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Originally posted by Zaphod58
Here's the part that I like. Gates wants to cancel the VH-71, but maintains that a new Presidential helicopter is necessary.
Done. Final acquisition is 187 there will be no increase.
However, the tactical airpower programmes were alone among the budget cuts for their lack of offsetting increases. While the DDG-1000 would be replaced by reactivating DDG-51 destroyers, and the FCS vehicles would initially be backfilled with mine-resistant ambush vehicles, there are no replacements for the losses of fighters from the inventory.
In Gates's view, the Pentagon is over-invested in tactical combat aircraft optimised for conventional conflict against a peer-competitor, a belief he has repeated in speeches for more than a year.
"Every defence dollar spent to overinsure against a remote or diminishing risk or, in effect, to run up the score in capability where the United States is already dominant is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in, and improve capabilities in areas where we are underinvested and potentially vulnerable," Gates says.
Based on different warfighting assumptions, the Air Force previously drew a different conclusion: that 381 aircraft would be required for a low-risk force of F-22s. We revisited this conclusion after arriving in office last summer and concluded that 243 aircraft would be a moderate-risk force. Since then, additional factors have arisen.
First, based on warfighting experience over the past several years and judgments about future threats, the Defense Department is revisiting the scenarios on which the Air Force based its assessment. Second, purchasing an additional 60 aircraft to get to a total number of 243 would create an unfunded $13 billion bill just as defense budgets are becoming more constrained.
This decision has increasingly become a zero-sum game. Within a fixed Air Force and overall Defense Department budget, our challenge is to decide among many competing needs. Buying more F-22s means doing less of something else. In addition to air superiority, the Air Force provides a number of other capabilities critical to joint operations for which joint warfighters have increasing needs. These include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control, and related needs in the space and cyber domains. We are also repairing years of institutional neglect of our nuclear forces, rebuilding the acquisition workforce, and taking steps to improve Air Force capabilities for irregular warfare.
It was also prudent to consider future F-22 procurement during the broader review of President Obama's fiscal 2010 defense budget, rather than as an isolated decision. During this review, we assessed both the Air Force and Defense Department's broader road maps for tactical air forces, specifically the relationship between the F-22 and the multi-role F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is in the early stages of production.
The F-22 and F-35 will work together in the coming years. Each is optimized for its respective air-to-air and air-to-ground role, but both have multi-role capability, and future upgrades to the F-22 fleet are already planned. We considered whether F-22 production should be extended as insurance while the F-35 program grows to full production. Analysis showed that overlapping F-22 and F-35 production would not only be expensive but that while the F-35 may still experience some growing pains, there is little risk of a catastrophic failure in its production line.
April 13, 2009 (by Eric L. Palmer) - The top two bosses of the United States Air Force (USAF), Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Mr. Michael Donley and the top serving military man, General Schwartz are wrong about the future air power roadmap for the service.
In an astonishing surrender of future air capability, the two have written a piece that showed up in the Washington Post called, “Moving Beyond the F-22”. In it, they say it is time to stop funding the F-22 and move on toward full funding of the F-35. The reasons they give for this are seriously flawed. It ends with a wild blue sky marking statement claiming, “Within the next few years, we will begin work on the sixth-generation capabilities necessary for future air dominance.”
First, is the top USAF leadership insane? I mean that with all due respect because these are not dumb people, they are just seriously misled on what defines air power capability and risk.
When examining the issue of air supremacy, we had to ask, what is the right mix of weapons to deal with the span of threats? What are the things that the F-22 and only the F-22 can do? And where would it be required? There is no doubt the F-22 has unique capabilities that we need, the penetration and defeat of an advanced enemy air defense and fighter fleet. But the F-22 is, in effect, a niche, silver-bullet solution required for a limited number of scenarios to overcome advanced enemy fighters and air defense systems. In assessing the F-22 requirements, we also considered the advanced stealth and superior air-to-ground capabilities provided by the fifth-generation F-35s now being accelerated in this budget, the growing capability in range of unmanned platforms like the Reaper and other systems in the Air Force and the other services.
I also considered the fact that Russia is roughly six years away from an initial operating capability of a fifth-generation fighter, and the Chinese 10 to 12 years away. By then we will have more than 1,000 fifth-generation fighters in our inventory. In light of all these factors and on the recommendations of the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff, I concluded that 183, program of record since 2005, plus four would be a sufficient number to meet the F-22 requirement. To be clear, the F-22 program of record is codified in the FY 2005 budget. And all budgets since will be completed, not cut, as many have said and written.
Top Air Force generals met earlier this week to discuss the decision to end production of the F-22 at 187 aircraft, and their reaction was strong. Appraisals of the response range from “surprise and concern” to “shock and dismay,” senior service officials and those familiar with the discussion told the Daily Report. One senior service official said the leadership will “work through” the situation and see if something can be done “to address the F-22 in the quadrennial defense review.” However, by then it will likely be too late as the suppliers of F-22 long-lead-time parts and materials will have stopped work, and the cost to reconstitute those parts of the production line might be too tough for even the most ardent F-22 supporters in Congress to support.