F-22 Add Big Problem: Gates

F-22 Add Big Problem: Gates

“It’s a big problem,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said about Wednesday’s move by the House Armed Services Committee to continue production of the F-22 beyond the 187 fighters the Obama administration wants. In a late night vote, led by Republicans on the committee, the HASC voted 31 to 30 to add $369 million to the 2010 budget for advanced procurement of 12 additional F-22s.

When Gates laid out his 2010 budget back in April, he said there was “no military requirement” for more than 187 F-22s and the administration planned to shut down the production line after that number was reached. The money added by the HASC, although certainly not enough to buy 12 more F-22s at a reported cost of $200 million a copy, would keep the production line open indefinitely.

“Frankly, to be blunt about it, the notion that not buying 60 more F-22s imperils the national security of the United States, I find completely nonsense,” Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing today. That comment may have come in response to a story yesterday on Congressional Quarterly’s site that Gen. John Corley, chief of Air Combat Command at Langley, Va., wrote a letter to Senator Saxby Chambliss, R– Ga., that said buying only 187 F-22s jeopardizes U.S. national security. Corley reportedly said 381 F-22s would be the ideal number but that a fleet of 250 fighters would be tolerable.

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If this is supposed to be our air superiority for the next three or four decades, why do we want to risk short changing ourselves? It would be nice if in 30 years when we might be in a conventional war with someone like NK or Iran armed to the teeth with russian fighters and SAMs if we didn’t have to say “damn, wish we had bought more F-22s”

Alex, don’t you understand? The F-35 is much better than the F-22! I mean, it’s THIRTEEN MORE. Clearly it’s far more advanced and capable! Also, the F-35 has one engine whereas the F-22 has two; obviously the F-35 is a much better-designed and more-efficient aircraft, able to do all its work without needing to waste money on a backup engine. And need I discuss price? The F-35 comes for free in boxes of Cracker Jacks, whereas the F-22 costs more money than there is in the entire world. Also I heard that, this one time, the director of the F-22 program totally kicked a puppy.

Well, since you put it that way DD.…

But in all seriousness, I don’t think Robert Gates is out to screw the country. Gates has been in the biz for a long, long time and I generally have faith in him — I was pretty glad that Obama chose him for Def Sec. But this I don’t understand because the only reasons he could be cutting this is that A) he thinks we won’t be getting in a large conventional war in the next 40 years B) we simply can’t afford them (that doesn’t seem to be the case) or C) There is a new fighter in the pipeline that no one can talk about.

Alex: I think that your “A” is exactly where the government and the DoD are right now. Lots of people talk about “next-war-itis”, but “this-war-itis” is just as bad…

Gates simply believes that we will be fighting terrorist until the end of time, and that they will never have a high tech fighter (his hybrid war stuff). Hes a good defense sec for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but hes horrible when it comes to WWIII.


Correct answer…

D) Gates does not have a clue (note the F-22 is not the only thing he is clueles about) & has been influanced far, far too much by John Young who has (ever since he was turned down for a position within the program) a personal vendetta against the F-22 program.

A bit of a history lesson since there are so many who have never learned it. The number 183 comes from the number the Bush administration agreed to fund through the end of its administration. It comes from the number that were previously funded plus 60 the Bush administration agreed to fund in exchange for no more talk/questions about how many would ultimately be built until the next administration. It has no basis on anything other than that. And the number 187 comes from that 183 plus 4 more funded thrue WOT supplimental appropriations to replace (other) aircraft losses during the WOT.

Even the number 243 is nothing more than the 183 plus another 60.

Of ALL the numbers you may see thrown out there, only the 381 the USAF STILL says to be the MINIMUM number it needs it at all based on reality, on needs/requirements.

We won’t need 381 F-22 fighters, when you have 2,000+ F-35 being built…oh, and by the way, the F-35 is superior in the majority in specs…


More weapons payload, cheaper, and better electronics and sensors…

Read the page, then talk about the need for more F-22’s…Gates know’s something you don’t.
Nuff said…

The F-22 will blow the F-35 out of the sky tho. The F-22 is a air-to-air fighter aircraft. The F-35 is basically just a bomber with some air-to-air capabilities (strike fighter).

I found this that may intrigue you and clear your misconceptions up. (It also has battle scenarios that are likely to occur in the future, which basically gives reason to buy more!)

Oh I forgot, it also has Russia’s Gen 5 aircraft in the battle. As well as other aircraft (and spacecraft), and advanced SAM’s that’s under development right now. I think there’s 10 parts to it.

Did I forget to mention F-35 Block III (or later) will be carrying direct-energy weapons?! Can the F-22 do that? Think it’s far fetched? Think not.

The F-35 was built to be modular, add and remove weapons systems at will..including MORE weapons then the F-22.…and here is the kicker…EASIER to maintain! Meaning 1/3 your fighters won’t be under construction, like the F-22.

I realize you an F-22 fan-boy, who believes everything he see’s on YouTube, grow up. BTW, those sims do not reflect real-life scenarios. When your competitors are flying 3rd and 4th gen fighters, you can’t make a fantasy sim with a fighter that has never flown in combat!

Since, the SU-35 won’t be in mass production for years, with numbers under 100 ( because Russia’s population is dying) you have nothing to worry about. Chinese? Their Air Force is worse then Russia.

Yeah, I like the F-22 (and F-35) but, the better plane is the F-35.

Gates needs to get over his hatred of the USAF. The fact remains that the F-22A is superior to the F-35A in just about every area. It can also do ground attack and get a few 250 pound GPS guided SBDs on target damn quickly.


In my personal opinion, not 100% with it but, the F-22 line will never shut down. If the F-35 doesn’t live up to the hype, they can always go back to the F-22. Now, it’s guaranteed to be in production for many more months.

Don’t believe the F-22 propaganda mill. Gates is not stupid or clueless.

The chances that we will invade or be invaded by Russia or China are zero %. The only way we might fight either is through a surrogate country or over neighbor issues (Taiwan or Ukraine?), but MADD (and Walmart) make that highly unlikely.

The probability is 0% that Russia or China can produce anywhere near as many high quality fighters in the same timeframe we will be producing F-35s. Russia currently has only about 15 Su-35s which in no way are comparable to either 5th generation U.S. fighter. Neither nation, or any other potential foe, has the cash nor the technology to produce lots of stealth fighters.

If their fighter technology is suspect/poorly copied/non-mission capable and not affordable…there is a strong likelihood that adversary surface-to-air capabilities are suspect/poorly copied/non-mission capable and not affordable on their far smaller defense budgets. Other potential surrogate and irrational foes are even less likely to be able to afford fighters or air defenses in substantial numbers.

The probability is nonexistent that allies involved in surrogate wars and neighbor issues will be able to buy the F-22. They CAN buy the less expensive and technologically allowed F-35, which makes most other arguments moot. If we can sell the attacked neighbors and our/their allies the F-35, we won’t need as many U.S. planes and ground forces involved in surrogate and neighbor-issue wars.

The chances that a F-22 at 60,000’ can identify and target Taliban using AESA radar alone is 0%. The probability that a lower-flying F-35 with a superb built-in EO/IR/LD systems AND the same radar can find and positively identify and target Taliban and Chinese/Russian/Iranian/ North Korean moving and hidden/hugging targets is far greater with DAS.

The F-22 is all about short-war-itis. It primarily helps to win the short air superiority war. In contrast, the F-35 has long-war-itis where ground forces and casualties are inevitably and unavoidably involved. Having more F-22s only makes the short war shorter. A few extra weeks of short war makes no difference and contributes little to saving ground Soldier lives because the air superiority war often occurs before ground troops are even involved.

Excessive billions spent on more F-22s to make the short war shorter are funds less available to protect ground combatants fighting and dying in the long war.

In contrast, more F-35s makes the long war shorter by better supporting ground attack of moving and hidden/hugging targets, thus saving countless ground Soldier lives whether in major war or counterinsurgency. Maps are often wrong or out of date (that school wasn’t there a year ago) which makes GPS precision irrelevant or an invitation to collateral damage. Laser designation doesn’t lie and better targets moving vehicles.

The chances that the single-engine F-35, with less stealth coating maintenance, and more common parts will have a higher than a 62% operational readiness rate, will use less fuel, and will cost less to operate per flight hour than a F-22 is 100%. This obviously helps our allies afford and operate more F-35s than Raptors. And we would be stupid to sell F-22s and risk losing our technological stealth edge.

Finally, no bull**** propaganda. I’m glad someone else agrees with me. 199 F-22’s (including 12 additional) is enough for an initial 10% strike (and that is it) Allowing the F-35’s to handle the rest of the 90% air-to-air and air-to-ground targets. Bravo, Bravo…good commentary.

Cole: Note that, other than some portions of the Aleutians, the United States hasn’t been invaded in almost 200 years at this point. Nonetheless we’ve had four deployments of virtually the entire US combat force in the last half-century alone, and two major wars in the forty years before that time.

You say that “A few extra F-22 only makes the short war shorter.” …but isn’t that a GOOD thing? Unless you believe the hype and think that all future US deployments will be peacekeeping (or “empire building” depending on your politics) then wouldn’t you *want* to have a short war be as short as possible?

Why don’t we sell them to the Chinese — after all that’s who is paying for them.

Jason, this isn’t just some random youtube video someone put up, if you actually watch the videos which was put together with the help of the US Air force, including the chief test pilot for BOTH the F-22 and F-35 Jon Beesley, as well as other pilots of other past aircraft. You’d find out that your statements don’t add up. (Including what you believe about the F-35 being the only aircraft that can use energy weapons.)

As for me being a “fan boy” of the F-22, I simply state the facts. The F-22 will be useless without the F-35 and vice versa IMO. They both will complement each other. But you can’t just ignore the F-22.

And Cole, I know you hate the F-22 and that your upset that it got more funding then FCS. (Which I agree FCS got the short end of the stick) But I’m not quite sure where you get your 0% chance of engagement with Russian or Chinese built aircraft. There’s the SU-47 that’s still under development (introduced in 2000) that is also a Gen 5 aircraft like the F-22 and if the specs hold, is on par with the F-22 and Russia plans to sell them to foreign countries. (Iran and North Korea are prime examples) China is also starting to massively upgrade their military, and I remember hearing about a report from the Pentagon a year ago stating that China is most likely to have a bigger air force then the US in the future and is looking to build their first aircraft carriers. While we might not be at war with China in the future, you still got to watch out for them, they aren’t strong allies right now, if you can call them allies at all. Also the F-22’s entire airframe is built with DAS. The F-35 isn’t the only aircraft to have DAS. Also Cole if the war on terror has taught us anything, our allies aren’t that great of allies. The Germans are a perfect example. They stay out of the heavy fighting in Afghanistan (And they aren’t the only ones). If our allies do have these hundreds of F-35’s like you say, it doesn’t mean they are actually going to use them in the fights that need them. We got to be able to fend for ourselves, we can’t always rely on others, like they rely on us now.

Zach, I’m no expert on the F-22, but know it has no DAS or EO/IR/LD system of any kind. It has a missile launch detector but that isn’t useful for ground attack and positive ID.

It doesn’t have a helmet mounted display for visual range dogfighting or IRST. The F-35 can shoot at targets behind it using the HMD and DAS.

The U.S. defense budget is $600 billion annually while China’s is around $70 billion and Russia’s is $50 billion. They cannot match our pace of quality aircraft production, let alone provide and sustain the training and readiness rates to match us. No F-15 or F-16 was ever shot down in air combat against a Soviet jet. That record is unlikely to change given our newly-found stealth advantage.

The 0% chance relates to actual invasion of or by China and Russian. Oceans separate us. The sole threat we face from them similar to WWII is nuclear annihilation. The sky would not fall over Taiwan or Ukraine.

I agree with Gates and I believe some of you may be missing the point. He was miffed that he was being accused of endangering our national security whilst in the process of budget discussions.

That old you’re-not-patriotic meme has to stop being used to bludgeon people who disagree with you. That’s an argument that belongs on cable news, not inside budget chambers. You bet, he is trying to build a national security team and this sort of puerile brainless smearing just makes it harder to manage.

That said, I have heard these foreign threat arguments so many times. I will bet you a million bucks that no air to air shooting war between the US and any other modern Army or Air Force will happen. If China crossed the ocean and took over Tawain tomorrow, we would sit by and maybe send a few old pundits out there to rattle sabers. But they are our biggest trading partner and we are Americans, so you bet we’re not going to shoot at our trading partners.

We have enough fighter aircraft for now and have much bigger problems to make contingency plans for aside from war.


Interesting that an active duty general officer “wrote his congressman” directly. Hope he has his post-retirement resume’ all buffed up. IIRC, Mr. Gates has no problem sending USAF “leaders” packing in the past.

The old you are “endangering our national security” unless you buy said weapon, in said quantities argument. This argument is used by the proponents of any weapon system facing drawdown or cancelation. Elaborate “what if” doomsday scenarios are drawn up to show “what could happen” if we don’t buy a weapon system in the numbers the proponents want.

If there is another major conflict that grips the world, many of these new, maintenance intensive, peace time weapons, which are hard to procure in great numbers, may end up coming up short in a prolonged conflict.

“There’s the SU-47 that’s still under development (introduced in 2000) that is also a Gen 5 aircraft like the F-22 and if the specs hold, is on par with the F-22 and Russia plans to sell them to foreign countries. (Iran and North Korea are prime examples)”

Please give some sources for that. Thats more of a rhetorical request, because this claim is neo-con rubbish. Have you had a look at NKs state of arms recently? Or their ability to actually buy anything? And have a look at all these russian weapons transfers to Iran…yeah not really anything either, although for quite different reasons.

The Su-47 aka Berkut is a tech-demonstrator, no less no more. There is not even more than one of that and Sukhoi did never claim to field an operational version of this AC…and I am reading their statements for the past five years. What Sukhoi and Mig are actually doing (besides endless upgrading for their export products, Su-30+ and Mig-29/35) is praying for more money from the government to actually get somewhere with the PAKFA. And thats not working to well either, have a look at their statements for the past three years in that regard.

Whatever some people expect from the Russians…well dont expect to much. As far as 5th gen fighters are concerned they are a big no-show. In the long-term the Chinese are way more credible in that regard quite simply because their programs actually enjoy (very) solid funding and tech-wise they will catch up.

“There’s the SU-47 that’s still under development (introduced in 2000) that is also a Gen 5 aircraft like the F-22 and if the specs hold, is on par with the F-22 and Russia plans to sell them to foreign countries. (Iran and North Korea are prime examples)”

Please give some sources for that. Thats more of a rhetorical request, because this claim is neo-con rubbish. Have you had a look at NKs state of arms recently? Or their ability to actually buy anything? And have a look at all these russian weapons transfers to Iran…yeah not really anything either, although for quite different reasons.

The Su-47 aka Berkut is a tech-demonstrator, no less no more. There is not even more than one of that and Sukhoi did never claim to field an operational version of this AC…and I am reading their statements for the past five years. What Sukhoi and Mig are actually doing (besides endless upgrading for their export products, Su-30+ and Mig-29/35) is praying for more money from the government to actually get somewhere with the PAKFA. And thats not working to well either, have a look at their statements for the past three years in that regard.

Whatever some people expect from the Russians…well dont expect to much. As far as 5th gen fighters are concerned they are a big no-show. In the long-term the Chinese are way more credible in that regard quite simply because their programs actually enjoy (very) solid funding and tech-wise they will catch up.
Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

“[The F-22] doesn’t have a helmet mounted display for visual range dogfighting or IRST. The F-35 can shoot at targets behind it using the HMD and DAS.”

…well yes, this is a serious concern, because it is totally impossible to do anything at all to upgrade the F-22 in any way whatsoever. CERTAINLY it is impossible to provide the pilots with upgraded helmets!

Actually the helmet mounted display is one of the first upgrades the F-22 will get.

Cole, if you check up on it you will find out that the entire airframe is filled with the DAS sensors, and as Alex said, the F-22 is suppose to get the HDM in 2014 (If all goes to plan). The F-22 has every technology that the F-35 has (except vertical takeoff). And it even has thrust vectoring and cruise speed, which the F-35 lacks and the SU-47 has. Meaning the SU-47 can out maneuver the F-35’s any day sadly to say. Which is where the F-22 comes in to support it. We can’t have one without the other. The F-22 can keep the skies clear for the F-35 while it slips in past the enemy radar to take out the IADS (Integrated Aid Defense System) that the enemy has..And how 187 F-22’s can protect these hundreds of F-35’s you speak of is beyond me. There will be even less then 187 once some are taken out to be training craft. Which is why we need more F-22’s!

Why don’t we persuade someone who’s flown these birds to weigh in on this? I would assume the ACC/CC must have talked to more than a few experience pilots or even flown the F-22 himself.

If you can’t speak up through the Chain of Command then I guess you write your congressman or senator. I’m sure the General is prepared to retire. Gee, what a fate.

Truth is that for once Congress is doing what it should be doing. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the decision but am seconding their particpation in defense matters. It is one of their responsibilities in our checks and balances system. Good to see them active in this whatever their real motivation(s).

Now, about that F-22 or FCS or F-35. The band plays on.


Don’t confuse the six sensors of the F-22 AN/AAR-56 Missile Launch Detector (MLD) with the more capable F-35 Distributed Aperture System (DAS).

Density Duck and Alex,

Helmet mounted display planned for the F-22? Were it only so easy. I refer you to this link:


I also encourage you to google the article’s title and read the discussion forums about it on F​-16​.net and arcforums​.com.

The article/forums indicate that while future Increment 3.2 integrates the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120D AMRAAM onto the F-22, it does not add a helmet mounted cueing system (HMCS). The AIM-9X provides high off-bore sight IR missile capability to fire off-axis from the direction of travel, presumably through the F-22 multi-functional display.

Don’t see DAS in any of the currently planned increments either, and it would seemingly be required to give the F-22 an IRST capability to shoot at targets behind them as the F-35 already will.

Apparently F-35 (and not F-22) also has a separate EO/IR system for targeting and night navigation based on the highly capable Sniper XR but integrated into the airframe like the DAS. Will we ever dogfight at night? It’s only half the day.;)

In addition, all these increments cost big bucks. The F-22 guys are fond of citing a perceived small cost differences between the two aircraft. Yet when you add the cost of upgrades, the cost delta grows.

Then there is the cost of the actual aircraft. You often see the number $140 million bandied about yet the link below seems to indicate the true cost is $175–180 million a piece. Congressional eagerness to keep jobs in their districts is bumping up that price to $234 million per aircraft since just 12 more F-22’s would be built:


So where does the $2.8 billion come from to fund these new more-expensive 12 Raptors? Fewer F-35s? F-35 second engine? Missile defense because TBM is where future threat nations are investing since they can’t beat us air-to-air? C-17s that cost about the same as these higher priced Raptors and fly every day in theater? Ground Soldier/Marine budgets? Print it without worrying about the inflation ramifications?

Yeah, I know. They are printing money for bail-outs, but that doesn’t make it right.…

HH, the more congress gets involved in defense programs, the more they will go over budget and fall behind schedule. The more interest there is in a program, the more micromanagement and red tape there is. Defense contractors are generally good at what they do, and all things considered, if you stay out of their way they will get the job done much quicker and more efficiently.

Alex: doesn’t ring true with my own experiences and I was on both sides for a long time but let’s keep this at the level of budget considerations not program management. The former was the focus of my remarks.

Others: how about this excerpt below? The guy behind this summation is VERY qualified, good resume; probably better than most if not all of us.

“The F-35 is more than a big bet, it’s a programme with more significant aggregate technical, operational and strategic risk than any in US history,” said Tom Ehrhard, an aviation expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. (From their newsletter)

Hummmm? Very Interesting.

It’s good to see some in Congress standing up to Obama’s left wing defense cuts. Obama is a coward so he’s hiding behind Gates, but Gates is just doing Obama’s bidding. Gates didn’t kill the F-22, Obama did. Obama wants more money to pay off his cronies, and he thinks defense is ripe for the picking. Gates is just there to provide cover.


We will be lucky to get enough F-35s to do all the jobs the F-35 is meant for much less those the F-22 is meant for.

And the F-16 was ‘superior’ to the F-15 in a number of respects when it 1st came out but that did not meant that the F-15 was not superior at what it was meant for &/or that they were not needed because of all the F-16s we got.



The need for 381 F-22s is not in any way related to going to war with Russia or China.

And you should ask the boots on the ground what they would think of having to fight a war without the USAF (& thus they being at the mercy of the enemy’s air forces)…


The last source I have heard from Mr. Gates, is to buy 2,400 F-35’s. I’m not a rocket scientist, but doesn’t that cover the F-15,F-16, and F/a-18 loss? I’ll do some research reguard how many planes are in service, to how many planes are generally “under construction”.

Also, the USAF guarented to keep the A-10 in service for another 20+ years. The USAF guarenteed alittle over 2+ billion dollers for weapon, air-frame, and electronic upgrads.

I think we can all agree that the F-35 could never replace the A-10, but 2,400 F-35’s could easly replace the F-15/16/18 before 2020. Well, depending on build-time. Which, I heard they will be produced much faster then the 22.

To the guy who brought up Obama,

Listen, I am a conservative, but I am not going to be baised. Obama Increased the Defense Budget…and, where he cut, Missile Defense doesn’t matter. This years “black budget”, reported by Aviation Weekly, hit it’s biggest mark, ever. Even bigger then Regans, during the Cold War.

My thoughts are, in the “base” budget Missile Defense was decreased, but made up in the black budget. Think of it as a loop hole. I’m sure billions of that coin went to MD, along with the NGB, Minute Men III, new constellation of spy satellites, and various other “black projects”

Theirs no reason to stress man, the budget will never decrease, you have the Base Budget, war supplementals (which I don’t beleive will never end — I don’t care what they say, Americans have short memory), black budget, and QDR coming up.

Side Note: the F-22 will NEVER be cancelled. Congress loves to spend.

Sorry: 50+ billion black budget.

Jason the defense budget went up because Obama added the costs of the wars too it. Before that it was some kind of supplemental budget or something, and I don’t think it went into the ‘real’ defense budget. So excluding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama is making pretty heavy cuts as I understand it. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.


Obama said: Next years “Base” budget WILL include war funding”. Not this years. Congress just passed a 109 Billion war supplemental bill, for this year, adding on to the total millitary spending on the ’09 budget.

It depends on how you look at it. If you value FCS, missile defense, F22s, etcetera it seems like massive cuts. If you look at the spending on man power, F35, and that sort of stuff it doesn’t look all that bad. Gates and company are realigning U.S. military force structure.

If you felt things were fine the way they were, then you are not going to be too happy with the course things shaping.

2011 Budget…But, by that time 80% of our troops will be out of Iraq, focusing on Afghanistan. So, if it is added, look for the Base Budget to go up slightly in the 2011 budget to cover Afgan. They squeezed this 109 Billion bill, in my opinion, as another loop hole. BTW, check out some of the other programs they added in this bill. 6 cargo planes is one of them.….


They did cancel FCS, but have you taken a look at some of the “spin offs” of the LCS program? The Army dropped FCS, but some preaty neat tech is taking their spot.…

FCS I mean.

This question goes to everyone.…If Russia and China can’t match or F-16 and F-18, why are we so worried about having 381 F-22’s? If Russia ever gets a working SU-35, without needing a repair after every flight, then mabye add 40 more F-22’s along with the 35’s. If so, Russia doesn’t have the funds or the economy to build more then 100 fighters. Geez, they have less then 125 million people, and drooping every day.

And China, they are decades behind us in technology, that’s why they try to steal it. Now, that they signed an agreement with Russia, they can’t use Russian aircraft designs anymore, they are further behind us then Russia.

If 10–20 years from now they have a working 5gen fighter, we’ll be ready to introduce our 6th gen fighter.

Mabye Gates is right, he knows more about the world then we do.

Jason June 20th, 2009 at 12:08 am


They did cancel FCS, but have you taken a look at some of the “spin offs” of the LCS program? The Army dropped FCS, but some preaty neat tech is taking their spot….

Got to get to bed, but I agree. I think Gates sent the Army back to the drawing board, but the program (or whatever it’s called now) is still on going.

Cole, I’m not sure what to say to you, I mean you keep saying that the F-22 doesn’t have DAS, but they’ve already shown demonstrations with the F-22 using DAS :S

As for the Helmet Mounted Display, the F-22 along with the F-35 is suppose to get this upgrade in 2014. (Including other aircraft in service). Its not just the F-35, there’s even talk of adding it to our Apaches.

Also you act like cost is a concern to the Air Force, (and congress) if there’s anything we should be able to agree to, that would be how much money both the congress, and the Air Force spend.

Jason, the SU-35 can be easily taken out with F-35’s. What’s a problem is the Russian built Gen 5 SU-47 that is suppose to be equal in specs with the F-22. The downside is it cost $242.2 million each, while the F-22 cost $137.5 million each. And while Russia might not be able to afford too many of these, they are marketing the SU-47 to foreign buyers like Iran.

Zach, I agree with everything you said…spot on. Except, with the exports. Iran has many problems nowadays, their citizens are starting a new Revolution, they are losing alot of money on oil. If oil drops below $90 a barrel, they lose money. Their economy is in the toilet, and likely will be for years to come. Simply put, they simply can’t afford it.

Anyways, I agree one day they will get their (SU-47) but, they can’t even get a working SU-35. Now, they are talking about not producing them into 2011, and when they do product them, how many can they afford?

Besides, if they can’t even produce a functional SU-35, how long will it take to get to an SU-47? Personally, I fell it won’t happen before 2020…

Great argument though.

If history repeats itself, America comes out with a new generation fighter every 20 years. But, now that I think about it, it’s not true. The F-22 AND F-35 came within 10 years of eachother, so that completely throws off my theory.

By 2020 America will come out with her 6th gen fighter…It’s a great thing that the US Military thinks ahead, and not being contempt.

Jason the F-22 and F-35 are both 5th Gen fighters. Each successive generation is going to be much farther off now, as they progressed rapidly from WWII onwards between prop driven planes, then the jet fighter, and then the F-4 which carried AA missiles.

But the idea is not to NOT develop a weapon because our near peers don’t have anything close, the idea is to stay so far ahead that we never have to worry about competition. It is short sighted and dangerous to say that “oh Russia doesn’t have anything that can beat an F-16 or F-18″, which isn’t true at all…and it’s not like we can just develop a new fighter overnight when we realize that our competitors are catching up to us.

Alex, I hear what you are saying but, when the B-2 and F-117 were introduced, they were already looking to build it’s successor. The B-2 and Fi117 (light bomber) were tested in the 70’s by Skunk Works.

To be honest, the F-22 is 20 year old technology, at least the majority of it’s features, excluding the electronics. Believe me, they are already looking for its successor. And 10:1 it will be un-maned.

Look at the history of the US Military, a new fighter was introduced less then 20 years from each other.

One more point about the fighter gap. What about the successor to the SR-71, that’s 3 planes, we haven’t even seen it yet, due to secrecy. The SR-71 was retired in 1998, I would love to see the plane that took it’s place.…

Jason there is nothing that took its place. They got rid of the SR-71 because they didn’t think we needed it any more thanks to our satellites, which we have become totally dependent on. There is a lot of speculation that we are developing a hypersonic spy plane ‚but I’m not so sure about it. I suggest you read “Skunk Works” by Ben Rich.

Jason, that 6th Gen fighter your talking about is probably the Scram jet unless they change it. It has the capability to go into high orbit around the planet, has a laser as its main weapon, and will be able to take out enemy satellites at will, as well as protecting ours from missiles fired from the ground. Now the scram jet will probably be so expensive it’ll make the F-22 look like it came from the dollar store tho. :)


No, the 2423 F-35s (1743 F-35A for the USAF + 680 F-35C & F-35B for the USN & USMC) are to replace the F-16 & A-10 in the USAF, the F/A-18C/D in the USN & USMC and the AV-8B in the USMC. And the F-35 won’t fully replace all of those aircraft until ~2035 (with quite significant gaps in the number of aircraft needed until it does).

The F-22, not the F-35, is the replacement for the F-15.

No, Obama did not increase the defense budget. He cut it significantly but fooled people like you by including most of the funding for the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan (which were previously funded through separate supplimental appropriations bills) in the base defense budget.

Russia has already surpassed the F-15, F-16 & F/A-18 and even China is working on a ‘5th generation fighter. And the need for 381 F-22 has NOTHING to do with fighting Russia or China. If the need was to fight Russia or China the number would be double.

No we did not start looking to build B-2 & F-117 successors when they were introduced. As a matter of fact we STILL haven’t.

pfcem, China’s 5th Gen fighter is the J-14, there’s not info available about it yet tho. As far as I could find out, its still on the drawling board. But if the Pentagon report holds up from a year ago, we should watch out for the J-14 more then the SU-47, in challenging our F-22.

Also pfcem, I believe the Navy is planning on closing that gap with F/A-18’s. At least that was the last I heard. But things change all the time, especially when Congress gets their hands on it.

pfcem mistated: “And the need for 381 F-22 has NOTHING to do with fighting Russia or China. If the need was to fight Russia or China the number would be double.“

We needed 750 F-15s to fight a far more powerful Soviet Union. The 381 F-22 number was suspiciously close to half the 750 F-15 total. Because today’s Russian and Chinese air, naval, and ground power are FAR LESS than half the Soviet power of yesteryear, it is hard to imagine any need for half or even a third of the air superiority fighters…especially since our fighters have stealth and theirs don’t.

381 F-22s is fuzzy math created around the perceived need for 10 AEFs…or the outdated 2 near-simultaneous war requirement…take your pick.

1) The first AEF “requirement” is tailored to reduce deployment to one four-month overseas tour every 20 months by having 2 of 10 AEFs available to deploy. I suspect if you asked the typical Soldier if they would take that 4 month every 20 months (on a cushy airbase) deal they would jump at it. So perhaps we should work on reducing Soldier deployment and risk before we go overboard trying to support 10 AEFs worth of F-22s with 24-ship squadrons.

2) The second two war “requirement” was never threat-based, it was unlikely-scenario-based. In any event it states “near simultaneous” conflicts. You could deploy all F-22 assets to one war for two months. Then deploy all F-22 assets to the second war for two months. That is all the longer anyone could possibly imagine it would take 120 deployed F-22s to establish air superiority with lots of other help. It’s probably closer to two weeks for each conflict.

So if the upcoming QDR correctly eliminates the two near-simultaneous war scenario, sounds to me like half of half (187)of the original Soviet-based F-15 requirement is more than adequate to beat up on munchkin nations with fewer top notch fighters and still handle either big boy in the most unlikely of scenarios.

If in your wildest dreams you can picture the Russians or Chinese winning the budget and technology lottery so they can produce a quality fighter aircraft approaching F-22 capabilities…our potential third world foes sure would’t be buying very many of them due to the cost.

And by the time they do produce such a fighter we will have lots of F-35s that can fry enemy radars/missiles flying around with UCAV escorts, firing AIM-120D/AIM-9X supported by E-2D/AWACS/Growlers, Aegis/SA-2, THAAD, Patriot…geez it wouldn’t be close.

Cole is dead on about the QDR aspect. Once Gates changes the 2 theater conflict requirement the previous QDR had mandated, it will give much less ammunition for congress to push for more f-22s. What this means is that most likely the 12 f-22s (in addition to the 4 f-22s already requested) will make it in the FY10 budget but will not be present in the FY11 budget.

Cole, there’s only one problem with your statement. That’s a pentagon report that came out about a year ago, stating that China’s air force by 2020 will be larger then the USA, and possibly their economy as well. And many experts believe they will be a super power by then. And with their growing economy and their growing need for more energy, they will ultimately be forced to gain new deposits of energy from their neighbors, one way or another.

As for Russia, while I don’t think they are as much of a threat as China, there’s already signs that their trying to regain their lost territory they had during the Cold war. Remember Georgia? I know it’s typical for us Americans to forget things that happened in the past (most have forgotten about 9/11) but come on. We can’t be naive (no offense meant) and expect Russia and China isn’t a threat. They after all do have a military alliance, and they practice with each other all the time.

As for the 2 theater requirement, this is still needed if not a 3 theater requirement for the near future. (And possibly a 4th)

The USA has given Iran by the end of the year to come to the table and talk about their Nuclear program, Israel wanted to attack them a year ago, there’s only 5 months left til the deadline is up. If we don’t act by the end of this deadline, Israel will most likely go in alone, regardless of the consequences, and we will be dragged into it. And as Iran is likely to want pay back as it is, they will most likely start firing at us in Iraq and Afghanistan, being we are Israel’s #1 ally. Things got more complicated when the Government stole the election last week that Israel and the USA was waiting and hoping for. Our only hope now is that the protest continue and perhaps if we get lucky enough, another revolution will occur, but most experts (if not all) say its extremely unlikely that there will be a Government change, let alone another Revolution.

As for North Korea, they’re acting up as it becomes more clear that there’s a problem inside the country with their leadership. After the UN resolution they’ve already promised a third nuclear test. And their already moving things around for another missile test, this time aimed at Hawaii. North Korea said in the past if we tried to shoot down their missile’s it’ll be a act of war, and Gates has already said they plan to shoot it down if it comes close. Now tho lately because of the resolution North Korea has already said they are now officially at war with South Korea and the USA, rather anything comes of this only time will tell.

If these things do escalate as is likely, it won’t be no 2 theater conflict, it’ll be a 3 theater conflict. It’ll be us finishing up in Iraq as we are escalating the war in Afghanistan, when the deadline ends and we will most likely come under attack by Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan in response to Israel launching a attack on them. We will then need to strike back causing a 3rd theater. Then there’s North Korea which is extremely unpredictable right now, if things continue to escalate, and they fire a missile at us that we shoot down, we will officially be at war with them. Rather they declare it a war for us shooting their missile down, or us declaring it a war cause they fired at us, it won’t matter, welcome to the 4th theater. Now you may say this is all non-sense and it’ll never happen, but if history teaches us anything, that’s to be PREPARED for the unexpected. The 381 F-22 requirement now seems about right now doesn’t it?

Well-written Zach.

However, considering that the Israeli Air Force according to Wikipedia has a grand total of 53 F-15s, 25 F-15Es, and 300 F-16s…and they are surrounded by enemies…and they may attack Iran without overflight rights or our tanker quantities…somehow I suspect we would not be threatened by Iranian attacks against us in Iraq or Afghanistan given the size of our air, naval, and ground forces there.

North Korea and their leader is all talk. They have virtually no quality air force and barely credible air defenses. What they do have is a large Army. But believe it or not, the ROK army is more than up to handling North Korea, especially with our help.

Suspect Japan and South Korea will up their defense budgets to respond to the North Korean and Chinese threats. Allies help. We are NEVER in it alone.

Consider in Georgia that if we had placed deterrent ground forces on the ground at the first sign of satellite trouble, that conflict may never have occurred. It is far easier to place a ground tripwire in theater than to make a Presidential decision to attack Russian ground troops with our airpower.

Don’t believe it? At the end of our Serbian airpower exercise in 1999, the Russians placed airborne troops in Serbia to ensure their place at the bargaining table. Would we have attacked their airborne forces with our airpower for placing a deterrent force there?

But we gave away that capability when we killed FCS manned ground vehicles.

War over resources? Fortunately that is probably more likely to be a Russian attempt to their south…and they are weaker, and we are already there in mass. We already see them cutting off natural gas to Europe.

The Chinese will have the money to pay for their oil because they sell stuff to us through Walmart. Should China attack Taiwan, we blockade them, stop buying stuff for Walmart, and they get no oil even if they can still afford it. They can’t afford to build a quality air force, naval force, and ground force all at once in 20 years.

Wow, I must say using wikipedia for an informational tug-of-war with other people is NOT the way to go. Wikipedia cannot be trusted for liable information.

But when it comes down to it, the F-22 is a helluvalot better fighter than the F-35. F-35 is’nt sopposed to reach full production until late this year or sometime next. While the F-22 we could be pumping out right now. Oh and 2 engines is better than 1 from what I hear (lol). You lose 1 engine in a burn out then well you got another to run off. With the F-35 you lose that 1 engine. Then well I hope you are packing some heat, or are invited to a party cause most likely you are gonna go down over enemy airspace. The F-22 has room to upgrade, all fighters do. Its a general requirement set down by the airforce. To have room to upgrade the fighter.

Cole, While North Korea may be all talk, if war did break out, South Korea as you said, has a modern military that should be able to easily deal with North Korea’s outdated military.

One thing you didn’t touch on was their nukes, I believe (as do others) that their leader is mentally insane. And I fear he would use the 9 nuclear bombs he is believed to still have when he sees things are going horribly bad for him. While North Korea’s long range missiles to put it bluntly, suck, their short range missiles should be more then enough to propel a nuke into Seoul which is basically right on the border. They don’t need to be accurate, as long as its near the city, their nukes will wipe Seoul off the planet. I’d love to hear from you on this problem.

As for China, yea I suspect Japan and South Korea will be forced to increase their budgets, but hopefully they wont turn out to be like Germany. They just sit in the safest corner in Afghanistan and expect us to do all the work.

As for Russia being deterred from attacking Georgia with a quick reaction team (aka FCS) I do believe 100% this would of stopped them, if not controlled how far they went. I also am saddened that FCS MGV was canceled. Hopefully the new program (if it ever comes) will be well worth the wait.

But I’m not all to sure about China simply buying oil, experts believe we are running out. And with China’s growing economy, they will need more. World players have already moved their chess peices in the middle east, and China isn’t that far away.

As for Russia I can see them moving south, (they did have Tajikistan demand that we stop using their airfields for use in Afghanistan, then theirs of course Georgia) But their economy is in bad shape so I would think if Russia tried any kind of war with resources, it’d be a price war over the cost of their natural gas. They couldn’t afford a long military campaign.

What are your thoughts on this?


Their is something you haven’t brought up yet, regarding China. America doesn’t have to worry about China long Term..Why? Economy. Lets make this simple, what happens when the majority of you population is 55+? That’s right, welfare.

You think the American Health Care is bad, what till hundreds of million of people require assistance from the government.

I have read countless studies on China, long term effects. China is booming now, but long term they will never become a Super Power like America. Years ago China limited couples to only have one child. What happens when the elderly out number 30 and younger? Your economy will go down the drain.

My prediction is, China will continue to boom until about 2020, where it will peak, and start to go down from their due to lack of production and how their communist government lacks the care of their people.

Like I said, it’s like the American health-care system x100.

What is your guys take?


They are pumping out the F-22’s right now, they will be making them until the last one is build in 2011…Granted, they should be making them as fast as they are the F-35’s. At least, this gives the DoD enough of a window, do decide if they are going to be making more, or stick with the F-35 plans.

The “low production rate”, like you said, begins at Q4 of this year. This gives the DoD a “real world” look at the finished F-35 version, and the opportunity to see if it lives up to the hype…or, to ramp-up the F-22’s past 2011.

Note: I’m going by Wikipedia, I could be wrong.

Garret said: “Wow, I must say using wikipedia for an informational tug-of-war with other people is NOT the way to go. Wikipedia cannot be trusted for LIABLE information.“
Let’s leave the lawyers out of this. ;)

Wikipedia cited the 2008 Source Book: World Military Aircraft Inventory from Aviation Week & Space Technology. They were slightly off the GlobalSecurity figures. But they and FAS, etc often seem to use old information. Citations and updating give Wikipedia more accuracy than academia generally admits to.

Bottom line is that unlike the U.S., Israel faces genuine threats of daily homeland attack, and threats to its very existence. Yet the IAF facing strong opponents seemingly gets by with 1/3 of the air superiority fighters (53–62 F-15)and more like 1/6 of the lower cost fighters (300–309 F-16). Include our Naval/Marine fighters which will be used to achieve air superiority anywhere we fight, and the balance is far more lopsided in our favor.
Garret continues: “But when it comes down to it, the F-22 is a helluvalot better fighter than the F-35.“
Irrelevant. Our nation and DoD can better afford a high-low mix of fighter capability. It worked in the past with F-15/F-16. It will work again in 2020+ with low observability added to both!

Zach, suspect the threat of conventional rocket/missile/artillery attack of Seoul is greater than the risk of nuclear attack.

Remember, there are still plans to bring families to South Korea and have accompanied tours…something you would not expect if war was imminent.

Also bet (with no military knowledge) that we have MASINT capabilities to detect North Korean nukes and take them out conventionally while they are setting them up to fire. Should that fail, I also suspect our Patriots and THAAD can handle the threat.

Finally, I suspect (again just from news articles) the current leadership of North Korea will not survive his old age long enough to see a credible nuclear capability in place. Some of the explosions to date sound more like tactical nukes, and there is no indication that they have figured out how to put said small explosion/large size nukes on a missile.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this ship we are tailing and how successful this missile test will be on or about July 4th (based on their past use of our patriotic holidays).

The money for these planes came “energy Department cleanups at nuclear weapon sites”! They risk a nuclear material getting into the hands of bad people to buy more planes.

john the privi,
Either come up with some evidence for your assertion or pass the doobie

F-22 Fight Divides Gates, U.S. Lawmakers

“For now, the $369 million for F-22s comes from money that had been budgeted for Energy Department cleanups at nuclear weapon sites. In his amendment, Bishop said the money is to be taken from projects that are ahead of schedule or are so far behind that they won’t be able to spend money allocated for 2010.”

I’m shocked and amazed at some of the folks participating in this forum. Anyone with 3 firing neurons should know the F-22 is an air superiority fighter — the F-35 is basically a stealthy “bomb truck”. To say that the F-35 outperforms the F-22 is utter nonsense. It’s the same HI-LO paradigm as the F-15 / F-16 relationship. Gates is a shortsighted jackass — we need more F-22s.

Yeah a big problem for obama who wants to disarm Armerica

interesting discussion. two points: we need f-22s and next generation fighters to avoid an arms race; we need air superiority to prevent the casulaties that are unacceptable to the American public in a nonconventional fight v. non-state actors. Like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc.

One thing about the F-22 vs. the F-35 issue, it will take 25 YEARS+ once full rate production starts (at current project annual rates) to purchase all the F-35s. Those direct energy weapons? Will probably happen, but it will be a while. Also look at the missions each acft is designed for. The F-22, air superiority with residual ground attack capability. The F-35, ground attack with some sir-to-air capability. And if you are using your F-35s in air-to-air missions, they are not attacking anything on the ground. Load them up under the wings and air-to-air gets more difficult and their LO radar signature gets larger.

FMC rate and maintainability of the F-35 can not be measured yet. Hopefully it will live up to expectations and projections, but what if it does not?

In the mean time our air superiority acft are aging out and being replaced by nothing. When SecDef Gates uttered the infamous ‘next war itis’ statement, I could not help thinking that a lot of the weapons currently engaged came out of ‘next war itis’ thinking. We became as proficient as we are through ‘next war itis’ thinking.

F-18E/F gaining air superiority? Sure, for now. What about 10 years from now? Or 15? There are airframes out there that can give all our 4th generation acft a run for their money if properly utilized. How well will the SuperBugs do when systems like the S-300 become more apparent? Or countries do start buying the Su-30/35 in large numbers? OF China sells J-10s and J-11s to anyone with cash?

To me the F-35 will be a good multi-purpose airframe, but two missions deserve dedicated airframes; CAS and air superiority. With the F-35, we are not getting that. 187 F-22 airframes does not give a viable force for more than one place at a time. We are also stating we are going to use an $80 million+ airframe for CAS as it will replace the A-10? Great, a soft skin airframe down in the weeds. Yes, CAS is transforming but there will be times that the ‘close’ portion of CAS will have to be do0ne. LO technology is worthless when the bad guys can see the darn thing. As far as capabilities? Well, while the F-35 has many nations participating, sales of the F-22 through FMS is illegal. Why?

And what are we going to use for CONUS AD mission? That same $80 million+ airframe that has already had noise issues/concerns from surrounding communities? Commonality with the Ad and resere components is great, but an updated 4th generation airframe might do the mission just as well or even better. Since F-15s and F-16s will be on someone’s ramp for the foreseeable future, parts should not be an issue and the troops are already trained on them and facilities can accomodate them. Upfront costs would be less. Not sure about 30 year life cycle costs.

And comparison to the IAF? The IAF has a lot smaller area to defend against well known opposition. To say that they get by so we can to is a dangerous supposition. But if we offered, I would bet they would jump at the F-22.

Good comments sw614.

sw614 said: “One thing about the F-22 vs. the F-35 issue, it will take 25 YEARS+ once full rate production starts (at current project annual rates) to purchase all the F-35s.“
reply: And that allows the F-35 to benefit from 2020+ technology instead of being stuck with 1990s processors, no helmet mounted cueing system, no DAS, no EO/IR, and more maintenance intensive stealth. Who knows what new advances they can fit on future F-35s. Today, I see that LockMart is saying they can make F-35 unmanned!

Elsewhere google “The F-22 can’t do what?” in DEW line for a laundry list of increment upgrades early F-22s will require (and some can’t be upgraded as much) that will cost $8 billion on top of the current $62 billion…and maybe $2.8 billion more for 12 more F-22. They still won’t have a helmet mounted cueing system or the ability to target more than 2 targets with 8 SDMs initially!
You said: “Also look at the missions each acft is designed for. The F-22, air superiority with residual ground attack capability. The F-35, ground attack with some sir-to-air capability.“
reply: That’s the point. The white scarf USAF component has yet to recognize that the air-to-air mission is disappearing because TBM are cheaper, easier to hide (no airfield to attack), and are not threatened by F-22s!

Few nations hava large quality air forces. They can’t afford them and have nothing to answer stealth, so why bother. How do you afford Pak FA or even Su-35s in number when your defense budget is less than $7 billion a year…which is all but a few countries we realistically might fight.

Many nations, even poor ones like North Korea, have large standing armies that are potential targets for air-to-ground. Hence the need for a greater percentage of ground attack aircraft in the future joint force.
you said: “F-18E/F gaining air superiority? Sure, for now. What about 10 years from now? Or 15? There are airframes out there that can give all our 4th generation acft a run for their money if properly utilized. How well will the SuperBugs do when systems like the S-300 become more apparent? Or countries do start buying the Su-30/35 in large numbers? OF China sells J-10s and J-11s to anyone with cash?
reply: I thought the F-35 was replacing older F-18s for air superiority and not the newer ones? The Navy, Marine, and USAF F-35 answers the “quantity has a quality all its own” argument. 62% of 20 F-22s is 13 mission capable aircraft. 79% of 24 F-35s is 19 ready aircraft. Which carries more AMRAAMs and covers a wider area?

True, we don’t know what the mission capable rate will be but obviously the parts will be cheaper given the mass production, and problem fixes for one aircraft will apply to other versions in many cases. The F-35 LO is also less maintenance intensive, I believe.

Aren’t you confident the F-22/F-35 and F-35/F/A-18E/F will figure out TTP to work together during the short air supremacy war? Don’t they have a Super Hornet Growler now and F/A-18E/F towed decoys, some degree of stealth, and AESA radar for the near term?

Aren’t their newer USAF F-15E out there and F-15 Golden Eagles? Bet the Israelis plan to use their similar F-15I for air-to-air.
sw614 said:“And what are we going to use for CONUS AD mission? That same $80 million+ airframe that has already had noise issues/concerns from surrounding communities?“
I see the NORAD/NORTHCOM commander wants a whole new aircraft, perhaps in recognition that neither the F-22/F-35 are the answer? Why can’t it be unmanned? MQ-X?
sw614 said:“And comparison to the IAF? The IAF has a lot smaller area to defend against well known opposition. To say that they get by so we can to is a dangerous supposition. But if we offered, I would bet they would jump at the F-22.“
Good point about the IAF defending a smaller area. But they also seem to think they can attack Iran with what they have. That sure isn’t a local defense!

And they would love to get into the F-22/F-35 innards and software so they could sell their stuff to India/Turkey and other F-35 owners!

Interesting debate. However, my personal opinion is that the LO advantage of the F-22 is more important than all of the fancy gadgets and avionics that the F-35 currently has that the F-22 won’t for a few more years. The point being that any conflict we get in our biggest threat will be ground threats more than air threats. The F-35 will not be able to enter denied airspace as easily as the F-22, and that’s where the F-22 is so important. If we get in it with Iran, North Korea, or any other number of small countries that have invested heavily in surface-to-air defense, especially with Russia marketing their S-300 and S-400 systems to just about anyone with money, that is where having large numbers of F-22s will really benefit I believe. Even if it was developed as an air superiority fighter, in future conflicts I think that the F-22 will excel at knocking out integrated-air defense systems. I have little doubt that our F-35s and F-18E/F/Gs are more than capable of neutralizing any air force on the planet with minimal losses, but they may not fare as well against advanced air defenses unless our jamming and decoy technology is enough to help get the job done without the LO of the F-22

Cole — one point you are missing is that we will not have enough fighters to go around for a long time. Right now the USAF is slated to buy 1,753 F-35s. Great, but at only 48 or so per year. The F-15s and F-16s were purchased in very large blocks and are aging out of the force. The current projected shortfall is up to 800 airframes by 2024. We need to do two things, buy enough F-22s to meet projected requirements and speed up F-35 procurement. There has never been any study that solidified 183 (or 187) as the number of F-22s to meet any requirement. rather the number was reached by the Bush Administration letting the final decision carry over to the new administration.

The 2020 technology will indeed benefit the F-35s that will be coming off the line. And simultaneously render older versions obsolete.

I recently read that the F/A-18C/Ds that the F-35 is to replace are aging faster than anticipated with only gaining an average of 600 additional flight hours with a SLEP. Again, with the low rate purchases (about 96 per year DoD wide at peak production) the USN and DoD have a very hard decision to make; either give priority to USN because of this or retire the F/A-18 C/Ds and wait for the F-35. A UAV F-35 is possible, but that is probably a ways off. Comparing the F-22 to possible improvements to the F-35 (which at this point are an academic exercise) 20+ years from now really isn’t a direct comparison. And these incremental improvements that you like on the F-35 you seem to dislike on the F-22. Why are incremental changes good for one and a detractor for the other?

My point is not to buy F-22s in lieu of F-35s, but rather buy enough F-22s to be a viable force. 187 is not enough.

I do not see UAVs taking over CONUS defense. Too often eyes on target are needed and I don’t care how good the sensor and video system, you are still looking at a screen in stead of the real deal. I foresee 300 or so new version legacy airframes for the ANG and CONUS defense.

There are ‘newer’ F-15Es out there, but they are not the same as dedicated F-15Cs in the A-to-A role. Look at it this way, we are replacing over 500 F-15 air superiority versions with only 187 F-22s. We are replacing F-16A/B/C/D and F/A-18C/D on a ratio close to 1 to 1. If we are to keep the same coverage, then more F-22s are needed. Although the F-22 will not have the F-35s strike capability, it will have more than the F-15s it is replacing and thus qualifies as a minor force multiplier. F-15A/B/C/D ‘not a pound for air-to-ground’.

You are correct on logistical costs per airframe since we are buying lots of F-35s, but I read today that now “someone” is projecting initial unit costs as high as $110-$140 million per!. Initially, the F-35s will carry 4 A-to-A missiles. Two will be needed to equal one F-22. Which is more cost efficient at this stage? And they can not supercruise. As an ex-maintainer with 23 years bending wrenches, I was glad to read that the program started with maintenance in mind. All too often it was an afterthought. And it sucked!

As to the Growler, the last thing you want is jammers with LO acft. Turn that on and you announce you are coming. With non-LO acft doesn’t matter as they need the jamming capability in conjunction with decoys. But jamming does announce your presence before you shoot a thing.

The IAF can pull off limited long range (for them) strike missions. The Iraqi reactor and the Entebee mission showed that. That still doesn’t mean they are more than what they actually are. The will probably use their F-15I as strike and F-15Cs for cover as they have the range and precision/stand-off load carrying capability. Would have to put at least 3 gas bags on the F-16s for that trip I would think.


I am beginning to believe that with the F-35, they are trying to do too much with a single engined aircraft. For example, in order to give it a range comparable to significantly larger twin-engine designs (F-15E, Su-30, EF-2000) it carries a huge amount of internal fuel. Yet even with an incredibly powerful engine, all of that weight is gonna hurt maneuverability and speed in the end. Despite Lockheed Martin’s best efforts it is impossible for the F-35 match up to a larger twin-engined strike fighter in terms of range, payload, and speed. We should not be expecting the F-35 to provide everything from a cheap F-16 replacement to an aircraft to fill the role of F-15Es and F-111s.

Personally I believe it is rather foolish for such a 5th generation design to lack thrust vectoring nozzles. Even if such a system could not be incorporated into the VTOL F-35B, it could certainly improve the performance of the F-35A and F-35C. It seems to me like the rear of the aircraft should have been laid out differently with a thrust vectoring, 2D nozzle similar to that of the F-22A. The current LOAN nozzle may have plenty of stealth features built into it, but I doubt it is nearly nearly as stealthy as such a 2D design.

The capability for six internal air-to-air missiles should be with the initial production aircraft and not planned for down the road.

What Stone Age country will we be invading that we need this firepower?


We can’t handle Somalia.

The Secretary of Defense has issued the statement under former president Bush that the F-22A is a “Cold War” weapon that needs to be cancelled and president Obama has agreed. The issue with the F-22A is cost, so the alternative is to buy a larger number of the
F-35 for each service at a lower cost per airframe. The QDR will now outline the new direction the DOD wants to take in terms of weapons procurement. High cost and complex weapon systems are on the chopping block so that the US Army and Marines can beef up their ranks for the type of warfare we currently fight. The future of the Air Force and Navy are unclear at this point, we are too concerned with the irregular warfare to worry about that!

We should all know that the F 35 is a compromise dual purpose Navy & Air Force fighter.
We should also know that the govt is looking to cut costs so even if f35 is better or not it will win out.
I personally don’t know which is better, but I do know that when the budet knife reigns supreme the best weapon(s) needed in our arsenal fall victim to it. This means that when push comes to shove our people will be short changed, & may lose any possible advantage needed to protect themselves & our country.
I think having 250 Raptors in the arsenal will be a tremendous asset to our military & building some 350 Lightning IIs won’t hurt either. This will give our guys the advantage needed when push does come to shove.!!
Joe Cottone sr

Jason June 18th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

We won’t need 381 F-22 fighters, when you have 2,000+ F-35 being built…oh, and by the way, the F-35 is superior in the majority in specs…


More weapons payload, cheaper, and better electronics and sensors…

Read the page, then talk about the need for more F-22’s…Gates know’s something you don’t.
Nuff said…

Dont believe everything you read on wikipedia.
But you are right, they arent telling us everything. But what else is new.

The number 187 seems to have been choosen with no appropriate reason (other than stopping now). We should choose 250 (intermediate risk) as the F-22 number. Spending about 8–9 billion more is not going to endanger the US– heck we spent 800 billion on pork for the Congress (so called stimulus). The extra 63 F-22s will cost about 9 billion. So much of the cost debate about the F-222 vs F-35 is BS– no one knows the cost of the F-35 and the added cost of a F-22 is about 130–140 million.

the thing everyone totes about the F-35 is that yeah its about a good a dogfighter as a cessna but its so stealth its invisable. yeah ok for now whenever a tech is created someone is creating something to counter it so what happens when we can no longer blow our enemies away with out them knowing we’re there? we will ne a no s**t air-to-air f you up, blow the newest Su-whatever out of the sky dogfighter.
balance is best dont go to far in this-war-its or nxt-war-its. The AF should have a health mix of air dominance fighter and strike fighter

All I can say is the F-35 is all hype until it becomes operational. Initially, the first few lots will cost as much as an F-22 and will be less capable. Hopefully, the F-35 lives up to it’s hype and be able to do what people here say it can do.

The f-35 is going to have some real cabability (all around multirole).. but to say it lives up to the f-22 in air superiority is a joke!

Gentlemen: At least the group on this blog all seem to be gentlemen. Sec’y Gates is trying to put an end to production of the F-22 for several very logical reasons, the most prominent of them being:

1) He is attempting to get the Pentagon out of the “Big-War Itus” that has held sway in Arlington for the last 50 years. Let’s face it folks, there are NO adversaries on this planet that are capable of fighting the US in a classic all-out war — and there won’t be for the foreseeable future — because NOBODY has the funds to put together a fighting force that would last more than 60 days against our air-sea-land juggernaut.

2) China will not become the 21st century’s “superpower”, for the reason stated in a previous entry. They have already doomed the growth of their country by adopting the “one-child per couple” edict. Even if they were to reverse that policy tomorrow, it would be 35 years before they could re-establish a growing, economically productive society. The economies of Russia, Iran and North Korea are in such sad shape that they will never be able to produce militarys capable of standing up to the US until they are able to turn their respective economies around — and that will never happen unless they become western-style capitalists. Do you imagine that happening in the next 10 years? No, I didn’t think so.

3) And now let’s really be open-minded with each other. Since the cease-fire in Korea in 1953, other than the 30 days it took us to take defeat Iraq’s forces, were have we been in an all-out war with a modern country capable of standing up to our combined firepower? That’s right — we haven’t been.

So in light of the above, under what likely scenario would we have any use for more than the existing 187 F-22’s? I’m an aviation nut, and I love the F-22 and what it stands for, but at 180 to 220 mil per copy it is a luxury we can’t afford. Couple this with the fact that our past history of having a “skunk works plane” waiting in the wings if we need to meet unforeseen adversary technology advances, I am satisfied that SoD Gates has all his bases covered as far as the F-22 is concerned.

What we should be spending much more of our DoD funds on the reorganization and retraining of our grunts and jarheads to fight the “small-war” against islamic terrorists, insurgents and accidental guerrillas, devising more effective methods of detecting and disarming IEDs and suicide bombers, developing more bomb-hardened, but lighter MRAPs, and training a much larger percentage of our troops on how to be diplomats and “village rebuilders”.

I know, this sounds rather low-tech to most of you, but to paraphrase Don Rumsfeld, “we have to fight the wars we have, not the ones we’d like to have.”

Mentioned on here before my friend who flew on Tornado F3‘s till recently . He said the F3 can take on any I repeat any Russian threat due to better radar , avionics , missiles and pilot training . So god knows what the F22,Typhoon and F35 would do .

He said the US and UK airforces are fifteen/twenty years ahead in terms of the above , the russian airforce is broken and their equipment substandard .

Re the F22 and F35 its all about bvr due to the massive improvement in missile technology . If the USA has over 2000 F35‘s no one is going to trouble them .Also please remember the USA is updating more and more ships to Aegis capability .

As for China why does it want a war with the USA , what good would it do but destroy their own economy ?

For the Russians or China to compete with this arsenal would take twenty/thirty years of training and hundreds of billions of expenditure , it makes no sense for them to even bother . They will spend their money on subs , uavs and carrier killer missiles .

As Gates knows Taranis and other stealth UAVs working in swarms is the the long term future not $300 million planes that spend most of the time in the hangar being serviced .


The idea of deterence cracks me up.
Just who is a force of fighter jets supposed to deter from doing what?
Who honestly believes that with all the tools of war we have at our disposal, and all the conflicts that our war machine hasn’t detered, that yet another hi tech tool is going to prevent near peer powers from acting in their own interests.
Propaganda and fear are GREAT weapons to use right here at home and get better results in achieving goals than do the latest and greatest systems we field. smdh.

Ooops! My bad. I meant my opinion for the other Raptor thread.
My apologies.

Stephen, you are extremely naive. I question why you are even reading defense blogs to begin with, as you clearly seem to be nothing more than a troll. You have no idea how the ability for America to project it’s power acts as a deterrent to other nations looking to do certain things not in the best interests of the United States. Just because it doesn’t deter EVERYTHING does not mean deterrence is not an effective tool. It sounds like you have better things to do anyways, like read the 9/11-truther blogs where you look less silly and people will actually gobble up your favorite buzzwords.

Wonder no longer Alex. I’ll share w/ you, from Trollville.

While seeing the stuff that doesn’t hit the news, one learns from many points of view on any given topic.

Many views, no doubt come from informed and insightful, thinking people with a propensity to think things through while occasionally, a former D&D dungeon master pops up, looking to hold court, lamenting days long gone when a posse of believers hung on his every word, seeks a throne and bristles when his wand waving fails to capture the attention he seeks.

I imagine Alex that trolls are as easily entertained by folly as sheep are herded by fear.

Very well thought out argument Stephen. Great sentence structure, big words, almost makes you look like you have any idea what you are talking about. Fortunately, your big words and complex analogies are unable to fool the keen observer. We are able to see through the elitist BS that is you trying to show off your perceived intellectual superiority over others who are “herded by fear” by using big words and complex analogies to mask the fact that you are trolling a subject that you obviously have no grasp of, beyond liberal media talking points and buzzwords. Fortunately, even the extreme left in our government don’t share your point of view (although they certainly do share the perceived intellectual prowess!) or we most certainly would not have a defense industry.

There’s only what, one word over three syllables?

I know, I was really pushing the envelope there.

Certainly. Now back to the subject — are you able to give any coherent input into this debate, or will you just continue to use your talking points about fear and sheep without showing any comprehension of the issue at hand? I’ve heard your POV dozens of times, but I suspect you are the same as every other person, and if it came down to actually discussing defense strategy, geo-politics, deterrence and how they were all intertwined, you would quickly run back under the bridge you came from.

Any high ticket weapons system is in for trouble as Congress has one priority.

Fund their liberal agenda and universal health care. They’ll tell you that’s not true but anyone with any knowledge of history can see hundreds if not thousands of examples over the last 40 years.

What’s going on went on during the Carter and Clinton administration and even to some extent during the Eisenhower, Johnson and G.H.W. Bush administrations. Congress is cyclical in their spending priorities according to the publics mood and what gets them re-elected.

This is no different than the article on the Osprey and numerous others you WILL see in the months and years ahead unless something happens to change the countries mood. The voters vote their pocket books unless they’re scarred and then they vote national security until it fade from their short self absorbed memories. Otherwise supporters and detractors in Congress largely fall along the lines of whose districts get the jobs and you rub my back and I’ll rub yours.

Tis the way of the world.

Alan, that might be the most truthful thing said on here so far.

Steve Graves,

1) Which is absolutely the wrong thing to do. The US clearly being prepared for “big wars” has gone an awful long way towards preventing us from having to fight one. If you fail to be prepared for a “big war” & one happens, the results WILL BE disastrous.

2) It isn’t about fighting China!

3) As with 1), the strength & technological edge of the US military has gone a long way towards preventing who knows how many wars and was the means by which ODS was such a short overwhelming victory. That edge will be lost if be continue with are (for the most part) 1980’s era military equipment (aside frm the Arleigh Burke DDGs the US military has not gotten much in the way of new equipment since the end of the cold war). The youngest F-15C was built in 1986!

It is much easier to adapt a “big war” military to fithe “small wars” than to adapt a “small wars” military to fight “big wars”.

I will admit, I have not read every post, I stopped when I realized it was more a battle between fans of the F-22 and the F-35.. Jason referred to a wikipedia page about the F-35 and the following is a copy and paste from that page…

“The F-35 is intended to be the world’s premier strike aircraft through 2040, with close– and long-range air-to-air capability second only to that of the F-22 Raptor.[5] The F-35 is required to be four times more effective than existing fighters in air-to-air combat, eight times more effective in air-to-ground battle combat, and three times more effective in reconnaissance and suppression of air defenses — all while having better range and require less logistics support.[9]”

Needless to say, I am a fan of the F-22 Raptor.. F-35 is only second best!

The F-22A was designed to defeat advanced Soviet Air Defenses and escort the B-2B to targets in the soviet theater of operation, this mentality has doomed both aircraft to low numbers since the fall of the Soviet Union eliminated this requirement in the context for which it was conceived. Now if we are to take out the missile systems in North Korea without using nuclear weapons, guess what, the F-22A/B-2B scenario becomes relevant agiain. The F-22A can penetrate advanced air defense systems, this is what any fighter not on a suicide mission will have to do in modern warfare. The F-35 series are stated as “not as stealthy” as the F-22A, which indicates they will be good enough to get through. The use of stealth in combat aircraft is here to stay or the country using less stealthy aircraft will have to buld large numbers ot overwelm air defense systems.
Air defense systems in Viet Nam caught the US off guard and teh losses are still legendary. The F-22A/B-2B/F-35 are required not to repeat that fiasco. Advanced air defense systems are being fielded worldwide at a much faster pace than advanced fighter aircraft. The next war itis will preveail in DC since it was the lesson learned from doing nothing prior to both WWI and WWII.


Why and the hell is everyone downing the F-35 capabilities? I don’t understand, NO fighter will be able to match it for years to come. Is it because they are F-22 fan-boys? Like I said, China and Russia won’t be able to match it, let alone the F-22.

The F-35 will begin to roll-of the production line in 2011, I just don’t see the fighter gap everyone is talking about. I’m sure we can keep the F-15/16/18/ in service for another 10 years. And who knows, they even might keep the F-22 line open past 2011.…

–F-22A carries twice as many air-to-air missiles as the F-35A
–F-22A tactically employs at nearly twice the altitude and at 50% greater airspeed than the F-35A, giving F-22 air-to-air missiles a 40% greater employment range
and increased lethalityand vastly Increases F-22’s air-to-ground weapons employment range
–F-22A can control more than twice the battle space of the F-35A
–F-22A in production…F-35A initial operational capability date is 2013…key in considering F-15Cs need to be replaced now
–Only the F-22 features vectored thrust, giving it twice the maneuverability of an F-35
–The F-22 can turn at twice the rate of an F-35

There have been about 30 studies looking at the needs of the AF as pertains to the 22/35 debate. And they still say we need at least 240.

If the F-35 faces a serious threat from Russian ‘double digit’ SAMS, it’s likely we’ll lose several aircraft. The F-22 is the fighter for the job.

Wow… a lot to soak in… Apparently, this will go on for a while, but remember that these aircrafts are designed for specific threats and weapon replacements. F-22 is clearly a response to the SU-47 with its stunning acrobatics including flying backwards, which is possible with vector thrust. F-35 is clearly a response to the aging fleet of Harriers, F-15/16/18. F-22 is very impressive but has more limits in deployment than the F-35. Also note, only the F-35 STOVL has vertical landing, takeoff capabilities.

Overall, based upon the lessen threat of the SU-47. It is logical not to pursue F-22 for the more deploy F-35. One more thing, by choosing one and not both, this increases the likelihood of spares availability at a lower cost.

DensityDuck June 18th, 2009 at 6:19 pm — the F35 does not come close to the F22 (two very different planes with different roles). The fact is the main reason why we need more F22 (and lot more F35s as well). Gates is just doing what Obama want and if he (Obama) had his way we would have no F22s and more health care for illegals

Huge mistake for Gates to remove funding from the F-22 program in order to support GE’s alternate engine program. Party politics will be the death of us. Democrats wrongly proclaim that no more wars are left to fight and the F-22 is not necessary. The USA absolutely needs at least 381 F-22s, but since Dems have the majority vote, expect 187 F-22s , continued JSF alternate engine funding, universal health care, Obama Motors, Obama Banking, Obama Investments,Obama Broadcasting Company & the Obama Times.

The F-22 and the JSF are 2 different planes, different capabilities. Is 6 Sqdrns. enough? I don’t think so. Where did the #187 come from? We will need capable allies, so why not sell it to the Japanese? Australians? If there is a next big one, we are gonna need capable allies. Remember, the quality of the men piloting these planes is, I believe, a cut above those who do not have the flying hours in, the experience that Western pilots have. [Top Gun, Red Flag] That counts.

lets at least get the dang costs correct– the F-22 is NOT 180–220 million– its is about 140 million. R & D cost are sunk costs and have no role in future procurement decisions. The threat is clearly lower than when both planes were being developed– but we cannot totally discount a possible war. Therefore, i maintain that we should choose the intermediate risk level (240 F-22)- why ever choose the high risk level– 187? We do not need the low risk level of 380 in light of the continuing decline of the Russian armed forces. It would have the side benefit of keeping jobs, as well as potentially keep the line open for possible sales to Japan & Australia.

And if Obama keeps the line open, then he can go on TV and tell the world that he saved 100,000 jobs.

It’s been argued that the F-35 Lightning II is a better buy because it’s a less expensive aircraft, but just recently in the Wall Street Journal there was an article which read how the Pentagon was awarding Lockheed Martin $3.1Billion for the purchase of 14 F-35 fighter jets and doing the math, this comes out to be over $221.4M per aircraft which means even at $200M for each F-22 Raptor is still a bargain especially when it is a superior aircraft.

I think a “better buy” for the next fifty years would be to upgrade, re-certify all of these we can get our hands on.


They are needed right now and will be for a long time.

Talk about “getting your moneys worth”, you damn sure do with these, and the grunts love them with a passion.

Papa Ray
West Texas


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