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Among the other items Bush shoved onto Obama's overcrowded plate is the F22 Raptor fighter program.  The Raptor is a fighter plane, designed in the 80's  to fight the Soviet Union. To no one's surprise, the program has had a series of schedule slippages and Cost overruns .

The F-22 Raptor fighter jet has become a poster child for budget and deadline problems.

Between 2003 and 2007, the cost per plane rose 189 percent — from $125 million to $361 million — including research and development, while development time increased by more than two years, according to the GAO.

The original plans for purchasing 750 planes has been scaled back to 181 planes.  

 Many, including Secretary of Defense Gates, have suggesting stopping the program now.

There is a complication though, stopping the program will put tens of thousands of workers on the street, as notes the Preserve Raptor Jobs Now site.

Production of this aircraft is in jeopardy—and with it more than 95,000 American jobs, over $12 billion in national economic activity, and the superiority of America’s Air Force.

Well, to preserve the jobs, we could convert the production line to wind turbines.  The problem is the mismatch between the machinery and skills need for a high tech plane, and those needed for windmills.   We have plenty of idle auto production capability which could be converted much more easily.

I suggest that we continue producing the Raptor, but call it a stimulus, not a defense program.  That way we would force the Pentagon to admit what everyone knows, most weapon systems are jobs boondoggles, not defense projects.  No one really cares if the weapons work.  That is why we sent soldiers into Iraq with inadequate armor.

It would be fun to watch all the hawk types squirm at this designation.  -- over 8000 published book reviews.

Originally posted to interguru on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:49 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  why can't these factories be converted (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Gravedugger, kyril, Ilikepie, JerichoJ8

      to produce F-35's? They're designed to be a cheaper, more flexible, post-Cold War version of the F-22. In addition, F-35's can be sold to other countries; F-22's cannot.

      The day Bush was elected: Dow Jones avg 10,979; unemployment 3.9%; 5.5 million jobless... Today: Dow Jones avg 7,850; unemployment 7.6%; 11.6 million jobless.

      by Yirmiyahu on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:05:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aren't the F-35 massively better technology? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        groggy, lenzy1000, JerichoJ8

        and aren't they finally admitting the F-35 are the last manned fighters to be developed?

        •  The F-22 is the most advanced fighter (7+ / 0-)

 the world, by several magnitudes. It also costs about 4x as much as the F-35. But then again, the F-35 is according to the USAF 4x better than any other fighter jet on the planet..

          The USAF has conducted an analysis of the F-35's air-to-air performance against all 4th generation fighter aircraft currently available, and has found the F-35 to be at least four times more effective. Maj Gen Charles R. Davis, USAF, the F-35 program executive officer, has stated that the "F-35 enjoys a significant Combat Loss Exchange Ratio advantage over the current and future air-to-air threats, to include Sukhois", which are currently being flown by the Russian, Indian, and Chinese air forces.

          Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

          by Scarce on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:16:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  They fulfill different missions. (9+ / 0-)

          The F-22 is a pure air superiority fighter.

          The F-35 uses some of the F-22s technology, but is not suited for the air superiority role due to it being created to fulfill roles for the Navy, Marines, and Air Force.

          •  They both fulfill the same mission. (5+ / 0-)

            That mission? To keep military acquisition officers employable with fat paychecks after their retirement from the military by the companies from whom they acquire during their military careers.

            We could get 10 times as much defense bang for our aircraft acquisition dollar if we were to spend that money building new, modernized F-16s and F-18s -- and more to the point of the threats we now face, A-10s and even AT-6 Texans for ground support missions -- instead of the overpriced, overperforming and failure-prone airframes that the F-22 and F-35s are proving to be.

            The acquisition phase of those programs should be stopped,and they should be kept on as development programs only.

            "Power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please."
            -- President Barack Hussein Obama

            by tbetz on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:36:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  A-6, A-10 (7+ / 0-)

              The A-10 will be missed just as the A-6 is today. I'm at a loss to understand why the inexpensive, hard hitting Thunderbolt isn't being extended. OK, we're keeping it until 2028 and it's such a fine piece of machinery it may have the same "permanent collection" status the B-52 enjoys.

              I'm an Emersonian Transcendentalist. What's your excuse?

              by Stranded Wind on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:56:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You may have answered your own question (7+ / 0-)

                The A-10 is inexpensive. That might be why.

                •  Not to mention it's ugly. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tbetz, Stranded Wind

                  The sexy plane is always going to get funded more than the butt-ugly one.

                  •  The A-10 is beautiful. (6+ / 0-)

                    You're crazy, man.

                    Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

                    by Anarchofascist on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 09:49:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Flying gun (5+ / 0-)

                      I think the designers of the A-10 started with a huge gun and built a plane around it.  I remember the first time I saw one buzzing around my middle school (they were based at Grissom in northern Indiana for awhile).  

                      My brother got to see them in action in the first Gulf War.  He was in the 24th Mech Infantry (they were the pointy end of the spear in the last big push into Iraq).  He said it was simply amazing to watch one in action.  He said they flew so low you could see the pilots wave as they flew over.

                      I don't need to move mountains, I just need the strength to climb.

                      by Mote Dai on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:22:21 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yeh, it's that big minigun. (4+ / 0-)

                        Forget the name.

                        I think they call them the flying bathtub, don't they?

                        •  The ground combat soldier's friend, (9+ / 0-)

                          As a young infantry LT in Germany in 1977, I got to see the first section of A-10s exercise at Grafenwhor training area. They were very impressive, and we were glad to see them.. At that time the Soviets and their Warsaw Pact allies outnumbered us in tanks, and the A-10, and the Huey Cobra with TOW missles were going to be our equalizers.. and they were... Gulf War I proved that (The Marines then were still using the Cobras, athough with Hellfire instead of TOWs).  

                          The A-10 could carry a large bomb load, Maverick tank killer missiles, And it had that large 30mm antitank cannon that could chew up any Soviet tank in less than a second.

                          It's official Air Force name was Thunderbolt II, in honor of the tough P-47 Thunderbolt of WWII which was our best ground support fighter of that day.  But most call the A-10 the Warthog, for how exceedingly ugly it is.. except when it is supporting your unit, then it's BEAUTIFUL...

                          It has the nickname "Flying Bathtub" because there is a titanium armor "tub" built around the pilot and its avionics.. There is armor around its engines, so that one engine could have a heat seeking air to air missle enter the engine, explode, and the armor will limit the damage just to that engine, so it could make it back to base on just one engine. Also, it had energy efficient turbofan engines which allowed it to stay over target for long periods; fighters like the F-16 and F-18 gulp fuel like mad.  

                          But of course, the AF hated it.. once the soviets fell, they tried to move them either to storage or to the Air National Guard.. Then Gulf War I came, and the supersonic fighter mafia that runs the Air Force had to face reality.. the A-10 is the best ground support aircraft ever made, and now it will stay in the inventory a very long time.  

                          Like the B-52, the A-10 is proof that US arms makers CAN make very good products at a decent price.  I wish all projects were so cost effective.  

                          I may be a liberal Obama voter, but we will still need a national defense, and we need more projects like the A-10 and B-52, and less gold plated, horrendously overpriced projects like the F-22.  Maybe if we were fighting Darth Vader and the Empire we need an F-22; but we dont need it now, no one else on the planet has an aircraft with its capabilities. For its price we could buy many more F-16s and F-15s for air superiority.  

                          If you want to learn more about the A-10, here is it's Wikipedia article:


                          •  The new Russia (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Stranded Wind

                            Russia is getting extremely aggressive , so we may need those weapons.

                          •  The F-22 is still loser, even if we were (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tbetz, Ilikepie

                            fighting a revived USSR.

                            We can only build 180 of the things, and we really can't afford that.

                            They can still only, at absolute maximum, deal with 8 enemy aircraft each per flight, and that's being incredibly optomistic (8 missles, total).

                            In a real war, the number of flight ready aircraft declines quickly thanks to the need for repairs, so we'd never have 180 operational at one time anyway, let alone in a given theater.

                            Russia is turning a profit selling 126 MiG-35 Fulcrum-F's to India for 10 billion, including a 20 year service contract.

                            What good is it to drop your enemy four to one, if they outnumber you 8 to one?

                            "If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone, 'America died from a delusion that she has moral leadership." Will Rogers

                            by JesseCW on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 04:43:44 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm surprised the Air Force hasn't (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Stranded Wind

                            just kicked all the A-10s over to the Army.  They want to hog the fixed wings, but they don't want the Warthog.  Well, let the Army have the hog.

                            Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

                            by Anarchofascist on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 03:05:56 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  The GAU-8 Avenger. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          BachFan, Stranded Wind

                          30 mm exploding shells.

                          Nothing mini about that Gatling gun.

                          Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

                          by Anarchofascist on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 03:07:32 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

              •  I think some in the air-force lobbied for (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Stranded Wind

                bringing back the A-10 but apparently refitting the assembly line to start making them again (not to mention getting all the sub contractors to make its parts again) makes it actually more expensive than a new plane

          •  The F-35 is being made in three seperate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            variants. A carrier based navy plane, a vertical takeoff marine version, and an air-superiority air-force version. I guess the air-force version was slated to replace F-16's while the F-22 replaced the F-15.

            •  And the carrier based version replaces (0+ / 0-)

              the F/A-18, the Marine version replaces the A/V-8B.  And everything always supposedly replaces the A-10.

              And yes, the F-22 replaces the F-15.  But I haven't seen any indication why an F/B-22 (or something of the like) can't replace the F-15E.

              Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

              by Anarchofascist on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 03:28:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  F35 (7+ / 0-)
          is the McDonald of fighter jet. It's designed to make everybody happy at low cost. (F-16 replacement)

          F-22 is the big steak. Top of the line. But it's fighting enemy that doesn't exist and we are paying through the nose for the bleeding edge.

        •  No (6+ / 0-)

          Aren't the F-35 massively better technology?

          No. The F-35 uses different technology, because it has a different mission - and as a result, it can do more things.

          The F-22 is very much a single-role plane: it's an air superiority fighter. Meaning that its job is to make sure that other air assets - like bombers and drones - can act with impunity when it's on watch. Technically, this means that it needs very high air-to-air weapons performance, and some minimal air-to-ground weapons capability. At this job, it will be exceptionally good - without a doubt the best plane of its type ever made, and it's projected to stay that way for the next fifteen years or so.

          Does it need to be that good? That's a slightly different question. It's built to go up against high-performance Chinese and Russian fighters, but they have yet to be developed in significant numbers and quality, and even those that have been developed are so far behind the F-22.

          Can the F-35 do air superiority? Yes, but not as well. Still, mind you, better than what's out there now, but it won't be at the top of its game for that long.

          I once read that the F-22 was like the world's best nail gun. It does one thing incredibly well, to a level that may not be needed for a while, but it can't do much else. The F-35, on the other hand, is like a hammer - it will still get nails into wood (although not as good/quick/elegantly as a nail gun), but will do many other things too.

          Is the F-22 needed? That's a tough question, and I'd probably say no - but we've gone this far, so we may as well build some of them. I'm not a defense procurement specialist, and I recognize that it's a controversial plane in all respects. What no one disagrees on, however, is that it's an exceptional plane, and is miles and miles above any competition in its type.

          AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

          by Scipio on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:37:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How long before the chinese reverse engineer an (0+ / 0-)

            F-22 or we let the plans slip into their hands?

            Drug test Congress and Invade the Caymans.

            by JerichoJ8 on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 12:38:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Iwas thinking the same (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And if they did, they would build it in secret. China is building it military and is going largely unoticed. They are also strategically tieing up oil supplies, planning for the final days of cheap oil.

            •  Honestly, China is working on (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              an F-16 knockoff, more or less, as we speak.  It's not much to worry about.

              It's the Russian (with on again-off again Indian support) projects that we need to worry about.  They have shown willingness to sell to potential "enemies" of the U.S., and just one F-15 shoot-down by one of their products would be a great sales pitch.

              The Chinese are still, in all honesty, way, way behind on miltech, even with their successful spying and reverse engineering projects.

              I, personally, don't think the F-22 deserves to die.  I do, however, think the F-35 deserves to languish.  If we can establish total air supremacy with the F-22 (which can surely be at least somewhat air to ground capable, at least in terms of taking out serious SAM threats), then we don't need any better than F/A-18s, F-16s and F-15 Strike Eagles (along with Apaches and A-10s and Spookies -- and for that matter, B-52s and B-1s and B-2s) to maintain that strike-anywhere capability.

              In other words, I think if dollars are to be saved, it's with the F-35 boondoggle, which still has unit costs creeping upwards and is still not ready for primetime, not the F-22, which is definitively unparalleled at what it does and is going down in unit cost.

              (Meanwhile, the Eurofighter, the Rafale and the Gripen aren't really being sold to potential enemies.)

              Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

              by Anarchofascist on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 02:49:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Nope. It's the stripped-down "economy" model. (0+ / 0-)

          The F-22 is huge, with two engines, nothing-but-the-best electronics and the highest possible performance. The F-35 is much smaller with a single engine, plus STOVL (short take off/vertical landing) capacity for the Marines' version. The F-35 has much lower cruising speed, shorter range, less powerful & capable radar...etc.

          Back in the 1980's, the Air Force bought the much smaller and cheaper F-16 in huge numbers to complement the big, expensive F-15 Eagle fighter. And while the F-16 was beloved by military reform advocates like Pierre Sprey, in real world warfare it's actually been a bit of a disappointment. Turns out the much more capable radar/electronics and greater weapons load of the F-15 make the bigger plane far more useful in actual combat, particularly in bad weather. The elegant and sleek little F-16 is apparently a blast to fly in "canned" exercises over the sunny Nevada desert, but a lot less effective in cruddy weather 400 miles from home base.

      •  Um... (0+ / 0-)

        Generally, almost nothing but the building and the floors are useful when you switch on these things.

        Even the workers would have to be extensively retrained.

        It'd be easier to grab 10,000 day laborers, and start a F35 plant from scratch, than to switch over one making the F22s.

    •  incredibly inefficient stimulus (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      groggy, wonmug, JesseCW

      the first link you have says that the program employs 25,000 workers (which is probably wildly inflated, but even so).  i assume that the 95,000 jobs is an estimate from secondary effects of the employment - restaurants near the factory, etc. etc.

      but taking that first number at face value, the number of people directly employed by the program, we can see that this program is incredibly ineffective cost-wise.

      do the math: 181 planes at $361 MM a pop gives you $63.5 billion dollars total. that comes to $2,613,640 per job.  that same chunk of money could be used to pay 54.5 households at the median household income.  even if you were paying them to do the fabled keynesian task of digging holes and filling them in again, you'd still be better off than building raptors. especially considering that by their very nature weapons systems are destructive, doing nothing at all would be more constructive.

      now, even if we assumed that the cost was for a ten-year production run, we'd still be talking about hiring over 136,000 people at a rate that would make them the single breadwinner for their households.  and having the money go to more people in middle-class economic situations, would create far more added economic activity. but even at the same multiplier, you'd be looking at around 600,000 jobs instead of 95,000.

      and that's if we're only paying them to dig holes in the ground. imagine how much more we could boost the economy by building solar panels or electric cars (even if we gave them away!), or building up passenger and freight rail, or schools, or... you name it.

      so even as a naked welfare program, the F-22 (like most defense contractor projects) is still a colossal waste of money.

      l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

      by zeke L on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:55:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A fun plane to watch at Airshows ... (5+ / 0-)

    And fighter pilots think it is a gas to fly (so would I if they would let me)!  But does it REALLY have a mission?  If Gates says NO ... I am guessing that is the answer!

  •  Is Atlanta area has a major factory (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for producing this fighter? Cobb county is up in arms over a potential factory closure.

    Rabindranath Tagore-"Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand with a grip that kills it."

    by joy sinha on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:59:04 PM PST

    •  parts are built in 44 different states (6+ / 0-)

      the military-industrial complex is distributed broadly by design... and it's got nothing to do with surviving an enemy attack.  

    •  Republicans deliberately moved DoD industry (7+ / 0-)

      After the "Republican Revolution" in 1994, a not-very-secret strike force on Capitol Hill went about planning how to move as much military industry as possible from blue states (like California and Michigan) to red states (like Texas and Georgia) through appropriations bills, contract awards, and base closings.

      As a result, military spending now drives a huge chunk of the red-state welfare phenomenon (whereby red states get way more back in federal spending than they pay in taxes and blue states get way less back in federal spending than they pay in taxes).

      Its a reinforcing cycle, too - the employees of these factories all vote Republican to keep the gravy train going, helping to keep these red states red.

      Maybe the current Congress could address this...

      (If they're looking for guidance, the expression from "All the King's Men" comes to mind: "Give me the meat axe!")

      We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

      by Minerva on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:11:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. Marietta, GA (0+ / 0-)

      25 miles north of Atlanta is where the final assembly plant is for the F-22.  It is in Cobb County and they estimate it produces 2000 jobs there.  

      Obama would be perfect if he were a Cubs fan.

      by Georgia Liberal on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 06:05:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is akin to Japan's bridges to nowhere (7+ / 0-)

    Seriously, we need to stimulate, but productively.  I know the F-22 would create jobs, but to what effect?  To a product that we wouldn't use?  Further, an independent analysis from CNN showed that only 36k would possibly lose their jobs over this.  What's more likely is that those people would move to other projects within the company.  

  •  Its always been a stimulus program (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zeke L, wonmug, gchaucer2, JesseCW

    There was no other good reason to build it.

    Alas, military spending has low economic multiplier effects - the money doesn't cycle through the economy as many times as, say, hiring a teacher - so its a particularly bogus argument.

    (The backup argument is all the great technology spillover effects into the civilian economy - variations on the "NASA invented Tang!" bullshit.)

    I've always felt that Lockheed Martin and friends should get really creative and factor in the global economic stimulus from the demand to rebuild after all the destruction caused by these programs.  (Of course, killing lots of people is probably deflationary...)

    We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

    by Minerva on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:02:54 PM PST

    •  Grumman made aluminum canoes.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gchaucer2, kyril

      PLEASE donate to a global children's PEACE project: Chalk 4 Peace

      by RumsfeldResign on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:05:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kaman made electric guitars... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gchaucer2, kyril

        If we had developed another 12 or 13 military helicopter programs, who knows what other cool stuff they might have come up with besides the guitars...

        We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

        by Minerva on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:12:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  technology transfer (0+ / 0-)

      i seriously disagree with your take on technological development, as that was a very real factor in our economic dominance for most of the second half of the twentieth century.  however, it typically does not apply to military programs because the technology is kept under lock and key as a state secret (or worse, "proprietary" to the contractor) which neuters the economic advantage you get from developing the technology and keeps it from cross-fertilizing with other development.

      but your points about military spending having a low multiplier effect are spot-on.

      l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

      by zeke L on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 09:04:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  NO MORE MANED FIGHTERS... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It doesn't make any sense to build large manned fighters when the drones are so successful.

    Build more drones with better capabilities...

    The same should go for unmanned vehicles to clear IED heavy areas for manned vehicles.

    •  Plus the manes cause aerodynamic drag (4+ / 0-)

      And all the hair is kind of a hazard for the jet engine intakes...

      We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

      by Minerva on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:13:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good idea but: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob, Stranded Wind

      I think for the foreseeable future, drone aircraft will all be remotely commanded rather than autonomous, and air superiority or close-support aircraft, remotely piloted. The fear of letting a machine (or human distance from the actual weapons) lead the chain of command into authorizing an attack on friendly or at least non-hostile targets is pretty strong, and probably not without reason.

      Problem is, piloting a drone might be cheaper in cash than piloting a fighter aircraft; yet it's more expensive in manpower, because remote control is (supposedly) quite demanding on the brain in ways that actual hand-on-the-stick flying isn't. If you're in the real cockpit, you have much more sensory feedback and such from the airframe than just visual straight-ahead feedback and instruments. It used to be that you could feel things through the controls directly, but with more and more fly-by-wire stuff rather than hydraulics, that's fading.

      So for a flight taking a few hours that would normally require only one pilot per aircraft, you might need two or three to keep people's brains from leaking out their ears with the effort of extrapolating flying cues from the narrow-band sensory feedback provided by the aircraft's onboard sensors.

      Ask not any question of the Eldar; for they will give you three answers, all of which are true, and all terrifying to know.

      by Shaviv on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:24:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Show Me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob, Stranded Wind

      A drone that's capable of air-to-air combat (which is what the F-22 is designed for). Things like surveillance are pretty easy for UAVs - the planes basically fly in a circle, point a video camera, and fire off a Hellfire when ordered. Air superiority - which is what the F-22 is designed to achieve - involves somewhat more difficult flying and responding, and a whole lot more pilot input.

      As for the fighters being so large, the pilot doesn't dictate that all that much. Air-to-air combat requires very large engines and fuel reserves, and a particular wing geometry to get the performance (in all respects) that's required. If you pulled out the pilot out of a fighter, the design wouldn't change all that much.

      AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

      by Scipio on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:46:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Drones Can't Dogfight.... Yet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stranded Wind

      And even if & when we do create ones that can, betting everything on UCAVs might create other problems. The F-22 is designed to be an air superiority fighter. The delay (even a slight one) in the comm link between operator & drone could make air-to-air engagements tricky for a UCAV.

      All of this also presumes an enemy will never find a way to jam or hack the communication between the drone & its operator. It's extremely hard to do, but not beyond the realm of possibility. If an enemy could, it would make billions in development & procurement of a drone worthless.

      •  We haven't dogfighted (dogfought?)... (0+ / 0-)

        Since Korea.

        Modern jets fire off a missile before the other plane is within visual range.

        •  Winner: Most Uninformed Ater Midnight Comment. NT (0+ / 0-)
        •  Wrong!! And here is the long answer ... (0+ / 0-)

          We did do dogfighting during Vietnam, and our navy and AF traning is geared TO dogfight, but with the addition of Missiles.  

          Yes, jets can fire missiles beyond visual range.  But, in Vietnam the Rules of engagement usually did not allow that due to fears of friendly fire accidents. Plus, we found that missiles of that day SUCKED.  The radar guided Sparrows were terrible and missed most of the time. The Sidewinder heat seeker missile was better, but it was a short range missile always fired within visual range.  

          Your statement WAS the AF doctrine developed in the 1950s.  They built all missile fighters like the F-4.  And in the early part of the Vietnam air war we were getting our butts kicked by the North Vietnamese Air force. They were loosing to us by only 2 of their planes for every one of ours shot down.. and ours were a hell of a lot more expensive.. vs the usually quoted Korean War 10 to 1 of the F-86 vs the MIG-15.  The Air Force ended up developing a 20mm Vulcan cannon pod for the F-4 for this reason so it could gun down Migs in Nam...

          The direct reason for the Top Gun program for the Navy and the Red Flag program for the Air Force was the failure of missile only fighters in Vietnam. The Services realized they had to go back to teaching dogfighting to our pilots.  It also led to the F-16 and F-15 air superiority aircraft, although both were later upgraded to do air to ground also...

          •  Things have changed since the late 60s. (0+ / 0-)

            The F22 and F35 will never be shooting down other planes with guns. Sorry.

            Maybe you're right, but you only bumped the date up by 10 years.

            Drones are the answer. Onboard pilots don't make alot of sense.

          •  The numbers from Korea are BS, BTW (0+ / 0-)

            The number of MIG-15s we claim to have shot down in Korea were double total Soviet production.

            Of Course, they claimed to have essentialy shot down our entire Air Force twice.

            "If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone, 'America died from a delusion that she has moral leadership." Will Rogers

            by JesseCW on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 04:54:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  then who will deactivate skynet? (0+ / 0-)

      surely the drones cannot be trusted.

      troll rated for football!!!

      by superHappyInDC on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:20:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "The wars of the future (0+ / 0-)

      will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots.

      Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

      by Anarchofascist on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 03:11:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  wasn't there a radio ad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    calling it a stimulus?

    seem to recall hearing an ad on WTOP talking about how the F-22 program employs so many people, etc...helps the economy, etc

    PLEASE donate to a global children's PEACE project: Chalk 4 Peace

    by RumsfeldResign on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:04:29 PM PST

  •  Isuggest funding something useful like energy (8+ / 0-)

    transportation, education, and health care like Obama has suggested all along.  You save money by cutting programs that produce nothing tangible.  this program isn't stimulus, it really IS pork.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:05:07 PM PST

  •  Let's waste billions to prove a political point (3+ / 0-)

    Grand idea!  Almost as bad as Rush wanting the Obama and the country to fail to prove his theories.

  •  Well At least the computers don't blow their (0+ / 0-)

    brains out when the plane crosses the Date line-Anymore.

    The GOP has resorted to Cannibalism. Please send Condiments to GOP HQ

    by JML9999 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:09:23 PM PST

  •  we need updated fixed wing gunships (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Citizen, AmbroseBurnside

    The F-22 is for a foe we defeated long ago. Some is good, but we're about to get ourselves into a pickle with our fixed wing gunship fleet.

    I'm an Emersonian Transcendentalist. What's your excuse?

    by Stranded Wind on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:10:37 PM PST

  •  Defense is not a great jobs program (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zeke L, Wilberforce, haruki, JesseCW

    The cost per employee is huge.

    By comparison, building roads has a much higher ratio of jobs created per dollar.

  •  A failure of imagination (6+ / 0-)

    and lack of trust in a workforce is the only justification for continuing this overpriced boondoggle.  If the automotive industry in 1940 could completely retool for military production, the reverse is also possible and many of the same skill sets can be utilized.  Production of high speed trains, wind turbines, more effective batteries, etc. are in the realm of possibility.  You still need fabricators, welders, riveters, engineers, designers, et al.  These are not stupid people.  

    Henry Ford retrained his workforce to make the B-24 and had the first one out the door in 9 months.  If we treated the economy as a crisis comparable to war and invested in re-training and re-tooling facilities, the money would be better spent.

    Keeping people employed making a plane that is basically outdated is comparable to continuing to make buggies and rotary dial phones just to keep people employed.

    You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race. - G.B. Shaw, "Misalliance"

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:24:03 PM PST

    •  uh, no... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The trouble with the F-22 is not that it is outdated, at least in the technological sense.  It is that it is LIGHT YEARS AHEAD OF ANY OTHER FIGHTER OR POTENTIAL FIGHTER WE MIGHT FACE.  

      Think Luke Skywalker's X wing fighter vs WWII prop fighters.  That is how far ahead the F-22 is.  

      Mighty nice.. But one of the Nine principles of War is Economy of Force.. Use what you need to succeed, but no more... Over spending for a weapons platform far beyond what your enemy spends is counter productive.  A great example is the German Tiger Tank of WWII.  IT WAS GREAT.. ALMOST IMPERVIOUS TO THE BRITISH,AMERICAN,AND RUSSIAN TANKS THAT FACED IT... It's powerful 88mm gun could destroy any of them with one solid hit.  But;

      It was terribly expensive,and technilogically superior but difficult to build and less than 2000 Tiger I and Tiger IIs were built..vs the US built over 50,000 variants of the M-4 Sherman tank.  The tiger might take out the first 3 or 4 of the Shermans sent against it... but the faster and more manuverable Sherman could eventually manuver where several of them could overwhelm the tiger.  

      At 390 million for just ONE F-22, it is just too damned expensive.  Brand new F-15's are estimated to cost from 40 to 70 million, depending how much you load them up with the newest electronics for Air to Air and Electronic Jamming.  So for the cost of one F-22 you can get 5 to 10 F-15s.  Considering the F-15 has never been shot down in air combat, and is still very competative vs the newest Russian fighters, why spend so much for just one aircraft?

      And as a former ground pounder (US Army) it irks me when we still havent got the personal armor that is best for our troops in Afghanistan or Iraq, and all the early shortages of weapons and equipment in the early period of the war...

      How much armor could we get for our ground troops for 390 million dollars??

      We should keep the F-22s we have, and however few more SecDef Gates decides we need, but we dont need hundreds more of them. They will be nice to have around, and can serve as test beds for the next generation of air superiority fighters, but they cost too damned much...

      •  Your prices are wrong. (0+ / 0-)

        You can't divide the program cost by the number built to get the current unit cost.  A new Raptor costs 137.5 million, not 390 million.  A large contract would probably bring that down a little more.  But you can't get 5-10 F-15s for the price of one F-22, you get 2-3.

        Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

        by Anarchofascist on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 03:01:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the point... (0+ / 0-)

          you still get 2-3 very capable aircraft for the price of one F-22.  

          This reminds me of the bomber gap of the early 50's, and then the ICBM missile gap of 1959-60.  The big bad soviets were building thousands of Bear bombers.

          They built 500.  We built 744 B-52s and 2032 B-47s. Some gap.

          The missile gap was even worse.  Kennedy ran against Nixon on the supposed missile gap.  Nixon could not reveal top secret data that there was no gap, that actually we had more.  

          When our first spy sat went up, the pictures showed the Soviets had only 4 active ICBMs.  We had 80 plus...

          Ike was right about the Military industrial complex...

  •  We need it!! (8+ / 0-)

    As our enemies continue to make advances in such fields as cave dwelling and beard growing, we must continue our crippling investments in these high-tech military technologies.

    Recovering Intellectual. 12 days stupid.

    by scionkirk on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:25:36 PM PST

  •  F-22 - high speed AWACS (0+ / 0-)

    Besides being a ferocious fighter in its own right the F-22 embeds many of the functions of the E-3 Sentry and RC-135 Rivet Joint. Instead of a plodding four engined machine the F-22 can perform those functions while moving with a package of fast fighters and strike aircraft.

    The F-35 is a flexible, multi-role machine. The future will be clusters of F-35 led by an F-22.

     That is unless our economy totally crashes and we limp forward with aging F-15s and F-16s.

    I'm an Emersonian Transcendentalist. What's your excuse?

    by Stranded Wind on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:27:20 PM PST

    •  Is that true? (0+ / 0-)

      There's a saying about machines designed to do everything, which is that they aren't really particularly good at anything.

      Missile corvettes aren't much good in a prolonged encounter, for example, and while battleships may be good at staying in the fight, and terrifying if you're on the wrong end of one, they're also vulnerable to air power and missiles.

      I'm going to suggest, also, that the role of high-flying heavy air support in state-on-state conflict is going to decrease, as better anti-aircraft weapons (such as lasers) enter the field.

      Ask not any question of the Eldar; for they will give you three answers, all of which are true, and all terrifying to know.

      by Shaviv on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:42:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  huh? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We have frigates that formerly bore missiles which are now guns & torpedoes only. We have Aegis destroyers and they pack nearly as much punch on the missile front as our Aegis cruises. I wrote about this at length last year:

         Our last battleships were retired a couple of years ago. Congress frequently grouses about our lack of shore bombardment capability. I see things here and there about larger caliber guns for our destroyers and cruisers but it hasn't happened yet.

        Anti-aircraft lasers are going to happen about the time we draw all our power from space based solar - in other words never. We've reached the pinnacle of military technology - peak oil is going to cause lots of fighting, but old fashion methods will be best.

         I agree with the idea that state on state conflicts are going to decrease but there will be a concurrent rise in troubles along the lines of what we see in the Niger River delta.

        I'm an Emersonian Transcendentalist. What's your excuse?

        by Stranded Wind on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:54:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What makes you feel that lasers (0+ / 0-)

          will never become portable or powerful enough to interfere with aircraft? Serious question.

          Ask not any question of the Eldar; for they will give you three answers, all of which are true, and all terrifying to know.

          by Shaviv on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 09:05:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  one shot, 747 sized (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The only ones I ever see are the things that are chemical single shots that require a four engined jet to haul them. Anti-aircraft duties are always going to be a mix of missiles and guns for close in work.

            I'm an Emersonian Transcendentalist. What's your excuse?

            by Stranded Wind on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 09:11:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Chemical lasers were 1980s. (0+ / 0-)

              We're less than a decade away from a solid state laser suitable for fighter jets (presumably as some sort of ground attack).

              Bigger ones suitable of the 747 stuff won't be far behind.

            •  I was thinking of something electric, solid-state (0+ / 0-)

              that could be forklifted onto the back of a flat-bed truck, or at most, two trucks. Just an electric generator, the laser itself, and a beam director. It wouldn't have to be so powerful as to actually burn a hole through things, but being bright enough or hot enough to damage sensors (or eyes) would make it dangerous.

              I think also that a passive optical scan-and-track system was designed and fielded on aircraft by the 1980s, which minimizes the threat from radar-hunting missiles and the like.

              It would be in the interest of anyone faced with superior aerial firepower to invest in the R&D for a laser that develops a few MW in a band that doesn't cause too much blooming, and use that instead of fighter aircraft to deter high-flying attack craft like heavy bombers.

              Ask not any question of the Eldar; for they will give you three answers, all of which are true, and all terrifying to know.

              by Shaviv on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 09:12:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  more like the F-22 Craptor n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tbetz, superHappyInDC

    friend good, fire bad.

    by ericlewis0 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:28:36 PM PST

  •  We Need to Reassign Much of the MIC Itself (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, Stranded Wind

    to climate change and energy independence.

    They only know how to work on Missions We Can't Refuse. Well, these 2 new ones are just that, they need the hyping the MIC knows how to accomplish to make knives seem like nukes, and we can never stop increasing their budget.

    So let's put entire sectors of them onto some missions the planet actually needs accomplishing.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:43:07 PM PST

  •  Please excuse me while I puke. (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    illegal, n. A term used by descendents of European immigrants to refer to descendants of Indigenous Americans

    by ricardomath on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:43:15 PM PST

  •  The F22-Stimuli (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    doesn't even have to fly as long as repubs get their paychecks.

    The limit of the sum equals the sum of the limits. Donate to Tribal College Math Programs.

    by qi motuoche on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:58:40 PM PST

  •  No way.. (0+ / 0-)

    this is one of the least progressive diaries I've seen here. I think you meant to post this at

    We need realistic defense spending, and a greater purpose than "we might lose some jobs" if bad programs are cut. Puhleaze.

  •  Uh, one other thing. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, arodb, sesquitastic, WestDem

    At the risk of rehashing the above comments here, let me offer my own take.

    Like it or not we have an Air Force that still seems to have some usefulness, and some situations where there are no alternatives. Just because the Soviet Union is gone does not mean there are no longer any threats to worry about vis a vis air power.

    The unfortunate fact is that the current fleet of aircraft the U.S. relies on every day is wearing out - literally.

    It's not just fighters either. Tankers, transports, surveillance, bombers, etc. are all getting older. The B-52 fleet is older now than most of the pilots that fly them. Military aircraft have finite lives before they become unsafe to fly and have to be grounded.

    Like it or not the F-22 is coming down the pipeline at a time when we really have to to replace F-15s  - and the F-22 is it. It's not just a jobs program; it's about being able to keep the Air Force operating.

    Now the F-35 is being put forward by some as the plane that should be the one for the Air Force to concentrate its buying power on, but the problem is, it's an apple-oranges things. The F-22 and the F-35 are not equivalent. The F-35 is a multi-role aircraft still some ways from being ready to deploy - and it's more a replacement for the F-16.

    To look at the F-22 as an isolated program is 1) to fail to consider that the Air Force needs a balanced mix of aircraft for all of the roles it has to carry out, 2) we are running out of time to make a decision because the current fleet is wearing out, 3) it's not just a jobs program - it's also about maintaining technological capabilities and a human expertise base, and 4) we have to remember that this is for the long term - we could be relying on these aircraft for decades - if we have them.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 09:12:04 PM PST

    •  Uh, no... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Big Nit Attack, JesseCW

      What we need to do is keep the F-22s  we have, plus MAYBE a FEW more.  

      We need to reopen the F-15 assembly line, put in the vectored thrust from the F-22, plus it's ECM gear.  Hell, we are building brand new F-15S models for South Korea RIGHT NOW.

      Why not build a proven, much less expensive fighter for now, since nobody has been able to beat it in combat, keep the F-22s we have for any suprises, and for testbeds for future development.  

      We can build 5 to 10 F-15s for the cost of one F-22.  Remember the old maxim,


  •  We need the stimulus to create (0+ / 0-)

    immediate and future jobs.  The F-22 raptor is an instrument of the past, both of policy and ideology.  It needs to be shut down and the money spent on schools, green technology and infrastructure.  We have thrown enough money down the shithole of war.  There is no future in that.

  •  F-22 needed to take on the vaunted taliban (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, california keefer, JesseCW

    airforce. Their Extended cab 4x4 tacomas can't supercruise with out going to afterburner. We need to take advantage of this shortcoming  and implement this mission critical capability to meet today's 21st century battlefield objectives.

    troll rated for football!!!

    by superHappyInDC on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:15:46 PM PST

  •  Weapons are an ineffective stimulus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, JesseCW

    We should base our defense spending on what we need to have to defend the country. Defense contractors should be seen as foxes who want to guard the chicken coop, there's a massive conflict of interest.

    We could throw money at unneeded military projects, and it would creat some jobs, but most of the money winds up in corporate pockets. And at the end, we don't have something useful.

    But if we spend money on repairing bridges, building schools, upgrading the electic grid, and green power, not only do we create jobs, but we have useful results that keep providing benefits after they are built.

  •  Sharks that shoot friggin lasers.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, JesseCW

    ....out of their eyes.

    That's real stimulus.

  •  Stop the nonsense - invest in schools !!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, JesseCW, Hugh Manbeeng

    universities, energy and health care. Wrong priorities. Period. Time to get things straighten out and build the peace the world needs. I am truly sorry for people who will lose jobs related to the F22, but this was wrong from the start. The US has won military actions like in Iraq, where the F22 never flew (!), but lost the peace. We need to learn to build the peace and it starts at home.

    I am reading all this fear mongering nonsense about our enemies, but in fact, we are our greatest enemies. The US obsession with the military has led to a decline in all other areas of our civil society. In fact, we are hopelessly behind. Todays US infrastructure is a joke. Only people who never traveled beyond Alaska and don't even own a passport have not noticed that Asian and European airports and trains appearing to come out one of Lukas' movies are real and being used every day. We are behind in education. Worldwide behind most industrial and Asian countries in school performance. Anyone who is serving in admission committees of universities in this country knows from experience that most Asian applicants outscore Americans by a wide margin. I think that the discrepancy between military might and neglect in most civil areas has become America's greatest weakness. This needs to be corrected and the F-22 is a good beginning.

  •  Year 38 since we've set foot on the Moon. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And we're spending billions of dollars building planes we won't use to fight enemies that don't exist.

    Yearn for the horizon.

    by Troubadour on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 12:10:20 AM PST

  •  Quesions about those jets and weapon (0+ / 0-)

    If Russia were to unleash nukes at us , would those jets be able to intercept the nuke warheads heading our direction and blow them up before they reach mainland U.S?

    Would the F-22 or F-35 have such capacity?

  •  I live in Marietta, GA (0+ / 0-)

    where the F-22 is assembled by Lockheed Martin.  Jobs is really the only thing that the gooper senators and reps from here talk about concerning the Raptor.  Marietta would lose 2000 jobs if the nlines were shut down.  But I have to ask, how many jobs would be created by using that money to do something else.  All of these goopers voted agasinst the stimulus bill but will defend to the death this costly and unneeded program.  The F-22 is pure pork.  It has never flown a combat mission.

    Obama would be perfect if he were a Cubs fan.

    by Georgia Liberal on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 05:47:25 AM PST

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