Raptor watch – Lockheed’s F-22 fights for relevancy

Lockheed has posted this new video on youtube, entitled “F-22: Operational, Relevant, Revolutionary”. I don’t remember relevant as being one of the defining characteristics of a fifth-generation fighter, but maybe it needs to be. After all, US defence secretary Robert Gates did a pretty good job of damning the F-22 with faint praise last week when he told Congress:

“The reality is we are fighting two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the F-22 has not performed a single mission in either theatre. So it is principally for use against a near peer in a conflict, and I think we all know who that is. And looking at what I regard as the level of risk of conflict with one of those near peers over the next four or five years, until the Joint Strike Fighter comes along, I think that something along the lines of 183 is a reasonable buy.”

The US Air Force wants 381 Raptors, but Gates and his deputy Gordon England think somewhere around 183 is the right number. “My concern is that the F-22 is $140 million a copy and the Joint Strike Fighter will be about half that, about $77 million a copy. And so my worry is that if the F-22 production is expanded, that it will come at the expense of the Joint Strike Fighter,” Gates told Congress.

Sensible words, I think. Meanwhile my colleague Steve Trimble over the The DEW Line is taking a closer look at those questioning Gordon England’s motives in trying to kill the F-22…

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One Response to Raptor watch – Lockheed’s F-22 fights for relevancy

  1. Daverino 13 February, 2008 at 9:31 am #

    In their attempts to convince us of the Raptor’s relevance, Lockheed is highlighting the obvious… This otherwise excellent warbird is of little use in the two wars we are fighting right now, yet the Air Force is fighting hard to spend scarce resources on it.

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