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This is The DEW Line’s first poll and we’re starting it with a double. I want to know what you think the USAF leadership WILL do, and, secondly, what you think they SHOULD do.
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The real answer isn’t on the poll. Basically the USAF is trying dump legacy F-15/F-16 aircraft to pay for an unaffordable F-35 program while trying to back door the F-22. It almost looks like a losing gambler at the casino going all in because he has already lost too much. So all the chips are down on the F-35 program that has only had about 63 flights total in 3 years, has amassed numerous significant design problems, and continues to increase in both development and unit price. And while not nearly as capable as the F-22 is starting to approaching it in cost (http://www.afa.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/IssueBriefs/F-22_v_F-35_Comparison.pdf ) . But if you built a lot more F-22s their price would likely reach parity with F-35′s real cost (you can fill in numbers with F-15s or F-16s if needed). On top of this, the F-35 will still have technology that we would not want compromise in a GWOT conflict, so it is the low end solution that you still can’t afford to lose. Any way you cut it it will still be moreaffordable than spending $300-340B on F-35. If you look closely at it you could likely save $100B by killing F-35 and buying 500 more F-22s and more legacy aircraft. Then you could address bomber, jammer and new weapons that are also needed.
Okay, so one vote for option #5: cancel F-35, restore F-22 to original 750-aircraft fleet or so and backfill with legacy aircraft.
But what do you think the USAF leadership WILL do?
Cancellation of the F-35 would certainly not make some of the international partners very happy. I wonder what the fly-away price would be if you wrapped the the international numbers into the F-22.
(Yes I know High LO tech is not exported, I’m just curious.)
Would international partners really mind an F-35 cancellation? There seems to be a lot of concern over unit costs. GB needs the STOVL version for its carriers, but the rest aren’t exactly running to the front of the line to get their hands on the aircraft.
Put me down for Answer #5, just like Weaponhead. The Block 60 F-16 can be the junior partner in the hi-lo mix for the 21st century. Although I would build more F-22s, I think 750 is way over-inflated, given current (and prospective) threats. Restoring to 381 seems more reasonable to me, with the pressing needs for KC-X, more C-17s/C-5 AMP, etc.
Why do people keep suggesting canceling the F-35. Their will not be another aircraft fielded better then the F-35 (other then the F-22 in the air superiority) role for another 15-20 years. 15-20 years is now the time it takes to design, develop, test, and manufacture a modern fighter. People that think they should cancel the F-35 in favor of more F-22 don’t understand how the F-35 works and how it will be used operationally. The F-22 is not capable of flying the mission of the F-35 and lacks the close air support, STOL/VTOL and naval capabilities of the F-35A, B, and C. To propose ordering more F-22’s at the expense of more F-35’s is basically boarding on sheer lunacy.
I write this as an interested onlooker rather than someone who’s informed, but – notionally, at least – is it reasonable to get a few F-22s and F-35 for times of stealth, but base most of the purchasing on the Eurofighter Typhoon (good in both the AtoA and Attack rolls) until the 6th Gen stuff comes on-line. (I know this assumes a lot of politics, politicians, and economics, but – would this work as a superior solution?)
We could just leave the f-22 and f-35 as is and spend more on uav’s–they are the future. 16′s, super 18′s could be used to fill the gap as suggested, but we need the uav’s to fight in the now and in the future wars we will see. A USAF general once commented that future fighter pilots are going to be pizza eating pepsi drinking teens? And cheap to train! Great for the fast food industry? Barry
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There are no real options. It’s f-35 or nothing. There will never be GEn 6 manned fighters.
Working with what is The f-35 is not a fighter not a bomber”aka “strike”..it’s a manned ISR the only problem is it’s missing the other man.In the name of gutting every aspect of aircraft industries “second engine gone” second fighter aircraft Builder gone”..Well trained teamed air crews gone.That’s a lot gone.
Given that the f-35 is nothing more than a vacuum cleaner of electronic signals that can carry 15 G plus missiles no worries about gutting” all the good weight” and who worries about such mundane fighter details as speed turn rates acceleration an so on.
Why a second man needed when we can just pass off the Intel to ground stations at a central command center.
Why would the US Army have Fuel trucks driving all around the desert when you can have one central filling station feed by pipeline from tankers ships sitting off the coast. Less risk to men no need for truck builders use oil pipeline workers instead of Military personal to maintain them at reduce cost with robots service and computerized control values.. seems to make real Military Industrial sense to me.
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