When does F-22 praise imply F-35 criticism?

When does a word of praise for the F-22 imply a latent critique of the F-35?

Consider the following statements by Senator Saxby Chambliss. It’s from a press release on 16 January. Forty-four senators have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama  to continue F-22 production.


Some have suggested filling the remaining F-22 requirement with otheraircraft, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  However, the F-35 isdesigned for multi-role strike missions and not optimized for the airdominance missions of the F-22.

Fair point. The next paragraph is where it gets interesting.


Further, we must not overlook the fact that our potential adversariesare increasing their air combat capabilities both in terms oftechnology and numbers of aircraft.  Several have announced that theyare developing stealthy, twin-engine, high-altitude, fifth generationfighters that will reach production within the next five to tenyears.   Additionally, sophisticated and highly lethal air defensesystems such as the SA-20, and S-300/400 are proliferating worldwideresulting in the possible requirement to achieve air dominance inmultiple theaters simultaneously.

Extending the logic, a perhaps unstated assumption is the F-35 can’t stand-up to the next generation of air- or ground-based threats, but the F-22 can. Or is it?

Read a certain way, Chambliss’s letter in defense of the F-22 is not logically far removed from the outspoken critiques of the F-35 by the Air Power Australia crowd.

Read the full letter on the jump.

January 16, 2009
 
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President-Elect of the United States
The President’s Transition Team
Washington, DC 20270
 
Dear President-elect Obama:
 
The fiscal year 2009 National Defense Authorization Act requiresyour certification on continued F-22 production by March 1, 2009.   Weurge your certification of continued production of the F-22 Raptor. The F-22 Raptor is the nation’s most capable fighter and the world’s onlyoperational fifth generation fighter aircraft in full-rateproduction.   The F-22 is a model production line and, since full-rateproduction began, the unit flyaway cost has decreased 35 percent. 
 
The F-22 is optimized to achieve the air dominance necessary toprotect our joint fighting forces in any future conflict.  However, afleet of 183 aircraft, the current program of record, is insufficientto meet potential threats.  After accounting for test, training, andmaintenance aircraft, only about 100 F-22s would be immediatelyavailable for combat at any given time.   Even those who don’t supportcontinued production of the F-22 agree that to sustain the currentlyplanned level of combat-coded aircraft over the life of the programwill require an additional lot of aircraft.  In fact, 30+ air campaignstudies completed over the last 15 years have validated a requirementfor far more than 183 F-22 Raptors to replace the original force of 800F-15 A-D Eagles.  Some have suggested filling the remaining F-22requirement with other aircraft, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. However, the F-35 is designed for multi-role strike missions and notoptimized for the air dominance missions of the F-22. 
 
Further, we must not overlook the fact that our potentialadversaries are increasing their air combat capabilities both in termsof technology and numbers of aircraft.  Several have announced thatthey are developing stealthy, twin-engine, high-altitude, fifthgeneration fighters that will reach production within the next five toten years.   Additionally, sophisticated and highly lethal air defensesystems such as the SA-20, and S-300/400 are proliferating worldwideresulting in the possible requirement to achieve air dominance inmultiple theaters simultaneously.
 
The F-22 program annually provides over $12 billion of economicactivity to the national economy, it fulfills a validated Air Forcerequirement, and it helps to sustain our strong national defenseindustrial base.  If this certification is not provided, layoffs willbegin as this critical supplier base shuts down, and it will quicklybecome expensive or perhaps impossible to reconstitute in the event theDepartment of Defense chooses to procure additional F-22′s at a laterdate.   Furthermore, certifying continued production by March 2009 willenable production to continue while the Department undertakes a morein-depth analysis of the F-22 requirement in the 2009 QuadrennialDefense Review (QDR).
Over 25,000 Americans work for the 1,000+ suppliers in 44 statesthat manufacture the F-22.  Moreover, it is estimated that another70,000 additional Americans indirectly owe their jobs to this program. As we face one of the most trying economic times in recent history itis critical to preserve existing high paying, specialized jobs that arecritical to our nation’s defense.  
 
With these things in mind, we urge you to expeditiously certifythat continued production is in the economic and national interest ofthe United States of America.   

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4 Responses to When does F-22 praise imply F-35 criticism?

  1. airplanejim 22 January, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    Saxby Chamblis doesn’t know an aileron from a ground power cart so his comments on the F-22 are pure politics and a cheer for the home crowd.

  2. Stephen Trimble 22 January, 2009 at 11:53 am #

    I strongly suspect Senator Chambliss did not write the document. It was very likely written either by his staff or Lockheed Martin’s “government relations” (read: lobbyists) staff, or both. And they would know.

  3. Patrick Harding 23 January, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    I hate to sound like a rube here, but why does it take 25,000 people to build 183 aircraft in over twenty years? Not to mention the other 70,000 indirect jobs created. This would seem to make Ford look efficient, and we saw what the American people thought of them asking for a handout. The defense contractors should stick to the “national interest” argument more than the “economic” interest. It seems a thorough audit of all of these workers’ timesheets might be within the “economic interest” more than the continued production of the F-22. The lack of competition in the defense industrial base is the real problem here – you can’t have three companies build two types of competing aircraft that eat up one third to one half of the Air Force’s procurement budget fairly consistently for about a decade. The F-22 is a great airplane (the best), we just don’t have an option to see if there is anything as good, better and at a lesser cost. If the JSF was built by an entirely different defense contractor would it have put more pressure on the F-22 program? How come our enemies can pump out so many “capable” aircraft and double-digit SAMs without a problem? This letter raises more hard questions for the new Administration to ask than it does provide a clear argument for them doing what is asked. Ever since the “Last Supper” the defense industry has eaten DoD’s lunch.

  4. Seattle General Contractors 25 June, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    Excellent job.

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