U.S. Air Dominance Eroding

U.S. Air Dominance Eroding

The U.S. military’s historic dominance of the skies, unchallenged since around spring 1943, is increasingly at risk because of the proliferation of advanced technologies and a buildup of potential adversary arsenals, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the service’s chief for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Speaking today at the Air Force’s annual convention in the Washington area today, he provided a wide ranging assessment of what the QDR team is calling “high-end, asymmetric threats.”

Emphasizing the increasing capabilities of “anti-access weapons,” such as long range precision missiles, Deptula said pilots in future wars will not operate in the “permissive” threat environments of current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Deptula, best known for crafting the Desert Storm air campaign, said potential opponents have learned from U.S. operations and will use precision arsenals to stop a buildup of U.S. airpower near their borders before a war even begins.

Without functioning ground bases, aircraft cannot operate; the Air Force is investing heavily in shorter ranged tactical aircraft, such as the F-22 and F-35, along with a host of older F-15 and F-16. Overseas bases from which these aircraft operate are now threatened by increasingly accurate ballistic missiles in Chinese, Russian, Iranian and North Korean arsenals, Deptula said. The newest models are road mobile and exceedingly difficult to locate.

Enemies will use cyber attacks to target U.S. command and control networks and satellite relays, the smooth functioning of which the military is now completely dependant. “Space is no longer a sanctuary and our satellites are at risk… for five decades the U.S. has led the world in space,” he said, now, “the space domain is perhaps the most likely arena for threats to achieve leveraged effects,” against U.S. operations. The Chinese are developing anti-satellite weapons, as are the Russians, and the number of countries that can launch sensor-loaded satellites into space is increasing.

Because of improvements in over the horizon and passive radars, U.S. aircraft will be detected long before they reach their targets. “The area that we operate in free from detection is rapidly shrinking,” Deptula said, “our adversaries are going to have capabilities that we’ve never operated against.” The newest generation surface-to-air missiles, such as the Russian SA-21, have ranges exceeding 300 miles and the ability to target low flying aircraft, and will likely be exported.

Speaking to the more traditional realm of air-to-air combat, so dear to his audience’s heart, Deptula contends that the U.S. technological edge there is eroding. While “fourth generation” fighters are no match for the most advanced U.S. fighters, Deptula reminded the audience of the Russian export success with the MIG-21, some 12,000 of which were built, and operated by over 50 countries.

Russia and China are both developing “fifth generation” fighters that will be widely exported at prices that will undercut the F-35 price tag. Both nations will thus acquire “near F-22 performance… while attempting to proliferate the [aircraft] to perhaps near F-35 like quantities,” he said. “We may be facing a fighter threat capability in quantities we’ve never experienced before.”

Its not just in the technology realm that America’s enemies are seeking advantage. Unable to counter the U.S. dominance in long-range strike, enemies in wars among the people use information operations to influence perceptions about civilian casualties and deny the U.S. ability to leverage its asymmetric advantages. Deptula said media savvy opponents who skillfully manipulate global public perception are an example of successful “Effects Based Operations,” a doctrinal term that has recently fallen into disfavor, except among air power advocates.

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All of this explains why a COIN aircraft is extremely vital, right?

yes it does, so we don’t burn up the flight hours of the aircraft we need doing missions they are over kill for.

To be expected from the Generals — the audience loves to hear that we are facing new, enormous threats and therefore must spend freely. Still the headline could have easily been “US Air Dominance May Erode One Of These Days” to put the remarks into perspective.

You don’t want to underestimate your future opponents — and invite a new Pearl Harbor attack — but we do need to apply some common sense here.

The “success” of the MiG 21 really just provided us and our allies such as Israel with lots of targets. When we respect their capabilities, that type of aircraft just gives our future aces some more kills.

What I would take out of this speech is that we need to design a new, capable, fighter that we are able to afford! And also a new heavy bomber so we can finally retire the B-52 before too many people fly the same aircraft as their great-grandfather.

I’ve heard the F-22 and F-35 called many things but shorter ranged has never been one of them.

The Ohio class subs were to be armed with conventional ballistic missiles but the idea was canned because of the risk. Now our enemies are obtaining them. Amusing.

A threat F-22 at F-35 numbers???? I just don’t believe it. If this threat is real then is it being made visible at the SecDef level?? I wonder how good the intelligence is on this.

Should be interesting to read all the speech to take conclusions.The big enemy from peers is missiles,not aircraft.(Chinese ASBM, Russian S500)

Speaking of defending the country (USA) and air dominance, I think the answer to that are multiple long range ICBM’s that can travel anywhere around the earth if needed and a number underground launching pad station around United States.

Reduced American dominance is exactly what the traitor Obama wanted. Big surprise, elect an anti-American scumbag President and we find American power waning. Who could have predicted that?

Barry Osbama is the combination of Hate America J Wright and Bill Ayers — America is too powerful and that is the problem in the world.
So Barry guts power projection just as he be learned.…

Boy that sure explains why we terminated NGB and F-22.

The WSJ had an article on China’s new 5th gen fighter. Based on the article they are planning on using F-22 as the chinning bar.

So Lt. Gen. Deptula raises the concern and says nothing about how we are countering the problem.

To quote a great Dilbert line, ” Don’t step in the Leadership”.

Funny how this comes out AFTER the F-22 was canceled. Someone was muzzled. But whats new, that’s politics. Both Republicans and Democrats do it.

Doesn’t it say way up there that dominance is being eroded by ‘… the proliferation of advanced technologies and a buildup of potential adversary arsenals.‘
Further, “Without functioning ground bases, aircraft cannot operate.“
All the F-22’s in anyone’s desires can’t overcome ALL the challenges out there.xxxx The general ” says nothing about how we are countering the problem.“
I expect they wanna keep some stuff secret.

“unchallenged since 1943?” For God’s sake, what are you talking about? There was this little thing called “The Cold War” during which the Soviet Union did everything it could to challenge American air dominance. Jesus H. Christ.

The AF leadership has been using this argument to push for more F-22s for a while. The only thing David Deptula isn’t “explicitly” saying is that we need more (320) F-22s, but read between the lines and you know what he is getting at.

@Col. Phillips,

“What I would take out of this speech is that we need to design a new, capable, fighter that we are able to afford! And also a new heavy bomber so we can finally retire the B-52 before too many people fly the same aircraft as their great-grandfather.”

Dead on.

Daniel Russ

And we need the F-15 silent eagle/F-16 block 60 why? Either way newer stealthy aircraft are needed. More, younger tankers, a bigger air force so we can fire the KBR parasites.

COIN air craft belong to the Army and Marines. The Air Force needs to focus on air supremacy.

COIN for Army and MArines and the Air force air supremacy and SAC.But focus in new technologies(Ramjet,pulse detonation engine,CHAMP)

Hmm… If only we had a production line ready to produce an advanced, long range, 5th generation air-superiority fighter…

Recon, the F-22 isn’t a long range fighter, the General just said so…

Good Evening Folks,

Lt. General Deptula is disconnected form reality. Russia nor China will build a fifth Generation fighter in this century. The SA-21 SAM on the S-300 Radar system has been defeated in combat by what general Schwartz calls a “cyber weapon”.

As for unchallenged since 1943, how about Korea and Vietnam where the commies in the early stages of these wars gave kicked USAF butts. Is this the quality of intellectual fire power the AF has, please Sec. Gates do some long over due house cleaning.

All General Deptula is doing is interviewing for a post retirement job, seven figures, with a defense contractor with sill dumb a** statements like this.

Note to defense contractors, this general is just to da** dumb to hire.

Byron Skinner

Now that the Senate voted to defund those ACORN scumbags there is $8 billion of stimulas money that can go to buy more F-22s!!

The problem are not the 5 gen fighter but missiles like the Chinese ASBM and the future s-500,we need to begin to think to renew our strategic force.Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Technology always leap by leap an bound..but how once again how someone take the time to bash the president never seem to amazes me.I ask did you vote???Then vote again when his term come up an leave the forum to what is being discussed.

Unless OIL goes back to $150/barrell (and stays there), Russia will never be able to build enough 5th Gen fighters to make a difference, and the Chinese still can’t figure out how to build a 4th Gen plane that is flyable in combat conditions.

We’ve got 10 to 15 years to come up with our next air superiority weapon, and hopefully it will be small, affordable and unpiloted.

Nothing new. Generals close to retirement trying to secure their post service careers with defense contractors. The best way to do that is to make our nation fear and therefore spend trillions on systems that are clearly not needed. Amazing so many people don’t see this. Scrapping the F-22 was a wise decision. We don’t need it. To blame the President is just ignorant.

Until the administration recognizes that there is no higher priority than having a effective and dominant national defense (long-range in both time and distance) coupled with the leadership to manage it, we will become an evermore attractive target.

WTF…you all are talking to hear(read) yourself speak. Obama this, Obama that…heck, he hasn’t even warmed the chair in the WH yet…how is it that everything is his faujlt already? (Note: I didn’t vote for his sorry as* in the first place…) Fact, we have become so lazy/uncaring, we’re just making all the info anyone needs to design products to kick our own as*ses. ‘Loose Lips Sink Ships’…ever heard that before? It meant something during WWII AND during the Cold War…Our media, whether in print or video, gives all the info anyone would need to build a better widget, or defeat us, and even worse, we open our borders to let anyone come study in our hallowed halls of learning, which they then take back to their homeland to design products to use against us…when are we all going to learn that we — as the strongest nation on earth — need to keep our intellectual property secret? Give them all the rifles and cannons they need, just don’t give them the ammo!!!! Let them beat each other to death using the rifle as a club…

OMG! You mean to say that one of these days the Air Force might actually have to fight. Well at least that will give them some better stories to tell while getting drunk at the club each evening before settling down on a comfortable bed in their air conditioned private rooms for a good night’s sleep.

The General made the case for more aircraft carriers and a larger naval air force, no runways required. That’s why the US Navy took the Air Forces funds away in the last budget.

Now Jim, remarks like that about the CinC will get you kicked off here real fast. Air Dominance, or lack of, the President’s fault? It’s not something that happened since January this year . ..it’s been happening for awhile under succeeding Administrations. But having read the article, it does appear the Air Force is making a play to get Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer to spend more of their hard earned cash on new toys for the boys … And this format is more crappy than the last one. And harder to post on. Do they really want us all to go away?

Another attempt to capture funding for AF programs. Technology development is a continual change and improvement, I agree with the statement that the AF may have to fight in the next conflict as opposed to the cake walk they have had recentely. We (USA) have only dominated recently when operating in the current environment of little or no resistance/opposition however the point of conflicts such as Korea, Viet Nam, and the cold war were not what I would consider a position of “dominance” for air power. General’s should never play into the politics game, they should stay in their own swim lanes, looking for improvements of course but not trying to mask a fishing trip for funding by the veil of intelligence information.

And Dow, if you’re not careful, you’ll be joining Jim in the wilderness where there will be “weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth …” If you can’t or won’t respect the man, respect the office.

I take it back about the format …once I sussed it out, it’s not too bad.

If we’re going to retain air dominance, then the article makes clear we’re going to have to spend a lot more money on research and development and production of new aircraft. All that takes time, it can’t just happen over night. But, the Airforce might want to seriously forget about development and just take a good look at the new Euro Fighter. It’s up and running and no doubt could be supplied in any number they wanted. All they’d have to do is place an order.

Didn’t we sell/give away the technologies for this weaponry to “unfriendly” or questionable nations? We did this to ourselves.….no wait, they (Politicians) did this to us.…..wait, wait, we voted them into office, so.…Yes, we did this to ourselves!

all of the democrats in the government dont help our situation

If something, kicks off. The Navy will have no fith generatin aircraft. Navy piolot sees just as much fighting as the ASAF.

And anyway, what’s wrong with the Warthog? It may be ugly, but it’ll get the job done. And apart from that, how many fighter jets and other airforce aircraft are sitting out in the Arizona desert in mothballs? Surely if we’re running short, the Air Force could think about bringing some of those back into service. Out of date they may be, but I’d think that as far as Afghanistan goes, they’d get the job done.

If the u.s senate will wake up and get some of the old folks out of there they will see that there is a much needed production for more f-22
with china and russia and india with sukhoi new generation were need to anty up the f-35 cannot go one on one with a sukhoi fighter or a f-18 will suffer the same fate too we need more f-22s or new build silent eagles with canrds and thrust vectoring or f-16 with the same build type or russia china or india will come out the leader one day

ugh.….. (shakes head in disgust)

I love the faceless, nameless, (and often non-existent)THEY that are challenging our “air dominance.” It’s time for me to leave my job where I actually do work and start doing “analysis” for the Air Force. All I’ll need are DVD’s of STEALH and FIREFOX, a box of crayons and some Denny’s placemats.… (BOOM, ZOOOOOoooom, AK AK AK AK AK…)

While I’m unloading on this disgrace to the Uniform, ACCURATE and IRANIAN/N.KOREAN should never go into the same sentence. Chinese and Russian weapon are barely better, and never forget their effectivness varies HIGHLY depending upon maintenance and training.…

I’m sorry.…I meant to say…WE’RE DEFENSELESS, THE SKY IS FALLING! QUICK, SEND BILLIONS WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY! (to the guys and gals who can’t manage nukes and whose new and innovative solution to a CSAR-X was a frieght helo built in 1962. Go ahead and give these clown shoes more money and they make the mismanagement of the KC-130 replacement look like Harvard Business Case…

What comes to mind when reading about the space scenario, that was left out, is that we do have the ability to directly go into space and disable whatever we have to should the need arise.

Calling the President an “anti-American Scumbag” doesn’t count as disrespect to the Commander in Chief? Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs, who would have thought it? And don’t see how you can blame any one party for this. And in aircraft like everything else, you get what you pay for. The question has to be asked, are there not enough planes out there to defend the United States, and fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? If the answer to that is “yes” well, why do we need more? And if we do need more, why pay development costs? Why not just buy them in. The Euro Fighter is available, and I’m sure the Chinese would sell us some of their aircraft as well if we asked them nicely. So, what’s the problem?

sooner or later some arab will reinvent the flying carpet, and a genie with a Tesla Death Ray

Bamboo booby traps eventually wore out Billion Dollar Arsenals

If the United States is so smart, Why do we need Indian Poor People to Solve Our Computer Problems ?

US airpower will be further eroded by the application of disproportionate response. The use of US assets against terrorists or smaller opponents may well open US to International Criminal Court jurisdiction and prosecution. There has been a move to “level the field” in effect disallow the US from using its advantages and fighting by strict rules of engagement against a foe with no rules. The UNs Goldstone report will set a precedence to be used against the US and NATO.

Okay, I think this article brings up some decent points.

Our latest air superiority fighters must be deployed closer to the battlespace than some of our older long range fighters.

Potential adversaries have increased mobile ICBM launch capabilities to target these airfields.

Potential adversaries are increasing their detection capabilities for approaching aircraft deployed at a greater distance from the battlespace.

So what do we need? The ability to quickly hit any target, anytime, anywhere in the world without comprimising our base of operations.

Work backwards from the desired result.

Increased production of the F-22 sounds great but does not address the above mentioned challenges.

We are no longer in an arms race with one or two countries. We are in an arms race with the world and this is a race that we can never stop running.

Canceling the F-22 was a mistake, i know it’s expensive and not suited for low intensity warfare but if we have to go up against the Big Boys we will wish we had them. The same goes for the Navy, we need more Carriers and more combat ships of all sorts. We are down to under 300 ships from 600 that’s scary because he who controls the Sea controls the commerce. It would be wise to ramp up our anti-satellite programs to blind the enemy and also protect our own. Without a strong national defense the economy is the least of our worries.

the UN is a joke

My feeling is that if you are provoked or attacked, you respond with overwhelming force, and that way it doesn’t happen again. Anybody want to disagree with that one?

TPCAT,in case of necessity,the F22 is way to superior to the Typhoon.And the best Chinese fighter is comparable to the f16 that we are putting in storage in the desert.

Air Dominance required playbook. We need to devise new playbook against out-numbered air adversary. Look like we need to develop a new mobile SAMs and portable shoulder missile like the stinger. Build more Stealth materials for F-15s, F-16s and F-18s, too. Convert B-1B lancer into Recon and build more laser planes, laser weapons for our fighters, F-22 and F-35s. Time to make our drones more air-to-air capabilities.

Other Factors in the Air Dominance Equation:

1) USAF has no jamming capability. The B-52 jammer was never made and the USN support of USAF inthe jammer role is about to expire.

2) JASSM was supposed to take out the IADS. Theve made about 800 missiles so far and testing indicateds that only about 60% will actually work when needed. It is now in testing and being threatened with cancellationif it doesn’t get to 80% reliability. At the same time, many are already thinking it is too vulnerable.

3) F-35 could help but was never built to be as surviable as the F-22. It also wasn’t build for air dominance bath rather to complement the F-22.

4) STRATCOM wants a PGS (aka non-nuke ICBM). Well besides potentially starting WWIII how many of these could you really afford to use?

5) So as one person above said, maybe the USAF is keeping the solution secret but they are also delaying the bomber by years (IOC now 2022?), stopping F-22 at 187, not funding a a jammer, screwing up the F-35, and creating an 800 aircraft fighter gap. I gueess I’m not so sure they have a solution.

Thank you El, but what about the Euro Fighter?

Weaponhead, you get what you pay for. And if you’ve not got the cash, well, “public service” is not something the companies supplying these things do. I guess we need to define whether we’re talking about a defence capability–can the Air Force defend the homeland adequately from attack, or are we talking offensive capability? As far as Afghanistan goes, I’d think even the mothballed fighters would do the job. But if we’re defining ourselves against the Russians and the Chinese, don’t know.

Weaponhead, let’s say I agree with you, you’re stating capability gaps that may or may not really be necessary.

Why the hell do we need jammers and bombers for anymore? We have plenty of stealth and countermeasures, and why use bombers when we no longer drop hundreds/thousands of unguided ordinance?

We have dozens of options for taking out targets from long range GMLRS launcheers on the ground, SLAM-ER that can be launched from ships and dozens of Air to Ground munitions that can more than do the job.…

Interestingly we’ve created an interesting dilemma for the miltiary in that each incrimental advance in precision guided munitions creates a corresponding intolerance for collatoral damage; as such I would argue bombers have by and large become irrelevant.

As for the F-22 and F-35 I don’t know exactly what it is people think is out there that challanges them.……and back to my previous post; I’d put most of our “OLD GEN” fighters with thier weapons, pilots, and target systems up against anythign out there today.

Old Corps, the answer to why we need Indian poor people to solve our computer problems is that they do it cheaper …

That’s right Penn, I can’t imagine a scenario, where we, either the US or the UK would need a superfluity of these weapons systems. Who are our enemies? Goat shaggers in Afghanistan, and a few bearded clerics. Iran doesn’t have the capability to invade the United States or the UK. The Russians, well, don’t think there’s a lot to fear there if we stroke them gently. And China? Well, we owe them so much collectively that it wouldn’t be in their economic interest to attack either of us. I would say you’re talking small, limited wars, fought a long way from either the US or the UK. We could do that with carriers with missile as well as conventional capability. And if either country was attacked by our present enemies, you’re talking terrorism on the scale of 9/11, chemical or biological warfare or waves of suicide bombers to cause collateral damage. Perhaps I’m short sighted (well, I am, but that’s not the point) but I can’t envisage a scenario where we need these kinds of weapons systems, can anybody else?

It’s amazing the level of ignorance that is in these posts. The main argument for killing the F22 was “it was built for the cold war.” That is false. It was built for AIR DOMINANCE. The next argument was “it hasn’t been used in Iraq/Afghanistan.” Of course it hasn’t…we already have AIR DOMINANCE in the AORs. There are many weapons systems that we aren’t using in the AOR, does that mean they should be cut? Our capability for air dominance is degrading rapidly and the effects will be felt by all of our armed forces in future conflicts. The missiles referred to by the general are a threat to all (carriers included), not just AF fixed base operations. As for the comments about the AF not fighting, tell that to the family of the AF lieutenant that was killed 2 days ago by an IED.

10–4 lordlochwood, america needs to leave the military do its thing, ignore the nosey media, full of bs stories. stay strong usa, the old vets are behind u all the way.

This is what is really stupid!

The Silent Eagle is aimed at current F-15 users such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea, among others.

Israel & Saudi Arabia are known for and won’t hesitate to give this technology to our rivals

As for the moronic comment about “all the Democrats in office don’t help.”

Gee, the Republicans have nothing to do with it?

News Flash idiot…ALL POLITICIANS are responsible.

We can all complain about our leaders, what we have, don’t have and what we need. The rest of the world is catching up and we need the to or we will be as broke as they are. We need individuals with the mental capacity to be more inovative and solution savvy. No matter what machine is being built, someone will build something better, the 50’s and 60’s are no more. So buck GI Joes and lets get to work with the thought process and stop the bashing. No more Nonsense. SpecOPS

I flew Navy during a couple of tours, am 80 years of age now and would love to set in an air conditioned building commanding a squadron of UAVs with Hellfire missiles!


I’ve seen a few comments posting as if the current administration was at fault for the losing of US air dominence.

But what these folks are forgetting is that each CiC inherits the armed forces left behind by its *predecessor*.

Therefore, it would seem that President Bush inherited quite the military from President Clinton, where President Obama inherited a military on its way to losing air dominence.

Not a good thing…

“Without functioning ground bases, aircraft cannot operate”

Development of VTOL aircraft would help solve this problem. Fixed runways take month to build, VTOL aircraft can operate from any number of level ground such as parkinglots, closed strecthes of highway, football and and soccer field. Providing the necessary euipment to mantain these type of bases could be acheived in short periods of time.

Also cut backs on the F-22 program were started under the Bush Administration

elgatoso September 16th, 2009 at 10:16 am

the UN is a joke


Not entirely. According to the CIA, they did a tremendous job of cleaning out all the WMD from Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion…


Scott September 16th, 2009 at 8:55 am

Another attempt to capture funding for AF programs. Technology development is a continual change and improvement, I agree with the statement that the AF may have to fight in the next conflict as opposed to the cake walk they have had recentely. We (USA) have only dominated recently when operating in the current environment of little or no resistance/opposition however the point of conflicts such as Korea, Viet Nam, and the cold war were not what I would consider a position of “dominance” for air power. General’s should never play into the politics game, they should stay in their own swim lanes, looking for improvements of course but not trying to mask a fishing trip for funding by the veil of intelligence information.


To add to this posting, well before the current line of fighters we field the next generation of aircraft are already well under way.

The concern I have is our over-dependence on satellites, without which we are in deep trouble. We already know the Chinese have developed ASAT (and tested it openly), as do the Russians (and the US, as demonstrated just a few months ago). Therefore, if a shooting war really starts, near-earth space will quickly become an unusable junkyard.

Hence — high-altitude UAV’s that can loiter for many days (acting as satellite surrogates) had best be under development. Otherwise, should a real shooting war begin between the US and a heavy (i.e. China, Russia), we’ll be in serious trouble in very short order.

And Wonk, it takes time to build up forces. You can’t just magic planes up out of thin air. They have to be designed, then built, and at some point paid for. The design and development costs for a new fighter plane are staggering and take years to process before you get to the stage where you can actually build the planes. And while all that is going on, the world is moving on. The fighter plane you think you need today, may not be the fighter plane you get delivered ten or fifteen years down the line. And we all know that the world situation changes all the time. I’d think if we can defend the homeland, and fight the kinds of limited wars we’re likely to have to fight, that’s enough.

TPCAT:Eurofigther and typhoon are the same.

drgnhntr September 16th, 2009 at 11:26 am

“Without functioning ground bases, aircraft cannot operate”

Development of VTOL aircraft would help solve this problem. Fixed runways take month to build, VTOL aircraft can operate from any number of level ground such as parkinglots, closed strecthes of highway, football and and soccer field. Providing the necessary euipment to mantain these type of bases could be acheived in short periods of time.

Also cut backs on the F-22 program were started under the Bush Administration


I like the idea of VTOL, especially if the F-35 performs as well as it has been claimed it should.

However, since good airfields are hard to come by, perhaps our fighter mafia should take note of what the Russians have done in the past: they design many of their fighters to take off and land on *unimproved* airfields. Our fighters are designed (more often than not) for pristine conditions (historically, a rare commodity).

Have no fear about Air Support / Superiority… BHO will talk with anyone …right? That should be reassuring to some future soldier in combat as he gets straffed.
Sadly given the failing financial state of our “Ship of State” we may not be able to afford a P-51 in the near future.

Thank you El … I’ll remember that. Wonk, I can’t imagine a scenario where the US or the UK would be forced into a war with either China or Russia. If such a thing happened, it would be way down the road, over problems that so far haven’t even hit the horizon. I suppose the General Staffs in both countries have to plan for these things, but, I still can’t imagine it happening. And if it does, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong. I’d have thought a shooting match between the Russians and Chinese more likely than one between either of them and either of us.

Now I am going to make a “good old days” statement. Back in the day(the 60s) the USAF and the CIA were going on and on about the monsterous huge missile gap that they said existed between the US and the USSR. As it turned out the “missile gap” was largely in the imaginations of those who simply wanted more war toys.
Fast forward to today. Right now we are spending more on the Defense Dept every year than the entire rest of the world combined.
And going back to the 80s when Reagan and the Democratic congress spent the USSR into oblivion on Defense.
Now, given the FACT that our national debt on 20 Jan 2009 was over $$11 Trillion and given the FACT that from the years 2001 to 2006 when we had not only a Republician president but a Republician Senate and House and that these conservatives Borrowed all the money used to fight the wars in A’stan and Iraq-Borrowed I might add from China and other countries who are not our friends-I have to ask the burning question-If you want to restart the F-22 and start letting contracts for a 6th generation air superiority fighter, and are complaining incessantly about funding health care for everyone saying NO more deficit spending and never ever raise taxes, then exactly how would we manage to pay for all these new improved war toys? Our polity decides what it is that we want our local state and federal govt to provide as services to benefit the public as a whole. Those services, not being free, must be paid for by taxes. Therefore, if more war toys are wanted(not needed, wanted) then funds must be raised to pay for them, while at the same time providing the basic services that we have decided we need. Just as a BTW, if we do nothing regarding health care then we will continue our downward slide. We spend more per person-more than double any other 1st world country-yet we stand 37 on longivity and even worse on childbirth. Also, in order to become the best military in the world we needed scientists and engineers. So we focused on subjects that would give us these scientists starting in grade school. And yet now, 9 years into the 21st century, 1 out of every 3 students that start HS fail to graduate. There are now more women than men in college. Having more women in higher education is not a bad thing but I wonder where all the men went. Everything goes back to education. Somehow, somewhen we went off track. We used to be teaching math and core science subjects to prepare students for college, yet college administrators say that over 80% of freshmen need to take remedial classes in english and math before they can take regular classes. Meanwhile, the foreign students who used to come to the US to study because we had the very best universities in the world, now go to other countries.
If we desire to continue having the number 1 in the world military, then we must once more-as we did in the 50s when the first sputnick was launched-go back to our primary schools and again go back to the basics. Reading, writing, math and science. If we do not then we are doomed to be replaced as the number one military in the world. We also must strive to regain our top spot in all other things, from health care to good manufacturing jobs(which for the most part have left the US)for without the high tech factories, we can not make our high tech war toys. And do not forget this, many of our basic war toys are now made by foreign companies.I might add that this is in spite of the military industrial complex that Ike warned us about.

Just to put some of this into perspective, just read that Wikipedia article El. It was interesting to note that the “fly away” cost of the Typoon is 63,000,000 euros. That’s well over $100,000,000 per plane. I don’t know how that stacks up against the F-22, but if it’s anywhere near, well, it does sort of put it in some kind of perspective about the trillions of dollars a fleet of them would be likely to cost. I know the RAF here has invested heavily in them, as have the Germans, the Saudis, the Spanish and the Italians . .. The question I have to ask is, do we need to invest this heavily in technology that could well be out of date before the first plane rolls off the assembly line?

On second thought…those 10 MIG-35s may cause some problems

Tim, that was terrific, and you’re right all the way down the line. This kind of stuff is very, very expensive and it has to be paid for. Which would you rather have, a strong military which is fully capable of defending the homeland (remember America does NOT fight offensive wars) and improved health care and education, or expensive new toys that are more obsolete as the roll off the production line? I don’t think you can have both.

i always though that a year or 2 in the military after high school would be good for all young american men, maybe women 2. combine education — ait, then they can choose a profession with some discipline and sense of dircetion.

add– to above, make sure american history is a required subject along with english.

TPCAT, when did you become the defeneder of an individual, “OB AMA, his White House Gang, from Chicago?“
Did you also BE in the Rev. Wright’s, “Church for over 20 years and BE not of the same mind?
Do you also want to appoint federal judges that are, “FAIR MINDED?” I do not want a fair minded judge, I want judges who uphold the LAWS of THE U.S.Consitution!
As for giving OB AMA SOMA some time to get his feet on the ground, read ALL the, indepth interviews he gave,” World Net Daily,” on his total belief system. They are out in the open for all who can read to read.
The fellow HATES this nation and 99.9% of all the whity people and anything they believe in.
He doesn’t want individual freedom for you or me, he wants to be the BIG ELITE DOG!
You are intitled to make your case, just as the rest of us are intitled to make our case.
The sad thing is that you do not BE able to read what OB AMA SOMA has said and believes about this nation and all of the citizens.
His, “Dog and Pony Show,” for the military is just that! The man is a, “RADICAL,” and has put people like minded as himself, in this administration.
How can anyone who has read his writing, from his non citizen fingers, BE NOT for the CHANGE, he has brought in this nation?
Do you believe all you here and read from the OB AMA loving national A B C news networks? I stopped believing them when CRONkite was reporting from Viet Nam.
You must be like him, OB AMA SOMA, you post more on these here places than anyone else. Just look at all you have done today. I’ll ventcher to say that you also have been a lover of the LATE, Senator Teddy Kennedy. He also was a liberal in his political view of the world.
Remember what the Lord Jesus
Christ said in the New Testement, I would that you be for me or agains’t me than on the fence, waiting to join the winners after the war was over.
This story on air power is true to some points. All the other countries have taken the example of the Chi-comms, in gaining new tech., they have paid for it from willing citizens in this nation who would sell their families for money.
Look what Hezbulla did to the I.D.F., with cell phones, Google and GPS’S.
This A.F.general is doing what any sales man would do when the money is in short supply.
Money is in short supply as are jobs. OB AMA has not made any jobs since he and his white house gang, from Chicago, took office January 20, 2009.
For your knowledge, OB AMA was voted into office on TWO reasons. 1. The opposition running agains’t him as president, was about as different as mud is mud. 2. The voters in this nation have been dumbed down by the education systems of the public. Example, history has been rewritten to the extent, that only liberal views are in text books and lectures given of the same liberalism or dumbness.
I am one of the people that OB AMA SOMA’s Homeland Security Department calls, “Right Wing, Gun Packing, Bible lover.” Will be FOREVER AND EVER!
Think I should end my ability to post on these websits. I BE not in the HIGHEST type of wadding boots.

Sounds like another sales pitch for the F22 to me, which in my opinion is a better craft, but just cost too much to build. I think the maker was trying to make a extra buck and got caught. The SECDEF has made his decision on this, this kinda crap will not change his mind.

Carl Rizor, you’re not making much sense, take it to FOX, they will be more receptive to your off subject rantings.

Thank you Carl, I’ll take all that as a compliment …At least you’ve read what I’ve written, even if you don’t agree with me.

In the end Worrier, it all comes down to what the country can afford. I’ve no doubt the F22 is a brilliant plane that would get the job done. But, the cost makes buying them prohibitive. So what about somebody out there designing something the Air Force will like, that will get the job done at an affordable cost? Is that beyond American technology? And if the answer to that is “yes”, well the Typhoon is available for 63,000,000 euros a plane (don’t think though it comes with a full tank of gas). It may not be the best, but it might be the most “affordable”.

timr, Thats the first time I read a post this long all the way through. I remember those times, you are right.

Tim, great comments. Let me add, the top ten holders of U.S. Debt include China (#1) and Russia (#7). Here are the details of the top ten:

People’s Republic of China $739.6B 24.07%
Japan $634.8 20.66%
Oil exporters $186.3B 6.06%
Caribbean banking centers $176.6B 5.75%
Brazil $133.5B 4.35%
United Kingdom $124.2B 4.04%
Russia $119.6B 3.89%
Luxembourg $87.2B 2.84%
Taiwan R.O.C. $73.3B 2.39%
Hong Kong $71.7B 2.33%

one of the criticisms leveled against the F-22 and F-35 here is that they are short ranged. This is not the case. The F-22A for example has MUCH more internal fuel than the F-15C, and can carry two drop tanks which pose no stealth problems once they are jettisoned from the aircraft. The F-35A and F-35C have much greater range than the F-16 and “regular” F/A-18 Hornet. It should also be able to carry these drop tanks.

Indeed both are tactical fighters but what makes a “strategic” fighter? The Flanker series is considered that by some, but the internal fuel carried by the F-22 is easily comparable to the Flankers impressive internal fuel load.

Like I said, more F-22s are the answer and it is so clear that only a politician couldn’t see it. Screw the cost, look at the way we are spending countless billions on far more questionable government spending.

Back in the 1990s, many defense contractors were merged into the big three. (Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop)

Grumman, Convair, McDonnell Douglas, Rockwell, and the aircraft division of General Dynamics all merged into the the big three. Others like Vought and Fairchild-Republic no longer possess the capability to manufacture combat aircraft. While some reduction in the number of major contractors was inevitable, going down to three may be too few. Allowing smaller companies to compete in contracts for some new aircraft (like an eventual true replacement for the A-10) may bring in some more competition.

Tipcat I would rather have those “expensive new toys” which are important to our future defense than doomed initiatives like universal healthcare in social regards. We must maintain our status as a military superpower. That means new equipment.

We’ll be fine and will counter with a newer breed of aircraft. Now we have long range drones that can dogfight with the bets piloted aircraft. That is our goal for now.

And is air superiority at the source point that necessary now? we can standoff and accomplish the goal without necessarily using up close bases which would be vulnerable anyway.

We got better smarts. By the time Russia and China break their banks enveloping a copy of what we have albeit they won’t work as well, we will have superseded them.

Thats true TPCAT, I think the SECDEF made the right choice with the F35, It may not be as good as the F22, but it will get the job done, and it cost a lot less. The answer to your question, There was a time when we had the know how to do anything we wanted, we had the best trained people, the best equipment, some where along the line we went to a “profit margin society” and forgot all about the competition, all our business was focused on making a profit, and forgot about the people that made the companies, everybody else was focused on technology. Now we are paying for it to an extent. The real problem is, we ran out ideas and got locked in a loop. We can recover from this.

I’ll agree Recon that you do need to retain your status as a superpower, and you’ll do that regardless. I don’t think there’s much competition out there, except maybe for China. My point is that you don’t need a lot of expensive new toys to do that. What you’ve got now is enough, more than enough. The Air Force wants a new plane? Fine, but get one designed and manufactured that the country can afford. Seems to me who ever does these things is getting the cart before the horse. You tell the Air Craft manufacturers what you require AND what you’re prepared to pay per plane. It’s then up to them to design something to fit those requirements. NOT the other way around.
“We want a new plane, so we’ll write you a blank check …”

And when you write the contract you make sure they can’t up the price on delivery … The contract price is the price the country pays. Whatever happened to: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country . . .”

History has always shown that large numbers of attackers can overcome any sophisticated defenses. The Chinese and N. Korens know this well and it is one of the fundamentals of the Islam People’s Army Field Manual. Every epic poem tells of the many and how they can and will overcome the few god’s and wrench control away from the powerful and give it to the people. (I think Obamma used this, arguably for good or bad, to overcome the sophisticated organization of the Rep. with the large grass roots numbers of the disfranchised).
Walled cities fall eventually, ammo runs out way before the world’s supply of sticks and rocks runs dry. A rock can not be cyber attacked and most sticks seem to come from nowhere because they can not be picked up on radar. We can’t nuc ourselves to winning because after we “win” the lasting effects of our attacks will literally blow with the wind and destroy us.
So, why not just a tremendously large supply of cheap aircraft. Bring back the A-4 with a Tom Tom navigation system. 10,000’s of A-4’s stationed on every square foot of American controlled land around the world that allows them to t/o, worry about landing later. The Ford Model T assembly line and parts concept we can build these cheaper than a Prism. (especially in a non-union shop).

Pilot’s trained in dead reckoning and stick and throttle and in the bushes flying with iron sites and screw smart bombs because in a real fight you just blow up everything in sight. No bomb cares about the IQ of the pilot dropping it. Recruit 16 to 20 year olds to fly these things. No fear, go anywhere young pilots to deliver motal blows from their immortal finger tips. Our air power must be violent to the extreme else we are going to pc ourselves into a make believe air power that can be wiped out with one good cyber attack or satellite hit. See below

Col Long is correct — we need to re-institute the BIG stick. The current administration doesn’t get it. Naturally, the General would not like the following suggestion but more Aircraft Carriers would be a huge help because their aircraft don’t require land bases. I didn’t say we didn’t need assistance AF. We are all in this together whether we like it or not. We need world wide launch & recovery places and aircraft capable of todays & tomorrow missions. Yes they are expensive but one point is really clear — we cannot afford to lose!!!

“We can over come this …” YES WE CAN Worrier, we surely can. Back in WWII when both the US and the UK were fighting for their lives, we had no problems getting what we needed out of the defence industrial complex. And in the end, we won those wars because we not only out fought but outproduced the enemy. Now we’re fighting something equally as dangerous, and I reckon that if the defence industrial complex can’t deliver the tools we need to do that job, then something NEEDS TO CHANGE and change rapidly. But to do that, like Tim said, we’re going to have to go back to basics, and we’re also going to have to take the GREED out of the equation. There’s profit, and there’s greed. We need to get back to the idea that the tail don’t wag the dog.

What we have now may not be enough for the future as we don’t know what the next 20 years hold. The Chinese have certainly been ramping up their efforts the past years, and Russia will export advanced SAMs and aircraft to anybody with a pay-check, even if their own forces are rather lacking.

Our country can certainly afford the capability the USAF want’s to possess. This means enough F-22s to replace all our air-superiority F-15s, and F-35s to replace F-16. Even if the government gave a damn about the amount of money they are spending all around, low rate production of the F-22 could be continued at little cost. Once we actually get our debt under control, this means production could be ramped up in order to meet requirements, if they were not already filled during that time of low rate production.

I agree with some of the reforms you suggest there, they shouldn’t be able to jack up the price so easily, yet we shouldn’t cancel such key programs when there are no alternatives offering the same level of capability. Sadly we can’t say “Lockheed, the price is too high, so we are going with Northrop’s F-23 offer.”

Also consider that all of our aircraft have been seeing a great deal of use in the Middle East, and many of those airframes are old already. You remember those F-15 airframe problems correct? Well more problems like that will eventually show themselves.

I admit Recon, that is a problem given the restricted market–limited number of manufacturers etc. But, the SECDEF could say, “Guys if you can’t design and build what we want at a price we can afford, we’ll open the market up and see what the foreign firms can do …” That might just concentrate their minds. Competition will do that. And I take your point on use and airframes etc. And I also believe that it’s no good just replacing what you’ve got, or need to replace, with the same thing. If you’re going to have new, then you need to buy new. Doing that should be within our capabilities, and if Lockheed can’t do it, maybe British Aerospace can.

Good Morning Folks,

If the true question is air dominance, I think I have a metaphor that might work. It’s a ball game and the United States has taken the field (some how the Navy was forgotten by Lt. Gen. Deptula, typical AF thinking, it’s all about them) but their is no other team to play, they are not in their locker room, not on a bus headed for the stadium, no coach, no uniforms, they in fact don’t exist.

Our sister site DT has a post by Norman Polmar and an earlier post on Russian aviation. The fact that Russia had budgeted only the production of one fighter (Su.33 or Mig-33) aircraft per month through 2015 and that India is co-developing the next generation 4.5 with the Russian Federation, tell that story. The Russian crash aircraft more in training then they are making. The 1980’s technology Mig 31 is now the Russian Federation Air Forces first line fighter and will be for a long, long time.

On China. This fall the Chinese will have another of of their show and tell military parades in Beijing. The featured domestic manufactured aircraft will be the J-10, a limited and now out of production aircraft that used Mig 29 technology. The current J-12’s all 12 of which are parked on Hainan island in the South China Sea, it appears that there is some question regarding the J-12’s air worthiness.

Do I need to draw a picture of China’s ability to manufacture military aircaraft. Oh he**, just read “Modernizing China’s Military: Progress. Problems and Prospects” by David Shambaugh, it appears to be far to hard of a read for Lt. General David Deptula.

In short folks their is no other team headed to the ballpark to play with the Americans and it is unlikely that any of the current players that might field a team no matter how wretched won’t do so this century.

Knuckled headed Generals like Deptula have no place in the 21st. Century American military. The Air Force must start doing it’s in winning the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, instead of sitting around have a one handed affair with themselves remembering the “old days”.

The job of the 21st. Century Air Force is to get the warrior trigger pullers to the fight and keep them supplied, not to live in the past.

Byron Skinner

There’s also personnel decreases too. Around my separation from the AF in ’08, the Air Force proposes to “do more with less”. HAH! I guess that F22 sales pitch ain’t gonna work when you don’t have two aircraft mechs to rub together, so to speak.

Yes ReconTeam, I see your point, but I thought the F35 was suppose to replace all fighters, including the F15. According to Don Rummie, we were going to a one fighter Military, which was not a bad idea, all things considering. The next thing the Air Force was working on the F22.

Thank you Bryon …The last two paragraphs will get you hate mail from the Air Force, but they did make me laugh …Thanks for that solid dose of realism.

Sorry, should have said Byron …hate not being able to edit.

We should look to the future by expanding military relations in the hemisphere. Mexico’s national congress on the orders of President Calderon expressed a desire to convert their naval forces from brown water coastal ops to blue water oceanic ops, and their special ops are on par with our own. Brasil now has the plans to build on their own soil nuclear submarines, fifth generation fighter jets, air craft carriers, etc… They have also seriously increased their military spending. President da Silva has expressed his interest in project Brasil’s influence as a regional and hemispheric power, well on it’s way to super power status. Argentina has an excellent but small armed forces. It’s sill one of only a handful of countries in modern times that has almost pulled off a complete upset against a NATO ally. The “Guerra Malvinas”, the War for the Malvinas Islands ended in a withdrawl and cease fire for the Argentine’s, but not before they sank over a dozen english ships, killed a couple hundred brits, had thousands of brit pow’s, etc etc… I am convinced that had the english not sunk the ARA Belgrano outside of the agreed upon war zone I might add, Argentina would have lost fewer troops than the english and Argentina’s Armada could have repelled the brits.

The point is, we have a long military history on the american continents and I don’t think we should cowtow to the chinese or the russians or the iranians. We have the capabilities within our hemisphere, to carry out a sustainment mission inside of the military industrial complex and still be fiscally conservative. Military solvency and sustainment doesn’t necessarily mean ruinous expenses, especially when our allies shoulder the burden. Like Mexico having given us 150 billion USD for the joint war efforts in the war on terror.

The idea of a one-fighter type force is simple not feasible. As seen by the F-111 program, one airframe doing it all may look good on paper, but in reality it isn’t worth it. Both Defense Secretaries need to look at the “high-low” mix the USAF and USN have effectively used since the 1970s.

You have both a high end, long range, air superiority aircraft, and a cheaper, lower range, multi-role aircraft in larger numbers. With the USAF this was the F-15 and F-16. With the Navy this was the F-14 and F/A-18. And even then there was room for a few more variants like the multi-role F-15E Strike Eagle.

Personally I think the USAF should have a relatively large number of F-22s to replace all air superiority F-15s. Personally I think this should realistically range between 490 and 610. Although if I had my way, the USAF would be closer to the size it was during the Cold War.

This combined with say 1500+ (as opposed to the planned 1700+) F-35As would provide the backbone of the service. Besides for those we would maintain upgraded F-15E Strike Eagles for another decade or so and of course the A-10.

In regards to other combat aircraft the NGB is still needed at some point, and I think we should develop a long-range 5th generation fighter bomber like the proposed FB-22 or my personal choice the FB-23. Plus sooner or later we need to build a true replacement for the A-10. A hundred or so COIN observation/attack aircraft (unless they are too vulnerable to ground fire and MANPADS), would also be useful.

Throw in the new MQ-X UAV and all the non-combat aircraft we need, and we have Air Force ready for anything the next three decades might throw at us. Unless there is some major technological breakthrough, we shouldn’t even have to worry about new aircraft until 2040 or so.

The Navy in my opinion should get something like Boeing’s proposed F/A-XX design. Despite Boeing’s claim however, it probably isn’t a “6th generation” fighter, considering that nobody knows what a 6th generation fighter must include.

Actually I checked the dates of the Strike Eagle fleet and many are much newer than I thought, some built in the late 1990s and early 2000s could probably stay in service just as long as the Raptor.

Despite the A-10C modernization, the use they are getting means they may need a replacement before the 2028 date the USAF gave.

Good Afternoon Folks,

Thanks TPCAT for the kind words, I don’t post Love letters.

It would appear that Sec. Gates’s speech posted today closes the door on the AF fighter mafia. The AF gets 187 F-22’s, don’t crash any more of them because there won’t be any more, and the F-35. After the F-35 it will be unmanned. Think X-45.

The next bomber, if there is a next bomber will be unmanned. The B-2 blew the budget and any public taste or support for multi billion dollar bombers.

Byron Skinner


Tend to agree with you about most things, but “all unmanned air” just ain’t gonna happen.

Some unmanned, yes, very likely a growing share. Computers aren’t going to replace human decision making, only augment it at best. If unmanned depends on data/ telemetry links, those can be interfered with.

Won’t be any more? You don’t know that. Gates won’t be SecDef forever, hopefully we will get somebody who is willing to get the USAF what they need and resurrect the F-22 program. Gates would gut the whole USAF and reintegrate it into the Army if he could.

X-45 is not a fighter aircraft, and an unmanned bomber is a poor choice and defeats one of the advantages of bombers over ICBMs and missiles. Yes, our next bomber will have to have a nuclear weapons capability since it will be replacing the B-52 fleet.

Byron Skinner some of the primary duties of the USAF include achieving air-superiority in any scenario, strategic bombing, and the ability to strike heavily defended targets. It is not just a transport and supply service with a few CAS aircraft. Considering how the Army is rather lacking in self-propelled air defense systems, we need the “fighter mafia”, and there requests are entirely reasonable.

“Knuckle headed” commanders like Lt. Gen. David Deptula played an important role in smashing the Iraqi forces back in 1991. He is right in saying that advanced Russian SAM will find their way around. As will advanced Flanker and Fulcrum variants which some countries by with the western avionics.

Enough is enough. I’m tied of hearing about China. We import their crap and now were facing threats from them. When is this
Government gonna get there heads out of there 4 points of contact and quit putting the American citizen on notice. Lets stop the maddness and cut them off!!!!!!! Also, What ever happened to

” now were facing threats from them. ”

What threats! Curious minds wanna know?

Hey folks,

We need more aircraft period…our funding and procurement for all weapons systems has been messed up for some time now with congress delaying and running up the cost by making all DoD contracts be reviewed yearly and refunded each fiscal year. The F-22 might not be the way to go but we need something to replace and aging fleet of F-16s and F-15s that are wearing out faster than we can get F-35s on line.. with the future production of the F-22 shut down, no new tanker being built (yet) and the fact we cant do the good ole days and tell Henry Ford to convert his plant to make 1000 B-24s a year…are a telling tale…

And the Tanker is at the heart of it all…with out the tanker we are not a global force…we are a regional force…and that my friends effects all aspects of our national defense…

too much to say .…but to those of you blaming the current administration you are dead wrong…like a previous post said ..this has been a problem since the post Reagan/Bush era…Clinton, W, and Obama and especially our Congress and SECDEF and skyrocketing Defense costs have created this crisis. No one man or office has the total blame.


its disgraceful the way some of you deride Pres. Obama. If we hadn’t gone to Iraq, with all the faulty intel etc. Obama would not be in such a bad position. Its been 10 mnts, it took 8 YEARS to get here. WTF?

to all of you..(and G-Town student)

there is a COIN aircraft.…it’s called a helicopter.

hahaha how is this a fault of the democrats?! gates is a republican anyway! as im sure many of the joint chiefs are! the fact is, the f-22 is not what we need…and many republicans and democrats agree on that…the one who dont have some connection to Lockheed ($$$$$)!!! as many have said, it comes down to ICBMs. china and russia are going to be awhile before they have a fully operable 5th gen fighter. hopefully by then, we will have something newer then the f-35 even.

the truth is, as many people have pointed out, is that this guy is giving this speech strategically. as in, he is wording it to sound like it is a much more dire situation than it is at this time.

Good Morning Mike,

I respectfully disagree with you Mike. In 1939 a world with out the Battleship was unimaginable to all Generals, Admirals and military experts, in 1945 all the Battle ships of the U.S.N. were retired or scrapped. Brought out for Korea, Vietnam and the Reagan era of nostalgia they showed that taking them out of service in 1945 was the right thing to do.

Byron Skinner


I can see that side of it too, but what I’m saying doesn’t come from misplaced nostalgia for white-scarf fighter jocks.

When I think of the complexities involved with autonomy, then add lethal weapons, and then add to that the political implications… even if we CAN get there with the technology (war is chaotic and ambiguous, and that’s tough to write code for), we’d best be cautious.

In the aftermath of the clash between Germany and France in 1940 the allied force did not believed in armored formations ‚they still have the idea of cavalry in their minds.Everybody know the results.IMHO today we are in the infatuation with the fighter like the last knight and we are waiting for a battle of England of the future.But the new generations,(our kids)have a capability with unmanned system that we can not grasp.They grew with RC Toys,Playstations,cell phones and they manage the new tech like we manage the motorized vehicles a the last century.This generation gonna make the unmanned planes a reality.


The same applies, of course, to the kids who’ll be figuring out new air defenses, jamming, and network hacking.

I think that some have missed the overall picture that without the best military we can provide all the talk about healthcare, and other social programs may not even come into play

my Farther told me as a child i am now 65
it the cost is much greater looseing then it is winning we need to keep on top of the technoligy and have the best of everything or nothing else counts

Charles D Phillips, LtCol, USAF (Ret) is RIGHT ON!
Deptula sounds like a used car salesman!!
High tech is expensive: just because we can do it doesn’t mean we ought to, especially if we can’t afford it and it isn’t necessary.
Deptula wants us to think it’s necesssary, but in trying to make the F-22 seem inexpensive in comparison to Chinese and Russian aircraft, he gave his game away.
Bottom line: high tech $$$ air power makes the attritive nature of assymetric warfare play on us more than Osama.
And after all, we’re fighting an enemy that doens’t have an air force!
They’ve ground us down with light infantry weapons they can afford.
Maybe, we ought to think about what we can afford, over several genertions: because that is what will be required to fix Iraq and Afgahnistant.
And, after 9/11-we can’t afford to back out!
So, what can we afford?
As for the Russians and Chinese, I say, don’t back them into a nuclear corner.
The AF was the darling of the Cold War, but that’s over: HOPEFULLY.
And if it isn’t, it’s just plain the end for all of us. Don’t even worry about it.
But, I think the Bejing and Moscow also know that.
Hence, let’s drop the Osprey, F-22, F-35-all that crap, and let’s keep our current stock of helicopters in the numbers required for along, long fight.

OMG! He’s right. How come no one else thought of this? We have just terminated building F-22’s. Now we need to scrap the F-35 program and shut it down too. We need to put all available money into a new fighter that won’t be available for 15 years. Decommisioning the F-117 to free up F-22 money made sense. Now lets cancel the F-35 and free up all that money to start a new cyle. This will mean jobs for everyone. Let’s keep the momentum going.

And I forgot. This has really been worsened by Obama. Not sure why but it sounds good. So let’s just blame him. Won’t get us any closer to a solution but we can feel better after making him into the bogeyman. See, we feel better already.

How can this country justify spending more on weapons than the whole rest of the world put together when some of its’ people don’t even have proper healthcare? We must maintain a strong defense, but developing weapons for threats that don’t and probably won’t exist is wasteful and not in the national interest. Generals will always say they can win the war IF they get extra weapons, men, etc. This is why sanity must be put back into the system. The rest of the western world seems to be doing pretty well without all this stuff!

Our biggest threat? “Effects Based Operations” — Unable to counter the U.S. dominance in long-range strike, America’s enemies use information operations in the U.S. media to manufacture perceptions about civilian casualties and influence Congress to deny the U.S. ability to leverage its asymmetric advantages.

With nothing to eat after the enemy has burned your crops, “free” health care loses importance. We must not continue to allow domestic spending to trump our safety. No guns, no butter.

Sure, Deptula!
The AF needs to focus on cyber warfare, the Chinese and Russians while the Army, Navy and Marines do the “asymetric thing”.
So, let’s just call the cyber-Russo-Chinese threat “asymetric”, too!
I’ll buy a bridge, anywhere you say, Deptula!
I’ve still got a bunch of those queer, Obama campaing, 3 dollar bills around here, somewhere.


QDR-“Qualtiy Deficiency Reports”-are used for assets that do not meet MIL-SPEC.

If the AF wants to call everything they don’t like “QDR”, I think the AF needs to find another government to operate under.

If QDR means someting else, please inform, Mr. Grant.

“to all of you..(and G-Town student)

there is a COIN aircraft….it’s called a helicopter.”


Helicopters are nice but they are slow, vulnerable, limited to flying time, and the equipment they can carry. An airplane can carry more gear, weapons, fuel, and armor. A friend of mine once said helicopters are like pinatas: they dangle there, are easy to break, and everyone likes to take a swing at them.

Stalin loved the B 29 so much; he kept them when they visited his turf. All the Boeing was reverse engineered and the Tupolov long range bomber made the green light. Everything changed and to the credit of Boeing Aircraft Industries; the Russian yoke had the name Boeing on it. Remember FOXBAT with Clint Eastwood? Remember the days when defectors would fly in with their migs? Anything they can make we can make and they can do the same. The world seems to be harvesting technology whenever possible and fetching it back to their homelands or to their corporations. Somewhere some place they is always some goof ball selling out his own country or his own corporation. 5th generation? Copy that. 6th generation? Copy that. American spend so much on R+D billions of $$$$$$$$ and then some spooks lift it and gift it away. We require air superiority right on time and in advance. Other nations require advanced air superiority to. Its kind of like a race; an arms race. Whenever you top your goals another set of goals appear. No matter how dauntless; ya keep goin. Politicians might not understand military technology, the need for it, the tactics, the resources, the forecast strategy in the view of a warrior class. It best to enlighten them. Let them in on the vital importance of high tech warfare in reference to a realistic combat readiness air transport recon and firepower. State of the art technologies have enabled smaller forces to overwhelm subdue and to conquer inferior air power forces. Do recall the 1947 report. 300 jet fighters were being built in untouched hangers in the mountains of Japan. These little fellas without a German jet built their own jet fighter force from blueprints. They cobbled the jet engine the avionics, the fuselage every detail. Japan only required 9 more months to have a jet fighter strike force to challenge the 7th fleet. Like a Divine Wind; they were counting on a miracle. The Imperial Japanese Army were only 6 weeks behind in perfecting the Atomic Bomb. During the surrender; the Japanese had a 3 million man standing army fully equipped and armed for battle. Sharing and reverse engineering can be done. Japan had been secretly building squadrons of German style jet fighters from mere blueprints. To think; they once made toys people used to laugh about until after the end of WWII. As for the dollar going down; it means our foreign debt just became cheaper. Pray for peace in our time and for future generations. The little people do not make the wars. One future date some big shots at gonna get it just like General Curtis Lemay dished it out. The bad people better stop planning for their wars. Life is tough enough and America should be on the ball because Gawd only knows what mercy one could expect at the hands of the enemy.

Deptula needs to watch this:


What’s teh AF going to do for our guys, doing this sort of thing?


Why are half the people here so intent on disregarding the words of USAF leaders like Lt. Gen. Deptula here? Men like him have the numbers, and just as devoted to serving there country as Gates.

The bottom line is that F-16s, F-15Es, and A-10s are seeing plenty of use in the war on terror. They are going to wear out faster than they would have otherwise, and the rest of the F-15 fleet is rather dated anyway. Most of these aircraft were intended to start retiring now. Indeed the Air Force needs to have a focus on close air support and needs aircraft like the A-10 to do that. Yet they also need 5th generation fighters to replace current designs. Aircraft designed for the role, should be used to replace aircraft previously performing that role.

This means more F-22s to replace the F-15 fleet and F-35s to replace F-16s. We shouldn’t be having the F-35 doing everything. The USAF determined that the minimum of 385 F-22As was enough to replace most F-15A-D variants, yet not all. Nearly 200 Raptors less than their minimum requirement is not enough, and the F-35 is no substitute.

Gates wants to serve his country no doubt, but being SecDef means being a politician too, and his “one plane for all roles” view is too reminiscent of McNamara.


The Air Force’s need for a specific number of F-22s started out at almost 800 in the early 1990s when I was in high school. Since then through rising costs and force structure changes, that number steadily dropped. At this point, I wonder if 380 F-22s (after 20 years of development) is the number they really think they need or the number they thought they could afford.

This is what the current administration wants anyway. Our generals work for an Islamic implant noncitizen president who is a communist and DOES NOT have the best interest of the US in his playbook.

Let me get this straight. Half the Defense Dept. including Robert Gates think we should scrap or scale back most of our new systems including the F-22 and F-35 due to cost and the fact that we “don,t need them” since we,re currently busy chasing little guerilla fighters around God forsaken countries like Afghanistan.The other half is now biting their nails because we are losing our technological edge to countries like Russia and China who aren,t squeamish about cost when it comes to building and fielding new fighters which may rival the capabilities of our own. We can keep on flying the older F-15s and F-16s till they finally give out but then what?We have a bunch of incompetent, short sighted people who only concentrate on the here and now and don,t plan on possible future threats. Today we,re fighting a low intensity war with drones but tommorrow we could be thrown into a major conflict with a better armed and prepared enemy or enemies.I don,t think a few predator dronres are going to be enough,do you?

Russian and China aren’t squeamish about cost? They spend a fraction of a fraction of what we do on their militaries. If you read some other comments on this site you’ll see they aren’t exactly building hordes of modern fighters themselves.

Costs of everything have gone out of control. The thing that a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that someone has to make these things (any advanced weapon system) and they are usually a man or woman with a faimly. The more advanced the weapon system becomes, the more skilled the worker has to be to:
1. make the thing
2. fix the thing.

Remember. No one works for free in the United States.

We do not need to slow the pace of our advancement in military weapons. That is a death sentance to our way of life. it may not be an immediate death sentance but if we stop, others will catch up and surpass us. No American wants our nation to end up as irelevent as France…

Is the F-22 the answer? Probably not. Is the F-35 the answer? Probably not. I’m not a fortune teller — no one can really see the future. The only thing we can do is look at history and try to learn from the mistakes of our predacessors. When you stop advanceing, you are done for.

I hope that no military force in human history ever acheives the capibility to remove the human element from war. If we do that, we are beholden to our machines. In some regards we rely on them far too much these days — people can’t seem to get across town with out a stinking GPS navigation system in their cars these days. Remotely operated military weapons are one of those things that sound nice on paper too. Unfortunately, when you remove the human element of death from war, waging it becomes far too easy.

I do not want to live in a world where war is as common as traffic in a busy city and we don’t really worry about it because we’re only wrecking robots or remotely operated vehicles. The waging of war must remain a human endevor if only to cause policy makers to consider the cost prior to engaging in war.

In the end it comes down to the fact that we must continue to advance. We must continue to upgrade. Nothing we make lasts forever and must eventually be replaced. When weapon systems become outdated or obsolete, there is no reason to keep them around — remove what can be used elsewhere and recycle the rest. How much ‘aircraft grade aluminum’ is sitting at ARMARC in Arizona? I bet you could build a whole lot of new aircraft out of the old ones…

Ronbo said: “We have a bunch of incompetent, short-sighted people who only concentrate on the here and now and don’t plan on possible future threats.“
Real sons and daughters are getting blown up here and now. Actual Soldiers are enduring their 3rd and 4th year-long tours with more to come under fire. Possible future threats? Guess those exist solely in the air since F-35 survived while most of FCS and ARH did not. But a trillion dollars for F-35 procurement and life cycle costs apparently doesn’t dominate the DoD budget or skies enough for some. It’s apparently unacceptable that some might occasionally have to use their ejection seat.

There are no ejection seats against IEDs and ATGMs. Yet some still question any need for air-to-ground pounds or asymmetric ground force advantages, asking why. Others dream of more land component monies and forces and ask why not. It’s unfortunate that current conflict lethality reality has to interfere with dreams of lottery-winning likelihoods of fighting the Russians and Chinese in the air…the only two forces we would need more than 50 F-22s to defeat.

Pilots haven’t suffered casualties in numbers proportional to ground forces since WWII and have not fought Russian or Chinese pilots for 60 years. Yet despite that historical precedent, some would have you think aerial armageddon against the big boys is right around the corner. How dare we expect airmen to risk casualties over the course of an entire war that are comparable to ground casualties in a tough week.

When the big boys last did fight us in Korea, U.S. pilots managed a 10:1 loss-exchange with both sides in nearly identical aircraft and equally war-seasoned pilots. Today’s Russian/Chinese aircraft aren’t remotely comparable to ours nor are their pilots anywhere near as experienced or well-trained.
Ronbo said: “Today we,re fighting a low intensity war with drones but tommorrow we could be thrown into a major conflict with a better armed and prepared enemy or enemies.
Yeah, with 1/7th of our annual defense budget and decades-old technology They will miraculously crank out hundreds of stealthy 5th gen fighters when they haven’t produced teens of 4.5 gen anytime recently. Despite nukes and economic interdependence, some white scarf advocates remain convinced that near peers will interrupt the gravy train of free trade to take us on in the air, sea, and land.

Even more comical is any notion that export of teens of Russian jets and SAMs to insignificant enemies is a threat worth ruining our eoonomy over buying excessive airpower.
Ronbo continued: “I don’t think a few predator drones are going to be enough,do you?“
Guess that’s why the Navy is building UCAV, the USAF will build MQ-X and an unmanned bomber, and the Army will buy MQ-1C, Fire Scout, larger Shadows, and T-Hawk.

Perhaps Lt. Gen. David Deptula needs some education on the US Navy. Why continue to spend untold dollars on a warfighter that has seen zero combat missions since inception, even though we’ve been at war since its first flight? The aircraft carrier is STILL our best front line offensive weapon.

I wonder what an autonomous fighter would look like… Smaller radar cross section with G moves impossible for a human pilot to withstand. That is our next step… The only drawback would be cyber strikes removing are ablities to control such aircraft or possibly take them over all together. Are top techies and science folk got their work cut out for them.

This is all going the way tht it is because it is all expensive and we can’t afford it. Why can’t we afford it? It’s because the income tax, and most specifically the 2nd-highest corporate tax rate on the planet, has chased the sources of our prosperity, the manufacturing sector, overseas. IOW, we don’t have anyone left to tax to the extent necessary to fund a superior military force. All the degredation we see here has this underlying cause.

We must repeal the income tax, and institute a consumption tax as the founding fathers dictated in the original constitution. With that, we can restore prosperity and fund a superior military. If we don’t, we’re going to have all the political and economic influence of Nicaragua or Zimbawe.

umm no problem — we got FUFO triangles, rods, disks, uav LR stealthers, cloakers, airborne laser & e-beam fryers in reserve

NAVAIR53 you really need to read your history on the atomic weapons race. Japan was closer to 6 years, not six weeks away from building an atomic weapon. They did not have the giant industrial complex to build the half dozen weapons we did at the conclusion of WWII. The Manhattan Project employed tens of thousands of US workers, laboring in dozens of facilities throughout the United States. Japan had a pilot nuclear program and separated miniscule amounts of weapons grade uranium 238. The massive plutonium plant at Hanford, the uranium enrichment plant at Oak Ridge… The Japanese understood a lot of the physics but had no such facilities or even the raw materials to build them.

Back to the article: I am for a strong military. I believe our warfighters should go into combat with the best tools available. Like it or not many of our technological advances come from defense spending. I am for a military that takes the “man” out of harms way. To those who fear increasing numbers of unpiloted, unmanned vehicles… While much of their flight time is autonomous, a UAV will NEVER engage a target without a human giving the command. You are simply removing the man from the cockpit not the mission. It also makes no sense to fly billion dollar missions (aircraft, pilot, fuel, support crews, huge bases) over vast areas of rubble, scrub and sand when an UAV can loiter for hours at a fraction of the cost and will one day be able to carry the same amount of ordenance and provide close air support for the boots on the ground.

But we need balance and insurance. These systems rely on satellites and they are vulnerable. We need a capable fleet of manned aircraft able to respond to actual threats not perceived ones. Is the F-22 the aircraft to fulfill that mission? I feel we should maintain a sizable fleet of F-22s and an even larger force of F-35s until the day comes when we can remove the #1 detriment to aircraft performance, the human inside who will become icapacitated due to g lock, fatigue or surface threats long before the airframe falls. apart.

every time there is a change at the top,you upset the bottom.…so i guess when A/F-1 needs an A/C escort,we will send up those missles,“GENERAL”.…and when there is a world problem,maybe we will send the “GENERALS” first.….it seems all our great “TACTICIANS”,are gone and the “GENERAL” left are waiting for there ritirement.…

I think the debate here is convoluted. I’ve completed 3 tours in Iraq, 03–04, 05–06, and most recently 08–09 and I have to be frank; rotary wing aircraft did far more to enable combat forces than the FW aircraft we had stacked up to XX,000 feet. (I also served on the Brigade staff of an Army Combat Aviation Brigade — perhaps I’m slightly biased).
I agree with everyone that we need a strong force of FW aircraft to maintain aerial supremacy and win conventional wars. However, when the USAF is shifting manned assets away from the COIN fights and trying to downsize its manned assets in Iraq, how can everyone be clamming for a so-called COIN aircraft?
The aviation fight in central iraq is at the treetops unfortunately, not in the stratosphere.
The only COIN aircraft I’ve ever known of were the A1 skyraider and perhaps large FW gunships, but the manner in which we’re prosecuting both OIF and OEF, all of that firepower is moot, unnecessary, and dangerous to the long term effort. Helicopters are vital in a COIN fight and much more so than armed FW aircraft. It’s about eating soup with a knife remember???

“Without functioning ground bases, aircraft cannot operate”

Well, maybe some aircraft. That’s why we have aircraft carriers.

Well, the old missle gap of the 60’s, all dressed up for the new century.


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