition to the F-35, they'll be looking for F-15E and F-16 cadre because those skill sets and their background
translate most readily into the missions that fighter will be expected to pick up.
(I apologize for the large quotes but I found the content worth posting. And as for the link to "Dozer's" comment, U2U me for the link if you are