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Author Topic: End of the F-22 Program.
Redskullvw
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Ok so the idea of the War on Terror no longer being a war, and Enemy Combatants being hostilely motivated individuals is pretty much semantics and style over accuracy.

But seeing as the Russians and Chinese are expanding their plane developments and production, and the fact that our current fleet of combat aircraft date in the middle 1970's and that it often takes 10 to get a new combat aircraft deployed and competently prepared- why then is the Obama administration deciding to cancel the completion of the F-22?

It took from 1981 until 2004 before the first F-22 could be delivered. 23 years for those who are counting. Ten of which was design. ten more were competitive comparison and bidding. And nearly five years setting up the assembly and actually building one. And now we have an max order of 187 planes? 183 of which have already been built?

You are telling me that the current air fleet of the US Air Force which is only marginally better than the latest Russian designs, that was going to be replaced by the F-22 instead is also going to be mothballed leaving the Air Force with only 183 F/A combat planes in the entire inventory?

183 with NO SPARE PARTS??!??!

WTF is this President doing?

His economics policy still deserves a year or two before we start seeing what full effect it has. But this decision to go ahead with the final retirement of the F-15, F-14, F-18, and a couple other systems already on the chalk board exactly how are we suppossed to even fly patrol alerts over our own airspace???


OH MY GOD!!!! Barney Frank is the one who led the charge to eliminate the F-22!!! Including not even having SPARE PARTS!!!!!

Sorry but this bodes badly for the future of this country. When you are forced to retire an air system because of its age, and then even before you have replaced the old air system, you decide to cancel the aircraft that it was supposed to be replaced with-- and there is no other air system in any stage of development to make up the gap in capabilities-- then either you are simply being politically motivated or you are a moron when it comes to military combat systems in the most rudimentary of understandings.

The world is a dangerous place. Soon all that will stand between you and the rest of a crazed world will be 187 F-22's to serve as both fighter and support bomber in the place of over 1000 other combat planes. Not to mention the fact that given a willingness, 200 enemy combat planes could conceivable take over control of our domestic airspace.

China and Russia have 1000's of combat fighters. You want to destroy your ability to speak softly but get listened to because you have the biggest stick? Then you should make sure that when you are TARPING your grandchildren into financial ruination, the least you should do to be responsible is pay for the weapon's system that MIGHT protect them from their national creditors when they come to extract actual material wealth from what is left of our country since T-Bills won't be worth squat.

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Colin JM0397
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It would be like paying off 95% of your mortgage and then giving the house back to the bank... And not having anywhere else to live!

Being a former ground-pounder and the nature of 4th generation warfare, I wasn't overly happy about the amount of $$ poured into it (should have gone towards boots-on-the-ground applications). However at this point this is quite idiotic to scrap… Beyond idiotic if you factor in the ageing fleet and the fact that the F-22 was supposed to replace everything. A sea version and VTOL versions were supposed to replace the F-14 and F/A-18, and the Air Force version was to replace the F-15 and F-16. If it is supposed to do light bombing, probably also would replace the F-111. Not sure about the A-10’s, though.

Doesn't sound quite that bad, though (although I assume Red watched the testimony), so this article might be a little off:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aVvHsMfAVWr4&refer=us

Perhaps looking to put all our planes in one basket: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-35_Lightning_II

[ April 06, 2009, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]

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Redskullvw
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Its was intended to replace everything in the small plane combat inventory except for the A-10. The A-10 of course being the ground attack endurance plane in our inventory. About the time the B-52 is being retired, the A-10 will be retired around 2030 A.D. giving it a 63 year run from start to finish. The B-52 may be the first and only combat air frame to stay on active duty for 100 years. The A-10 will pass the German 109e in service length to get to #2 on the all time all country list.

But then the A-10 and the B-52 are so hyper specialized that there really isn't anything short of a revolutionary step in development that could replace it. The B-52 and A-10 prove to be the exceptions to the rule that most combat aircraft spend less than 20 years deployed frontline- and even less so if they get deployed at war time.

But the inventory by 2020 was supposed to be F-22 planes, B-2 bombers, B-52 Superforts, A-10 Thunderbolts, and YF-35 variants for the Navy and Marines.

Everything else in the combat inventory is already past retirement grounding or has such a slim margin of performance compared to Russian and Chinese systems, that you cannot continue assuming we can continue using these now 40 year olf front line systems to establish or maintain combat air superiority.

This has got to be one of the most bone headed moves I have ever seen in military history. I mean this is Maginot Line fixed bore sighting cannons type boneheadedness.

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KnightEnder
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No!!!! [Mad]

KE

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cherrypoptart
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This is a play from the Madeline Albright school of diplomacy, which advocated that America relinquish our dominance and let the Chinese, Russians, and other countries do some of the heavy lifting in foreign affairs engagements. After all, they can't be any more evil that we are, and in any case it'll save us money that we can put to better use on welfare and buying acorns.

Basically, in dog and wolf terms, this is the strategy in which the submissive one exposes its throat to the more dominant.

And hopes for mercy.

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Redskullvw
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I mean the intent is stop at 183, with the last 4 essentially delivered as parts instead of fully assembled. That is because the line will be dismantled, and no one has yet to produce spare inventory parts.

Essentially these planes will become the equivalent of a Porsche 959. If you need a spare part you first have to pay the manufacturer to rebuild the factory before you can buy the spare body panel.

Further the YF-35 and variants that are offshoots of the Lockheed-Martin YF-22/F22 is essentially getting canned. Meaning the F-14 is already 1 step from boneyard, as is the dilapedated F-15 fleet which SHOULD be in a boneyard right now.

So its looking like the F-18 is going to have to stay on station another 4 years past its combat worthiness. The F-16 maybe has another 8 years in it. But the F-14 and F15 are practically falling apart these days. In fact the fleet keeps getting grounded due to parts shortages and age defects.

You would think if you are going to cut military spending, and you felt you had to do it in a responsible manner, you would simply end the Iraq deployment 6 months ahead of schedual or simple call the War on Terror over and bring everyone inside the Fort Apache stockade.

But in nuts and bolts--- Gates says the F-22 will stop at 183. The last 4 are spare parts. The money earmarked to keep things going back in 2006/2007 goes instead to shutting down the plant. The combat inventory will remain unchanged in roles except the F-15 gets some upgrade suppossedly making the F-22 not required in greate numbers. Give me a break the F-15 fleet is so beat up it got grounded and money intended to make F-22 planes was instead emergently spent to keep the F-15 in the sky a little longer.

This is so amazingly stupid.

If they need to cut cost then move it overseas and pay some poor native inhabitant 2 bucks an hour to make F-22 widgets. But for the love of pete, you don't stop replacing your airplanes mid stream and have no alternatives to either build a better or cheape ralternative.

time for HALO im in a foul mood.. and yet Gates really disapaointed me there. I had a feeling this was going to happen because Gates, unlike Rumsfeild didn't understand fighting with better technology and force multipliers while at the same time nixing sacred cows from the inventory. Gates is a technocrat who actually doesn't make decissions. He just follows group think. I had that problem with him in Iraq under Bush. Gates was an after the fact cheerleader. frankly Rummy, McCain, and Patraus did the heavy lifting. Gates rubber stamped it.


The issue of funding the F-22 got punted by Gates as he was under Bush. And Gates will rubber stamp the F-22 simply because there is no one to explain to Obama exactly what the F-22 is or why it and the F-35 varients all need to be built before our air fleet rusts itself out of the sky.

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vulture
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How much of a parallel is there here with the good old dreadnought battleships the world's navies were so fond of in the 1920s to 1940ish. Massively expensive to build and run (much like the F-22) they were very vulnerably to very (in relatively terms) cheap counters - torpedoes, aircraft, submarines.

For the price of one F-22 you can get something like 10-15 UAVs, each carrying 4 hellfire missiles. That represents a much better ground attack capability, and much less of a loss of equipment (and more importantly, very expensive pilots) if they get shot down.

You could get 2-3 F-18 hornets for the price of an F-22. Which would gain air superiority, 100 F-22s or 200 F-18s? Not an obvious answer (but to drag up another WWII parallel, panthers and tigers may have been the technically most impressive tanks, but it was the great numbers of t-34s and IS-2s that ended up rolling in to their enemy's capital and winning the war).

Of course, it is easy to pick example of expensive systems rendered obsolete after the fact. You can pick them from the other side of the fence too - the Abrams tank is a technical marvel, and is in principle vulnerable to very cheap man-portable AT weapons such as the RPG-29 or AT-7. But the number lost to such weapons is tiny, while the survival rates of AT crews in Iraq and Afghanistan is less than impressive.

I'd also note that most of the funding for the F-22 was cut by Bush at the end of last year, leaving just enough to keep the program alive so that Obama could decide what to do with it. I suspect that if Bush had 4-8 more years of being president, he'd have pulled the plug directly. As it was, he took the very reasonable decision to leave the program in a state where Obama could easily resurrect it or stamp it to death.

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EDanaII
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Welcome to Shangri-bama... where nobody fights and nobody dies. He'll negotiate a peace with everyone, so keeping the old fleet is just a pragmatic gesture. After all, all that money is needed for more important things. We've got a country to bankrupt. C'mon people!

(And some people wonder why some of us think the guy is naive).

Ed.

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Redskullvw
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Unlike the Drednought mania of post WWI, the F-22 isn't the equivalent of being a redesigned plane that simply removes the bugs of the previous plane to enable a superiority unmatched on yesterday's battlefield.

It is pretty much the most revolutionary combat design ever- and it establishes a singular class that by its very existence makes all its current competitors on the drawing board almost 100% obsolete.


I understand what you are getting at. But this is a case where the airplane really is at least 20 years ahead of even the most advanced Russian designed combat plane. It would be more like this....

In a semi fictitious war that you fought a decade ago you had some really old Hawker Hurricanes and some really old Supermarine Spitfires MkIV planes. The main military supply competitor would be making FW Ta152 right now but they can hardly afford to build- let alone sell them. The world is getting a bit dodgy and your airframes are getting a bit old.

Then out of the blue after nearly 20 years of effort you get presented with a plane that is so much better than your current old operating system that it makes the Supermarine Spitfire look like a Sopwith Camel.

Thing is UAV's are going to become the mainstay for close ground monitoring and air patrol. I expect them to soon make up the majority of our arsenal. But the F-22 is intended to do two specific tasks very well. 1 invade hostile air space with impunity. 2. prevent any enemy air mission from compleating. And there really isn't anything out there that anyone has on the public drawing boards that JANES has seen that even comes close to the F-22

Barney Frank caught on to this and decied if it is so advanced and no one can catch it in the near term we only need a couple.

Which in this case would be part of the H.M.S. Drednought argument, where an evolutionary mark is subjected to a revolutionary change 20 years in the future.

Be that as it may, the emergency is that the f-15 fleet was kept flying because the money intended to go to the F-22 was redirected. Bush's ambivolence as to what to do next was due to the fact that his term was over, the finding had been used elsewhere, and the program would still be functioning until after Bush was out of office. As it was set up, the new funding was quashed in proceedeural limbo since the new session. The decission by Gates is heavily influenced by Barney Frank being oppossed to the program.

Mostly because Sen Sam Nunn pissed Frank off years ago.

The F-22 is expected to have a much higher survivability as well as combat ratio. Comparing the F-18 to an F-22 is more like comparing a de Havilland Mosquito to an F-14. It doesn't matter if a Mosquito is a fine plane and you can but two dozen of them for the same price as an F-14. Of course most people don't know the difference between an A-10 an A-1 or an A-4- so the argument of "Gee we can get a half dozen of these compared to those " goes over pretty well with the less than informed.

This is just a case of a perfect storm. The guy in Congress who hates it most has signifigant political power right now. The Defence Secretary is a rubber stamp technocrat willing to agree with the prevailing political opinion. The President shows little to no understanding of military power in our own arsenal or even our multiple enemies. The previous President allowed the funds intended to make spare parts and finish the run go instead to keeping the aging air fleet in the air while its replacement gets mothballed until after the election.

Seriously- did any of you even know this was an issue or would you have noticed it since September of 2008 when the media frenzy was occupied lesewhere?

The decision Obama has made is devoid of logic.

I fear for this country. Between this, Axelrod's amazingly horrid performance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Obama's speech in France the other day, and the Un Ambassador saying there was nothing the administration can do about North Korea < and this was BEFORE THE LAUNCH> all I can say is that Obama is in danger of failed international politics and diplomacya.


Say what you will about Carter. Yes Obama is literally re-playing Carter Administration domestic economic policies, and as a result from experience I suspect they will again fail this time as badly as they did when Carter tried them. The difference between Carter and Obama was that excepting his decission to admit the Shah of Iran, Carter was a pretty tough nut on the geopolitical stage.

Plus Carter was a Nuclear sailor and understood the military almost as well as he understood being a dirt farmer.

Obama has no frame of reference and doesn't understand the implications of his political acts. This is gioving Frank a nice hardon and Obama probably doesn't even know who Sam Nunn was or even that Frank has an alleged but reliably considered grudeg against the former chariman of the Senate armed services comittee.

This is just amazingly stupid.

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EDanaII
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The vectored thrust capabilities _alone_ make it a vastly superior fighter.

Ed.

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KnightEnder
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This pisses me off for a couple of reasons. A) I don't think it is in the best interest of our country to be unprepared for battle or to lag behind in war applicable technology, and B) I LOVE the F-22. It is the coolest thing ever. It is practically a damn flying saucer, and NOTHING can touch it. I was pissed at McCain's condescending "This one doesn't know the difference between "strategy" and "tactics" BS, but now I'm starting to think he might have known something we didn't. [Frown] Why is our generation of Dems such a group of pussies? I'm living proof you can be a liberal and still kick ass when necessary. I can't believe Obama would do something that makes him look weak, to his countrymen or to the rest of the world. I bet the Kremlin is thrilled.

KE

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Greg Davidson
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I hear lots of loud opinions, and then they turn into partisan character attacks. If you are sincere, why don't you spend time attacking the character of Robert Gates, you know, the guy who actually proposed these cuts? Because for anyone to propose this approach, apparently they have to be insufficiently manly (that seems to be a common diagnosis in the previous comments) So what is the problem you see with Gates' character? I don't know for sure that this plan for the F-22 is wrong, but the nature of the arguments is unpersuasive.

An actual discussion would discuss how our current fleet of aircraft matches up against potential opponents, both in capability and quantity, as well as a realistic assessment of how that anticipated to change over the next 10-20 years?

edited: I left out two words

[ April 06, 2009, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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mdgann
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It's the radars and integrated electronics that make the F-22 a superiority fighter. No other aircraft has the capabilities currently deployed in the F-22. Forget the airframe and cool looks. Those are all designed around the limitations of having a live pilot on board. It already has some problems with corrosion though.
A-10 target date is 2028. New wings and updated avionics will get about 250 to that goal.

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JoshCrow
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It does seem to have been Gates' proposal, but maybe he's not as much the target-du-jour.
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flydye45
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Don't give McCain too many kudos. I belonged to an Air Guard unit using KC-135 tankers. Most of them were built in the '50s. We were looking forward to an aircraft using the latest of 70's technology, but McCain scrapped it. Yes, there were good arguments on the one hand...but there were compelling arguments on the other as well.

I heard about this. What, pray tell, is the state of OVERALL Defense budget spending?

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The Drake
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Wow, where to start in this. First, the mission of the F-22 is air superiority over Soviet fighters which were never built.

It never flew a single mission in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The readiness rate of the aircraft is 62%. In peacetime.

Rumsfeld tried to get rid of it in 2002.

They are not abandoning all new aircraft, redirecting funds to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Does anyone really envision Chinese jets mixing it up with us over San Francisco?

Even if they did...

quote:
The F-22’s superior dogfighting capabilities are barely relevant. Yes, formidable new fighters are being fielded by potential adversaries, notably the Russian-built Su-37 and MiG-31 and the Chinese F-11. The F-22 is far superior to these older-technology, nonstealthy aircraft, but the F-35 would also far outperform any of these models. As a consequence, the dogfighting rationale for the F-22 has never gained much traction outside the Air Force.
That's from Air Force Times, a somewhat reputable paper when it comes to air defense. It goes on to talk about the F-22 being valuable for taking out enemy SAM sites.

Which, by the way, is America's best defense against non-stealthy Russian and Chinese aircraft.

So, as long as we're on defense instead of offense, the F-22 has no meaningful role. Even then, we'd have to be invading North Korea, Syria, China, Russia, and similar nations.

Even if so, here is a statement by General Shackelford on the F-35:

quote:
The general continued that the F-35 was designed from the bottom up to be the Air Force's premiere surface-to-air-missile killer and is "uniquely equipped for the mission with its cutting edge processing power, synthetic aperture radar integration techniques and advance target recognition."
Thank goodness finally someone is dismantling the Cold War machine. Maybe we can spend the money on something more useful - like body armor and armored humvees. Our nuclear deterrent is sufficient to keep people from launching 20 squadrons of fighters over the mainland, don't you think?
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Lobo
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"Our nuclear deterrent is sufficient to keep people from launching 20 squadrons of fighters over the mainland, don't you think?"

Our nuclear deterrent is going away if Obama gets his way...

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kenmeer livermaile
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Ah, Lobo, you always deliver such delightfully measured prophecy...
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EDanaII
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The problem is, our nuclear deterrent isn't enough to keep someone from launching against us. Conventional wars have been fought for fifty years after the start of the nuclear era.

What's kept us safe is our control of a continent and you can blame that on manifest destiny, which is just another form of "peace through strength."

Ed.

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KonerAtHome
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I thought I read an article yesterday that said the Gates plan also accelerated the F-35 program and that it was going to grow in scale as well. Up to something like 2400 F-35's total.
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The Drake
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Not between nuclear states, there hasn't been a conventional war. There have been proxy wars, naturally. The closest scenario to a full-on war between nuclear powers was the Cuban Missile Crisis. It is also possible for two major powers to invade a third area - like India and Pakistan fighting conventionally for Kashmir. But if Indian troops crossed the border into undisputed territory, how long would it be before Pakistan used its nukes?

How much deterrent do you really need, Lobo? If you can incinerate every major population center in China, isn't that enough? Or are you suggesting that our missiles are so lousy that you need 10 for each target?

And we have more than enough capability to defeat any non-nuclear state without the F-22. Not to mention, you've still got 180 of them. And we haven't had an aircraft in a dogfight for 40 years. And a pilotless aircraft can be much smaller, much more manuverable, much faster, much more stealthy...

Once again, defending the mainland is better accomplished with Surface-To-Air missiles that are harder to evade and cheaper to produce.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
And we haven't had an aircraft in a dogfight for 40 years. And a pilotless aircraft can be much smaller, much more manuverable, much faster, much more stealthy...
The interesting thing that I have head about the F-22 is that it flies well below its own capabilities, basically because the human pilot would not be able to survive the forces involved if the plane flew to its full capacity.

Basically, the F-22 is the end of the line, the apex for direct human-piloted flight.

By the way, how does the F-22 stack up against the F-35 in a dogfight. I always was under the impression that a pure-bred dogfighter like the F-22 would wipe the floor with a jack of all trades like the JSF. Is that true?

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Colin JM0397
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The JSF is quite large... Of course there really isn't much of a dogfight any more when they can shoot each other down from 100k out. They are probably about equally matched.

IIRC, we had a handful of air-to-air fights, albeit not quite dogfights, during Desert Storm.

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RickyB
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And for the opposite view...

http://www.slate.com/id/2215491/

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KnightEnder
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quote:
Originally posted by EDanaII:
The problem is, our nuclear deterrent isn't enough to keep someone from launching against us. Conventional wars have been fought for fifty years after the start of the nuclear era.

What's kept us safe is our control of a continent and you can blame that on manifest destiny, which is just another form of "peace through strength."

Ed.

Manifest Destiny = Peace Through Strength? I'm sure Hitler would agree. [Smile]

KE

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EDanaII
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And I wouldn't disagree, KE. But, remember, I'm a pragmatist and I view _everything_ as a tool. Used properly, manifest destiny is a beneficial tool, used poorly, it's a poor tool. But regardless of that, I think we can both agree that Hitler didn't use it "poorly" but rather maliciously and with evil intent.

Ed.

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kenmeer livermaile
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We all know what ben Franklin said about standing armies and international mischief.

So we just took a ton of the aircraft that makes it happen and chewed it into Iraqi dust.

Maybe not replacing such inventory for a few years will prevent the next bonehead to enter the White House from invading some poor ****hole nation for whatever delusions said bonehead entertains.

China, Russia, et cetera are NOT going to invade the USA. We are still 25% of the global economy, which no one wants to rock anytime soon.

Peace through Economic Strength? Through interconnected economies (instead of webs of nasty military treaties a la WWI)?

"The decision Obama has made is devoid of logic."

You realize, I hope, how full of rhetoric and self-refuting this statement is. There's always logic.

Also: most of our airforce still depends on aircraft carriers to really put planes where we need them. And it is known that aircraft carriers are now almost totally defenseless, which is probably the biggest reason the Pentagon wouldn't let Cheney-Bush go beat up on Iran.

It would have started a world war after they'd sunk all our Persian Gulf aircraft carriers in the space of a few hours.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"But regardless of that, I think we can both agree that Hitler didn't use it "poorly" but rather maliciously and with evil intent."

Dude lost, dude. Beyond being an awesome demagogue and a ruthless political enforcer, man was stone stupid nuts and made ALL the wrong moves poursuing manifest destiny. Only right moves were the result of guys like Rommel.

So: poorly, too.

To a virus, humanity is just a tool.

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The Drake
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quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
IIRC, we had a handful of air-to-air fights, albeit not quite dogfights, during Desert Storm.

True. Let me correct my statement - we haven't had an aircraft shot down in a dogfight in 40 years. A number of Iraqi aircraft got splashed in the opening of Desert Storm, although the vast majority fled to other nations or were buried
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kenmeer livermaile
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Desert Storm, if I recall, was where we proved we still had amazing air power superiority.

What's changed since then?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Of course there really isn't much of a dogfight any more when they can shoot each other down from 100k out.
*nod* Modern fighters aren't "fighters" as much as they're missile carriers.
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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
Desert Storm, if I recall, was where we proved we still had amazing air power superiority.

What's changed since then?

China and Russia were flying sorties into Saudi Arabia, were they?
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kenmeer livermaile
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tell me more
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Gaoics79
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quote:
*nod* Modern fighters aren't "fighters" as much as they're missile carriers.
Isn't the F-22 equipped with a very effective gattling type gun (I think it's called a vulcan cannon).
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TomDavidson
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If you're close enough to the F-22 that it needs to use a cannon on you, the pilot has done something seriously wrong.
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kenmeer livermaile
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In ten years we'll have virtual control sensoria for seriously high-octane fighter drones.

Manned aircraft are so 20th century.

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Colin JM0397
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The cannon is more for ground support. The Air Farce fancies that it can make a Mach 2 fighter into a ground support tank killer with a cannon. They tried it with the A-16 (ground attack version of the F-16), which was entirely TOO FAST!!! to be a proper tank killer.

Thankfully Desert Strom came along and showed the (at that point soon to be mothballed) A-10 is still king of the tank killers - hence why we still have it in our active inventory.

BTW, when you hear one of those live fire it sounds like God's zipper coming down - BRRRRRAAAAP!
Very cool… unless you are on the receiving end, I assume.

[ April 08, 2009, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]

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