New HASC Chair Loves JSF

New HASC Chair Loves JSF

Incoming House Armed Services Committee Chair, Howard “Buck” McKeon, today laid out his stance on defense spending as the top man on the committee, backing the embattled F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, its alternate engine program and the Pentagon’s efforts to reduce costs.

While the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B short take-off and vertical landing version of the jet has experienced numerous testing delays over the past year and is unlikely to meet its scheduled operational date of 2012, McKeon said he doesn’t want to see it cut.

“If you take that away then what plane are the Marines going to have,” asked the congressman. “I would not be supportive of cutting that.”

He later added that while the overall F-35 program has had its difficulties, now is not the time to begin cutting jets from the program as Senate appropriators did in their newly released omnibus spending proposal.

McKeon went on to say he will support the JSF’s alternate engine program which has been inserted into proposed spending legislation for FY-11 by both the House and Senate despite the threat of a presidential veto.

“Long range, we think it will save money,” said McKeon. “To turn over a $100 billion program to one company non-competitively and to have a whole fleet of planes with one engine; if something goes wrong with that engine you have to shut down the whole fleet. I think for reasons of competitiveness, for reasons of safety — and actually, if you’ve got people competing you’ve probably got better engines — we should have a second engine.”

The California republican went on to say that he doesn’t fear the longstanding threat by the White House to veto any legislation containing funding for the GE-Rolls Royce-made F136 alternate engine.

“I’m not real worried about that, I don’t think the Democrats in the House have got the message that there’s been an election but I think the President has with his reaching out on his tax proposal,” said McKeon. “I think he will see that we’ve come out in the last Congress and in this Congress pretty strongly in support of the second engine and I think that’s something we can work out…it’s a pretty small part of the overall defense bill.”

He also voiced support for Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ initiative to buy affordable, available weapon systems that will get the job done rather than develop brand new technologies that include every bell and whistle Pentagon planners can dream up.

“We keep spending more money looking for the ultimate” weapons that take so long to develop they are obsolete by the time they’re fielded, said McKeon. “What I’d like to get is maybe some understanding where we don’t worry about everything having to be the ultimate, maybe 95 percent” of ultimate would be the answer to buying new technologies.

McKeon added later that under his leadership the committee will “be putting forward emphasis on getting rid of programs or efforts that waste money.”

That being said, McKeon noted that he does not support the recently unveiled plan by the presidential deficit commission aimed at cutting defense spending by more than $100 billion.

Instead, McKeon backed the Pentagon’s own effort to save $100 billion over the coming c years through efficient operations and put that money into investment accounts. That plan, launched by Gates earlier this year, is “more realistic,” said McKeon.

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I like the ideal of bypassing years of R&D to make something a little better than what is already avail when we can get something useful right now and save millions in the process.

That’s good news for the B version. He must be all for the EFV as well I bet.

“We keep spending more money looking for the ultimate” weapons that take so long to develop they are obsolete by the time they’re fielded, said McKeon.”

Buck just described the F-35. Funny.

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christams is 2443 F-35s with unlimited time and money to complete them…

@Weaponhead, how about another 600 F-22A Raptors too please. :-)

Well with $51,000 donated to his reelection campage by LM and it’s staff I can see why. http://​politics​.usnews​.com/​c​o​n​g​r​e​s​s​/​m​c​k​e​o​n​-​h​o​w​ard

Uhhh, the Corps has always gotten more use from it’s Hornets than it’s Harriers. Marine pilots typically –hate– the bumblebee because it soaks up money for upgrades and training hours while supplying a lousy readiness rate and a worse safety record. This in a jet which is typically only present on Marine LHA/LHD in six jet ‘detachments’, utterly worthless at any mission.

The Marines who have flown the Super Hornet as part of the joint USMC/USN training squadrons _love the jet_, to the extent that the Commandant of the Corps has forbidden them to fly it lest their enthusiasm wax literately. Something to consider, particularly if the Corps is going to form the functional Naval Air Reserve to make a seven-deck scramble force possible.

This is not an ‘or nothing’ choice sir.

Furthermore, while I admire the sentiment in going for service useable, off the shelf, weapons systems, what destroyed the JSF was two things:

1. Promising three planes with one model name and trying to make it look affordable by using the ‘and we’ll sell millions of’em!’ claim. Cough. TFX anyone? The USAF never needed more than 500 CALFs. The USN and USMC couldn’t afford more than an Intruder replacement or –maybe– 250 for each service. That’s what should have set the program economics. All because JDAM and then SSBREX was proving that it was no longer ‘how many planes to destroy target X but rather how many targets can you hit from plane Y’. Including through weather and with long standoff BRLs to reduce the defensive exposure and need for SEAD/A2A escorts.

2. Concurrency. The Russians, bless their black little hearts, wait for U.S. to do the leadin development and then either steal the process outright or ‘follow along’ in public engineering journals. Yet they make sure that when they get to the point of having a flying testbed (T-50/PAK-FA) _everything that forms the weapons system is ready to go_. Even if it takes years of no-progress reported baseline research. This wasn’t the case with the JSF and CBO/GAO has been warning about a lack of supporting technology enablers on this jet since 1997 when they said it was a 65–73 million dollar boondogle in the making. This at a time when DOD was claiming 31–38 million.

I’m a private citizen sir, with access to only the most basic research capabilities. You have no idea how badly it makes you look, in your new position as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, when I have to correct you in your basic facts. Please try harder to come up with a truly knowledgeable, on-point and un-biased vision for our nation’s armed forces future.

Your hand pretty much controls the nation’s wallet when it comes to defense spending.

There is a perfect storm coming of tax cuts and bloated defense pork coming, no wonder all the smart money is going offshore.

Nobody care what you think.Go to APA o some Russian forum

Excuse me , is this post about the eurofighter. Talk about a blunder there , i guess someone should have let them in on a little thing called stealth. The eurofighter had a 12year R&D time and now they are stuck with one hell of a 4th gen. fighter, that was obsolete the day it went into production. I am glad that we look far enough ahead that we are not in that position at least ours are 5th gen.fighters. Now the europeans are copying or technology and are trying to catch up with stealth unmanned aircraft. I think that we don’t give our R&D folks enough credit. — keep up the good work and lets give our folks a great 5th gen. attack jet to pair up with the F-22 ( which i wish there were about 300 f-22s) to take on any foe that dares to pick a fight with the USA!!

Who do you think invented most of the cool shit from the last 60 years? Defense spending seeking the ultimate, that’s what.

Yep, or better send him to Russia, as he a defiant non-believer. How can somebody dare to challenge the magnificient F-35 Uberjet? Blasphemy, heresy and even worse. Not to mention perfidious Russians who refused accept truly religion, where PowerPoint rules and numbers and experience are just nuisance, and build their own fighters (I mean real fighters, aka planes meant to fight other planes). Da vstreci, molodec, zij spokojno.

It created a lot of junk we got stuck with as well to justify the enormous funding of the crapp also.

It is interesting that just the EMD cost over-runs (so far) would have paid for over 200 more F-22s at their final production price. Oh well I’m sure that 184 will be enough since Robert Gates says so…

I agree that we should have at least twice as many F-22s and see the JSF going down that same road. But I’d like to hear more about why the Marines need a VSTOL. Why is has its uses, it seems rather limited in delivering firepower when compared to either Navy (either Navy or USMC manned) or Air Force combat aircraft. I thought we fight integrated these days? And how far inland should the Marines go before the Navy can’t support them? Since the Army relies on the Air Force for tactial combat support, why not the Marines?

MEU’s dont travel with carrier battle groups 100% of the time, if deployed independently the harrier (about 4 to 6) will be all they have avail unless they have the option and time to wait for a carrier to arrive for support. If we were to mandate carriers to every MEU then we would reduce our coverage significantly or require additional carriers and support ships to make up the difference which would double the budget. It is much cheaper to build the B than a couple new carrier battle groups. Althoug it would had made a bit more sense to have kept a couple of the ex carrier marine ships around for this reason rather than downsizing. Ive said more than once that the Marines should had taken over all the A6 intruders when the Navy decomed them, they had the range and largest payload of anything in the air short of a B52, would had been a good CAS asset to the marines and be able to reach them from almost anywhere (during desert storm A6’s would fly in drop bombs — refule F18’s and other craft, drop more bombs then fly home — we havent had a plane with this cape since it was retired and none on the horizon either which is a shame).

Thanks for the coherent explanation, Boomer. I like the trade space comments about what I call the Marine Corps “multi-purpose aircraft carrier” versus Navy big deck.

What is the magical, non-permissive air defense environment all the F-35B supporters are envisioning.. that can be sanitized by eight V/STOLs?

Something is better than nothing at all, It gives them an option they would not otherwise have without carrier support that is a day or two away. If it were a perfect world the MEU’s would have a dedicated carrier assigned to it loaded with Marine aircraft of thier choice. But can you imagine the cost of this?
I would love to see a carrier deck full of C2 greyhounds converted to AC gunships, V22’s, COBRAS, Hornets, Hawkeyes, Hueys, chinooks and 53’s like it should be — would be no reason for any overseas bases if it were so and would actualy save us billions in the long run, but congress will never allow it to happen.

The F-35 Target Prices Reveled. OUCH!!!!!! Time to kill this plane and buy more F-22’s

Quote from Aviation Week, today by Graham Warwick

“According to the Joint Program Office (JPO), the recently signed LRIP 4 contract sets a target price of $111.6 million for the CTOL F-35A, $109.4 million for the STOVL F-35B and $142.9 million for the F-35C carrier variant. These prices do not include the F135 engine, as Pratt & Whitney is still negotiating its LRIP 4 contract.”

Based on Pratt’s announced contract, puts the LRIP 3 price at around $19 million for the CTOL engine and $38 million for the STOVL engine including Rolls-Royce lift system.

Under the terms of the LRIP 4 contract, Lockheed and the Pentagon will share any costs above the target price 50:50, with a ceiling on what the government would have to pay of 120%. So an F-35A could cost the DoD up to $133.9 million and an F-35B up to $131.3 million (again, that excludes engines). Beyond that Lockheed carries the cost.

link :

In my opinion. Twin engine aircraft are way better. Provides superior flight safety in long range or over water operations, as the loss of one engine does not guarantee the loss of the aircraft, although it is apt to cause the mission to be aborted etc. Australia, at the time had 116 Mirage IIIO and IIID aircraft, 41 aircraft have being written off from an engine failure.

Refusing to sell the F-22A Raptor to allies is an insult that will also harm American interests, by scrapping the production and closing American options. The right aircraft for Australia is either the (Large airframe with high capability) F-22 Raptor or the F-15SE Silent Eagle, instead of the (Small airframe with low capability) F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-16 Fighting Falcon & F-35 JSF.

Why F-22A Raptor instead of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?

1) F-22A carries twice as many Air-to-Air missiles as the F-35.

2) In combat; the F-22A is flown at almost twice the altitude and twice the speed of the F-35. This increases the range of the F-22A’s Air-to-Air missiles by almost 40 percent, increasing lethality, while it doubles the range of guided bombs like the JDAM.

3) The higher speed of the F-22A vs the F-35 allows it to control twice the area, when targets are mobile and time sensitive. In such situations, a single F-22A can do the same work as two F-35s.

4) F-22A is much more lethal than the F-35. It is also much more survivable than the F-35.

5) F-22A provides around three times more capability than the F-35, yet costs only around 23% more per unit.

6) At the moment, the F-22 is currently in production, yet the planned Initial Operational Capability for the F-35A is 2013, now delayed to 2016 and this is at the Block 3 configuration level, with the prospect of further schedule slippages with commensurate increases in cost.

“Time to kill this plane and buy F-22’s”

Say what? The F-22 was almost $200 million apiece back when it was in full production. Restarting production will raise costs even more. Where’s the money going to come from?

We should do neither, and buy updated teen series fighters in greater numbers, and at a fraction of the cost.

Boomer, we’re not going to let a MEU get near a crisis zone without a big flattop nearby anyway. There’s really no reason to have fixed wing air for USMC as long as there are carriers.

I completely agree, hindsight is 20/20 but we know now that Robert Gates was wrong about the readiness of the F35 fighter. We should keep the F22 line open and at least make 360 for ourselves, minimum, if we want to defend the arctic regions and our pacific assets properly.

There is a bunch of control over the F35 that would make it hard to use against us, which is the reason to force its export to allies over the F22 by blocking the latter aircraft.

You are absolutely right again of course. Robert Gates is wrong about the F35 being ready, we know that now. We could have a critical shortage of long range air dominance platforms at just the wrong time.

To close F-22 production is a very high risk decison, even if F-35 were now ready.

Weaponhead — The F-35 JSF is not a true 5th Generation Fighter. Why?

1. Lacks supercruise

2. Lacks High Agility Supersonic / Subsonic

3. Lacks High Specific Excess Power

4. Lacks Thrust Vectoring Control for enhanced agility

5. Lacks Sidelooking ESA Apertures.

6. Lacks Supersonic Weapons Delivery (Bomber Doors)

7. Lacks Large Thrust to Weight Multi Engine Thrust Growth (Middling T/W. One engine little growth –1)

8. Lacks High Altitude Ceiling at 45,000ft. Actually speaking, highter altitude adds potential energy to BVR missiles, which sends them further, while an enemy’s missiles must ”climb the hill”, severely reducing range. A second factor is that missiles fired from a highter altitude have less drag, again increasing range.

(More info about the F-35 JSF not a true 5th Generation Fighter).

9. The JSF APG-81 AESA range is short to medium. Not a long range.

10. The JSF’s Pratt & Whitney F135 tubofan engine, will generate more heat (In full afterburner). This will make the opponent to detect the F-35 at the BVR range using the long range heat seeking missiles e.g (Long Burn 70 or 80 nm) R-27ET1 / AA-10 Alamo (Heat Seeking), (105 nm) RVV-AE-PD / AA-12 Adder Ramjet (Heat Seeking), and (30 nm) RVV-AE-PD / AA-12 Adder (Heat Seeking). Also the Su-30 Flanker variants will be armed with (215 nm) Novator R-172 Mod.2 (Active Radar) Anti AWACS & AEW&C ultra long range missiles.

11. The JSF doesn’t have L-Band ESA Radar. The aircraft is stealthy for X-Band. The F-35 is only stealthy in the front aspect. No where as stealthy as the F-22 or the Sukhoi PAK-FA.

Also, another aircraft that is way better than the F-35 JSF is the F-15 Strike Eagle & Silent Eagle.

The F-15 is advanced, highly manoeuvrable multi-role fighter that performs air-to-ground attacks and air-to-air combat missions, day or night, in any weather. With the long range and payload capacity to meet its omni-directional defence needs. The F-15 has all these characteristics, and has proven them in combat.

Not only is the F-15 is better able to evade detection than any other fighter, but its combat record proves that the F-15 is more survivable than any (small airframe with low capability i.e. F/A-18E/F Super Hornet , F-16 Fighting Falcon, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon & F-35 JSF) fighter. Advanced radar, electronic warfare and self-protection systems, along with extreme manoeuvrability, ability to exceed twice the speed of sound and excellent weapons provide the F-15 with first-look, first-hit capability.

(More info about the F-15 Strike Eagle & Silent Eagle).

It is important to note that none of the FX aircraft have the very low radar, infrared, acoustic and visual signatures to qualify technically as “stealth” aircraft. For example, carrying weapons or fuel tanks under the wings, as each FX aircraft does, reduces the ability to avoid radar detection. With such external carriage, an aircraft must be able to detect and attack before being detected. The F-15 is extremely capable in this area.

* The F-22 is great. It can’t land on either carrier type. Navy and Marine aircraft also need modernization to penetrate enemy ADA, the threat that actually has shot down U.S. aircraft over the past 30 years.

* Future land bases will be vulnerable to TBM. So will carriers but to a lesser extent. Split your eggs.

* The F-22’s excellence in air-to-air has worked it out of a job. Few nations can afford any numbers of quality aircraft, and none match our stealth or have a realistic chance of knocking out an F-22. 180+ is enough.

* More F-22s would require room at TBM-safe airfields 1500nm from the enemy. Considering we also need land-based F-35s for air-to-ground, room for tankers and cargo aircraft, there is limited ramp space available.

* F-35 EO Distributed Aperture System is better for missile defense to fight the poor country’s TBM “air force” and the helmet-mounted display and EODAS are unavailable on F-22.

* The F-35 EODAS is better for air-to-ground…a demonstrated current and projectable prominent mission. Radar cannot positively ID ground targets or differentiate from civilians like EODAS can, especially at 60,000′ and mach speed. Many targets move. That requires lower, slower flying aircraft using laser designators.

* The F-35 eventually will probably carry up to 6 AMRAAM, most air-to-ground missions will involve just 2 AMRAAM whether an F-22 or F-35.

* F-22 upgrades for the few we have will cost another $10 billion and it still won’t have integrated EODAS or helmet-mounted displays. The line will shut down and would cost a fortune to reopen. The F-35 is the future to replace F-16s etc. The price is cheaper than critics predicted and will get cheaper.

* The F-35 is more than sufficient for realistic threats like North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela.

180+ F-22s is certainely not enough. Without sufficient numbers of F-22 Raptors the United States military will soon lose the conventional strategic advantage it has enjoyed since 1945. With one engine; if something goes wrong with that engine you have to shut down the whole fleet.

Australia has entirely different operational needs, as most roles involve long range or long endurance missions over the sea air gap. While modern engines are very reliable, the loss of the engine over water guarantees the loss of the JSF, and also requires that the Navy commit search and rescue assets to support any operational deployment of JSFs.

If Australia makes a decision to purchase more (100) F-35s in 2012, the RAAF will be ineffective for the next 30 to 40 years. The JSF is 8 years behind schedule & cost overruns etc.

All becomes clear. Peter Goon I take it. Just because Australia gave up their aircraft carrier in 1982 doesn’t mean such carriers are not essential to our common defense against China and North Korea. Australia should not be pushing reopening the F-22 line on American taxpayers. And bet those two $19 million dollar engines in an F-22 are not part of that aircraft’s advertised cost, even if you could buy one.

Your pilots only would be flying long missions over water in a war against China. That isn’t likely since both our nation’s commerce is inextricably linked with them. Weigh the threat of getting shot down by an S-300 in a 4th Gen fighter to the threat of single-engine failure. The odds favor the engine working flawlessly…unlike the Russian engines that APA thinks are so stellar.

“The F35 is more than sufficient for realistic threats like North Korea, Iran & Venezuela”. Interesting comment. The F15, F16 & F18 fighters are probably sufficient to deal with the DPRK, Iran & Hugo for at least two FYDPs. Evidently, Cole doesn’t rank the PRC and Russian technology as a “realistic” threat (the CJCS & Intel Community don’t agree). Cole’s comments are consistent with the irregular warfare/COIN ground centric lobby view of the future. If we really believe that view, then we can save mucho dinero by cnx’ing the F35 & continuing on the path to making the AF into “FedEx’ for the Army with a few fighters tethered to Army platoon leaders. The multi-role/all things to all people F35 may or may not be a turkey but if we buy the ground centric view of the future, why take the risk buy spending a “bizillion” dollars on any fighter, after all, the US hasn’t lost an aerial combat engagement in years.

Agree that modified F-15 Golden Eagles, a few more F/A-18E/F, and retained A-10C are probably sufficient to augment 5th gen fighters. Slight F-35 cuts would not be earth-shattering IMHO. The F-16 fleet is too old, as are most F-15s, Harriers, and F/A-18C/Ds. UCAV also would fix a lot of naval airpower ills, as would MQ-X for the USAF.

Sub-$10-billion defense budgets and sanctions don’t support most threats buying, maintaining, or training large fleets of modern Chinese or Russian fighters. The three rogue nations mentioned certainly can’t, and none have strong radar air defenses but probably can buy/staff those more easily than fighter fleets. The Russian performance in the war with Georgia showed more air defense capability…many fired by “friendlies”…than aircraft/pilot performance. Other nations to include the Chinese have none of the combat experience of allied pilots and never will. When F-35s overcome current delays, allies will have the 5th gen numbers, as well.

Also pragmatically, guess I believe you don’t have to beat fighters in the air. It’s easier to hide a mobile air defense system than an airfield that cruise missiles and JASSM-ER can hit. We did not solve the Iraq problem the first time around by avoiding ground occupation. We certainly would not against DPRK, either. It’s kind of hard to kill hiding DPRK infiltrators/post-war guerillas from 60,000′ and mach speed.

No aces, and no air combat losses since 4th gen fielding except one F/A-18C, support the notion that threat nations have largely moved on from air combat in favor of air defenses, TBM, and UAS. And the lopsided performance of U.S. vs. threat jets back then was when Su-27/Mig-29 seemed pretty comparable to F-15/F-16. Meanwhile, the allies are moving on to stealth…and threats still have Su-27-based aircraft, tired Mig-29s, and J-10/J-11/Pak-FA with little stealth.

As for the ground vs AirSea argument, solely IMHO, the insurgents and rogue nations actually most likely to attack us these days with everything from 7.62mm to IEDs and WMD are undeterred by missile silos, 11 carriers, and Ohio Tridents…because they have little to lose and imagined virgins to gain. Nations supporting terrorists know it would be difficult to attribute a terrorist nuke to a particular nation-state and retaliate in kind with the fall out falling on allies..

Better to attract and kill those extremists on the ground in a distant land with AirSea help than to create some notional costly AirSea Battle doctrine directed against threats that never materialize because they ARE deterred by nukes and commerce. Ground forces continue to suffer casualties and deploy for a year, while AirSea forces with fewer casualties and 6 month deployments want more asymmetric advantages that ground forces lack, and a greater share of the defense and personnel budget. What’s wrong with that picture?

I rest my case. Cole lays out the extrme ground centric view perfectly. Gut the AF and Navy based on denying the “realist” existence of any nation state threat (the Russians are incompetent clowns, the PRC isn’t making the serious investment in high end of the ROMO capability) then double back on his own argument by saying that we can deter this “non-existent/unrealist” threat with nuclear weapons (small point but the US nuclear arsenal is getting verrrry long in the tooth…but never mind because there no real conventional threat) I also love the UCAV bromide..guess we’ve cracked the technology that prevents the “non-existent” threat from dittling the up/downlink for UCAVs??? Can’t let the Iraq reference go: The US contained the Iraq threat very well with air/sea power…only when we made the foolhardy decision to invade/conquer did we come to geopolitical and fiscal grief…but have it your way…rely on nukes and a huge ground component, let the capabilities that the AF and Navy were created for atrophy.…yep, LOL, that’ll work.

So $350–400 billion for the F-35 program isn’t enough? $40b KC-X supports all services and the kind of AirSea Battle aerial and aircraft carrier distances inherent in an unlikely but possible war against China over Taiwan. Much of UCAV piloting can be pre-programmed and manned-unmanned teaming via data burst would make jamming more difficult, and jammers also are targetable.

55 LCS and two Virginia class a year is hardly allowing Navy atrophy. Even a 90-man crew would allow the same 1080 sailors to support 3 LCS and helicopters on station compared to one FFG. Compare those 90-men to a destroyer with 281–340 sailors and some suggestions of separate Blue-Gold crews per ship! The Sea Swap experiment and 4–3-1 ideas make more sense, IMHO.

General Shelton recently admitted to Jon Stewart that in 1997, a Clinton cabinet member wanted to fly an aircraft low enough to get it shot down so we could attack Iraq. 26 died in 1994 when F-15s downed two Army UH-60s in Turkey due to that No-Fly policy. Finally, how many hours were unnecessarily put on fighters at thousands of $ per hour and a premature end of aircraft lifespan with limited payback?

Am not enamored of “betting the farm” on the multi-role F35 as I am not enamored of your notion of betting the DOD investment farm on a ground centric/IW/COIN approach based on “cherry picked” intel.….I would not disagree with a “fresh look” at the F35/F-22/LRPS force structure mix. Again, if there is little to no risk in minmiizing investment against convenional threats, then let’s save money across the DOD as manpower cost for a large ground force is a huge problem. Will not comment on your UCAV assertion…target jammers how and with what??.. another set of notions that “briefs well” Will not comment on how the Navy force structure that your out line works with ASB, as I do not know.. As to the wisdom of invading Iraq.…if you don’t believe me, read what the noted air power zealot, Gen Anthiny Zinni has said about the invasion of Iraq & how that turned out?? The F15 shoot down of two UH-60s is a poorly foisted carnard …ONW/OSW was a more expensive strategy than invasion and nation building?? Are you serious?

War with the DPRK would not be strictly ground-centric, and certainly would not be IW / COIN until after full scale offensive and defensive operations. But we would know IW / COIN was essential based on lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. Near-permanent occupation of the area around the Straits of Hormuz with no intent of crossing the Zagros mountains is another air-ground-sea option. That joint assault easily could occur from adjacent Pakistan Baluch territories or from Afghanistan and via airborne/air assault troops. No direct amphibious assault of enemy beaches necessary.

Finally, IMHO if we had done in Desert Storm what we did in OIF, ONW/OSW would not have been necessary. It could be argued that cost was ADDED to OIF because the job was not done right the first time. Or we could have done nothing and would now be adding Iraq to the list of rogue nations to currently worry about, and oil prices would be even higher. Sanctions and the no-fly zone was containing nothing except food for starving Iraqis and oil for the rest of the world. Similarly, airstrikes over Serbia would have meant nothing, and genocide/sniping would have continued were it not for occupation of neighbors and the threat of ground combat.

Cole, I agree that a Korean II would not be strictly ground centric, the first Korea wasn’t; but I don’t get what you mean: ” we would know IW / COIN was essential based on lessons of Iraq & Afghanistan”? You mean the US would conduct protracted COIN/IW in a “post-Korean War II”? Occupation of portions of Iran? Assaults into Pakistan? Dude!? Couple of questions: The USG is broke…how would we pay for any of this? How would we handle the effect on our economy caused by increases in oil prices that would accompany occupying parts of Iran?? It is true that we could have easily taken Iraq in ’91 and occupation would have been easier with the numbers we had but I suspect our ’91 coalition would have shattered at the notion…and the nation building dynamics would have just as thorny and expensive. Read what Gen Shelton had to say about air power/ALLIED FORCE/Serbia. On one point I do agree: if the US leadership wants to do all the stuff that you outlined, then the Army is too small, and so is the AF, the Navy, & USMC.

If the aim is Korean reunification, and current posturing evolves to something more serious and the DPRK attacks, obviously an initial ground defense and subsequent ground offense would be required. Afterwards, to integrate North Koreans into a unified Korea, a coalition force probably consisting of Chinese and Russians in the North, U.S. and South Koreans in the south, and cooperating former DPRK forces in both zones would need to maintain order and feed starving DPRK people, while battliing non-cooperating DPRK troops.

Similarly, if Israel eventually attacks Iran, and the latter retaliates by attempting to block the Straits of Hormuz, suspect we would be forced into involvement. Obviously we would seek Pakistani permission prior to using their land…the point is that is an option as it is anywhere else. A direct heh-diddle-diddle up the middle of enemy beaches is not required. Neither conflict is likely, but both are more likely than war with China.

Bottom line: There is no realistic AirSea Battle without the ground component.

Cole, So, your exclusive crystal ball says that the only conflicts that are “likely” are the fights that you say require ground centric solutions; consequently, the US should ignore near peer problems, because according to you, we will never have a problem with the Chinese or Russians? I also caught your not so subtle “not required” jab at the USMC. It’s not possible to take such extreme, Army partisan arguments seriously. So, we cede military hegemony of the Pacific Rim to the PRC because it won’t happen and wouldn’t require a ground centric solution. We should defend US national interest with a ground centric approach, however fiscally or militarily illogical, and failing a green solution, resort to nukes. LOL
There is no realistic ASB without the ground component? ASB details are heavily shrouded but I would expect there are some ground forces involved; however, the Army is not likely to be incharge..which I suspect is your problem with the concept. Oh well, the First Amendment is still the law of the land.

In my opinion Australia should be pushing to reopen the F-22 production line.

What crystal ball? Just showing it’s unwise to assume future conflicts only require air and sea services when 20 years of recent conflicts show otherwise. Equally troublesome is the implication that the Army incorrectly has gotten too much of the budget/force structure despite the highest casualties and most months of deployment. The three future AirSea services cannot do it alone, and a bone thrown at airborne forces does not suffice.

BTW, if you look at the Feb 2003 John Tirpak AFA article titled “Legacy of the Air Blockades,” you will find a quote of $12 billion for the cost of the Iraq no fly zone that also cites the aircraft wear. With inflation adjustments, that would finance half of KC-X and longer F-15/F-16 life. Found no General Shelton quote saying the USAF did it all in the Balkans. Did find an interesting article: “NATO attack on Yugoslavia gave Iraq good lessons,” saying that few military forces were hit in Kosovo despite 78 days of air attacks, and citing many means of deception and hiding forces.

But if an aircraft can find a hiding deceptive enemy, its more likely to be lower, slower flying unmanned aircraft and F-35swith great EO/IR optics and cueing radars.

Who said air/sea could do it alone w/o a land component? Not me. OSW/ONW vs invasion..$12Billion won’t begin to pay for what the ill advised invasion of Iraq cost. Balkans..Read Gen Shelton’s book… a good read and a great American. Agree that w/ no ground threat an enemy army will disperse/ hunker down, but the mission was Milosevic. If the US is to remain a superpower, we must maintain superiority at the high end of the ROMO as well as a robust IW capability. Current DOD/AF investment will make high-end of the ROMO success HIGH RISK. The USG debt may force the DOD to chose, again, I would review the F35/F22/LRPS mix, as well as the Navy/USMC mix and yes, the Army. We must fund the troops in the field or bring them home. You may be right, take excessive risk with the PRC & Russian tech& trust to luck but if your wrong, the result would be catastrophic.…a misscalculation at the low end of the ROMO is recoverable.

Peter — I’m totally sold. I wish you were calling the shots on defense acquisition.

Rock on.

LOL F-35 makes F-22 look like a model acquisition program. Canceling F-35, reinventing the F-22, F-15, and F-16 lines and producing them at minimum sustaining rates would be a much wiser policy then digging a deeper grave for ourselves with F-35. Oh yeah, use the savings for Next Gen Bomber, too.

Yep. Many options for JFACC to provide CAS for Marines. Organic capability can be provided by Super Cobras and Vipers.

If there were no overseas bases, how would long range long loiter CAS provided by USAF heavy bombers out of Diego be possible?

Cole — One should not be surprised that the F-22 is superior. Many of its electronic systems are identical or superior to the JSF including electronic warfare and networking data links, also the F-22 has two engines, thereby more electrical power and electronic cooling capacity, greater radar
aperture, more thrust to weight, less supersonic drag, more manoeuvrability, super-cruise (which
enhances both engagements of, and escape from, known threats), superior stealth technology and
a similar ability to carry and release precision munitions. Given this open-sourced information
has been public knowledge since the late 1990s, then why has the F-22 been roundly and
consistently rejected by the Department as a potential contender for at least the last six years?

Moreover, there is one overriding consideration — whether the JSF is actually cheaper than the F–
22 is irrelevant; the JSF is not capable of doing the job in our nearer and wider regions awash
with advanced Russian/Chinese fighters and SAM systems, thus cannot guarantee regional air superiority.

The fundamental point must be that no matter how many JSFs are procured, if the aircraft
cannot guarantee control of the regional battlespace at a time and place of RAAF’s choosing, then
what utility does it have for this nation ~ defence? Can the JSF or other smaller airframes with low capability assert dominance over the Su-27 & Su-30 Flanker variants, upcoming T-50 PAK-FA & J-20 Black Eagle? The very clear answer is no.

Also Cole — High capability category air combat fighters are characterised by the best aerodynamic
performance possible from the available technology base, as well as the most powerful
radars and other sensors available etc. This trend has existed since the Great War, and has
always seen major powers push the envelope of technology to provide the most capable
designs achievable.

The Low capability category air combat fighters, of which were originally developed during the 1970s as low cost low capability category air combat fighters, but both of which no longer have the performance to be credible against opponents such as the Sukhoi Su-27SMK and Su-30/35 series, thus shifting their primary role to bombing battlefield targets. The Joint Strike Fighter is being developed primarily as a small bomber to support ground forces over the battlefield, and is expected to only match at best the performance of the legacy F-16 and F/A-18 designs.


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