Time marches on for the F-22

Time marches on for the F-22

Tuesday is, quite literally, the end of the line for Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor.

After fourteen years in production, the final Raptor was set to roll off the company’s assembly line in Marietta, Ga., completing the truncated run of 187 jets — just a portion of the onetime program of 750 “Advanced Tactical Fighters.” Just that old phrase itself is enough to bring back a lot of memories.

Although F-22s have logged a lot of flight hours, they have never served in combat, and the generation of Soviet super-jets that was to have been their raison d’être never materialized. Even though the Air Force’s top leaders hinted the F-22 could play in this year’s big turkey shoot in Libya, where almost every other combat aircraft in the arsenal got a turn — B-1s sortied from South Dakota, for some reason, and the Marines were flying strikes with their AV-8B Harriers —  nope, the Raptors ended up staying home.

And maybe that was lucky, because then the jets had to spend part of the year grounded, as the Air Force tried to resolve problems with their onboard oxygen generation systems. The F-22s can fly again today, but it’s a catch-as-catch can situation, still without a permanent fix to protect their pilots. All this cost taxpayers more than $150 million per aircraft, not including larger program costs for research and development.

So despite its high promise and high cost, the jury is still out on the F-22. But if you’re worried about having so many fewer of them than originally planned, there may be hope, reports Reuters’ Jim Wolf. The Air Force is going to keep some of the critical equipment Lockheed has been using to build the Raptors, officially to sustain them, but there’s a possibility it could resume building them if it ever had to:

Bringing back the F-22 line would take less than $200 million, “a fraction of the costs seen in previous line restarts of other weapons systems,” Alison Orne, a Lockheed spokeswoman, said by email, citing preliminary analysis.

The Air Force said government-owned F-22 production is being stored “for the sole purpose of sustaining the F-22 fleet” over its lifetime. “No F-22 parts, tooling or related items are being stored for the purpose of preserving the option of restarting F-22 production,” Jennifer Cassidy, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in an email.

She said the Air Force had commissioned a RAND analysis to assess tooling preservation options at congressional direction. The study concluded that saving the hardware “may significantly ease the execution of future F-22 sustainment needs, and the storage of that tooling can be provided at relatively low cost.”

With a service life of 30 years and a reputation as the deadliest airborne threat since Zeus, what could possibly happen to the Raptor fleet to force the Air Force to buy more?

Think back to September’s discussion about America’s industrial ‘surge’ weakness, when Barry Watts and Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments quoted a bleak scenario for the Air Force: The big balloon has gone up and it’s “Twelve O’Clock High” over the Taiwan Strait. American F-22s do all right against as many Chinese tactical fighters as possible, but there are so many of them they overwhelm and eliminate the Raptors’ tanker and AWACS support. So F-22s crash not because of enemy action but because they run out of fuel on the way back to their base at Guam.

Nightmares like these are one reason F-22 advocates have been saying all along it was a bad idea to truncate production — if China can get these kinds of free kills with Su-27s or Su-30s, just think what the J-20 might be able to do. That means the Air Force needs more, ever more F-22s, they say, to add a quantitative edge to the qualitative one the Raptor already has. It didn’t happen, but maintaining some of Lockheed’s tools may mean it could be theoretically possible to replace an F-22 — even though it would be neither cheap nor easy.

UPDATE: Here’s Lockheed’s very special video about its very last F-22 Raptor.

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Thing is, new Raptors are actually not that expensive now the vast bulk of the R&D is out of the way…

Yep. Incremental costs are relatively low now.

To steal the synopsis from a RAND study in 2010.…

In response to requirements in the FY10 National Defense Authorization Act and a request from the Air Force, PAF analyzed the retention of F-22A production tooling. Specifically, PAF compared the cost of retaining all the tooling required to restart F-22A production in the future with the cost of retaining just the tooling known to be required for aircraft sustainment. PAF also estimated the cost of restarting production and of aircraft after restart. It was found that the nonrecurring cost of keeping production only
tooling would represent about 9 cents on the dollar of the original $190 million in tooling cost (in FY10 dollars) and that the annual storage costs were minimal. Aircraft unit costs after restart were estimated to be 22 percent to 27 percent higher than the current production costs, depending on the length of the production hiatus. Considering the small cost of retaining the tooling and the benefit of having it available for possible future service-life-extension programs and to address other uncertain circumstances, such as battle damage, the Air Force decided to retain all the tooling, thus saving a net $170 million (assuming the tooling is used at some point).

F-22 is at least mostly developed and has predictable (if pretty high costs). It is the best air dominance fighter ever put into production and can, based on the best available info, counter any threat fielded or in development by potential adversaries. So we terminate it for the “less expensive” F-35.

F-35 development is breaking the bank, unti costs continue to increase, problems are continuing to mount and IOC is still a long ways off after 10 years of SDD (but hey we are 18% complete is flight testing). Having said that, F-35 is not a world beater. It does not have the capability to provide air dominance against emerging threats, and it lacks the range, internal payload, and survuivability to deliver direct attack weapons against near peer adversaries in time effective campaign. Against this type of adversary it will end up having to operate much like lagacy aircraft.

Part 2:

The enormous expense of the F-35 project would be better spent on more F-22s (and/or a 6th gen’ replacement), an new long range bomber, much lower cost upgraded legacy fighters that could fill out the force structure, and new long range weapons (A/A and A/G) to fight in the AA/AD environment.

$200M to restart the F-22 line is in the noise level of F-35 overruns and is looking like a bigger bargain as each day of the F-35 program disaster passes.

If the RAND study was right, and the USAF has actually directed that the F-22 production tooling be broken up, well.… .. I would be very ashamed.… . :-(

Sell them to our closest allies and the production line can be kept open and the price brought down. After all we’re selling F35s to them.

I am against any wars but I think we need these for defense most specially if Iran is planning for naval exercise and planning to place a flotilla of missile ships and boats on the Atlantic coast. We need to restart the F-22 and F-23 production line for defense. Also batteries of Army Patriot missiles, sea mines, Carl Gustaf weapons systems,AT4 Vipers, Mark 75 3″/62 Caliber Gun System, MLRS — Multiple Launch Rocket System on land, ashore Atlantic coast and surrounding sea borders could help defend the country against any Iranian or any rogue, communist or socialist countries missile ships/ boats attack.

I’m still trying to figure out how anybody with a brain between their ears and a level of common sense greater than 2 marbles in a tin can could disagree with your posts.

The F-35 as a whole is just too cumbersome to push forward with. The same plane for 3 roles never delivered on the promise of commonality and did nothing but water down the capabilities of the A and C models. Cancel the F-35A and C. The B is the only model that really has no long term alternative. I know the Navy is severely lacking in air to air and long range since the retirement of everything but the F-18’s but at the going rate, a carrier air wing stocked with F-35’s is more fantasy than reality.
The F-35 is becoming such a joke. Look at how delayed the program already is and they’re just now getting serious about addressing known issues before producing too many mistake jets. By time all the design flaws are taken care of, it’ll be 2020 and each F-35 will cost 200 million each…and just like the F-22, some idiot in Washington will use that cost to justify canceling the program. So let’s just save ourselves the time between now and then and re-assess what we really need.

Sorry, but I don’t see the Iranian Navy sailing up the Chesapeake looking for trouble any time this milennia.

Too much worrying over China The F-22 is needed but a F-15 can handle a SU-27 or SU-30 just fine since they have similar radar and weapon systems the smaller MiG-29s uses. Thing is time to drop the problem prone F-35 and go with more F-22s instead.

May be old news but I just saw it.…

Speaking of the Navy and F-35s, just saw a blurb over on AvWeek that the Navy had determined that the tail hook on the F-35s was too short to reliably engage the cable on a routine trap landing. Doesn’t sound too important (just make the tail hook a tad longer, right?) but the article went on to say that there might need to be some major redesign of the rest of the structure to allow for a longer hook!

Taiwan is doomed if China attacks, boosting F-22 production won’t do anything but burden the tax payers more. China has thousands of missiles aimed at the island, there’s no way we could ever sneak up without taking huge casualties. The only thing Taiwan can do is buy more subs, anti ship, and anti air weapons.

As for the article, its good the F-22 hasn’t been used. It means its serving its purpose well, enemies are afraid to make a move.

Taiwan’ll never get invaded except as part of a bigger push-it’d be counter-productive to scorched-earth the place for the mainland if Taiwan was the only thing on the list. I tend to think the “they’ll shoot down the tankers/AWACs and logistic-kill the F-22s!” scenario is a little misguided, especially in view of the JSF and naval aviation. We’re buying what, 10 JSFs for every one Raptor at this point? And we’d probably also commit just about every PACFLT carrier we have to a fight with China, so there’s another 240 or so combat aircraft to commit.. There’ll be buttloads of fighters to escort tankers and AWACs birds. Also, Su-27s have a low-altitude combat radius of 900-odd miles; it’s considerably more (about 2,000 miles) at altitude, but Su-27s at altitude are going to get detected way before they’re going to be in a position to do anything. So…put your AWACs and tankers at the maxed-out combat radiusof the Su-27, guarded by swarms of JSFs out to four hundred miles or so from the support birds, and I’d be willing to bet that the Su-27s never even get close.

Fortunately this threat is totally unrealistic and so your proposed spending is unneeded. Iran is gonna sail PT boats up and down the Atlantic coast??

We don’t really have enough Raptors to do anything with them now. We should have cancelled the F-35 and bought more F-22s.

What we can do right now is cancel the F-35 and buy upgraded F/A-18E/F Super Hornets with International Road Map upgrades. We’re already short on strike fighters as it is. The production line for the Super Hornet is already open and if we did this we could make roughly 3 Super Hornets for every 1 F-35B or F-35C. All of our previous Block II Super Hornets could be upgraded to SHIRMs easily as well.

More bad news than that, see the full report: http://insidedefense.com//index.php?option=com_iw

Geee.… have you been smoking the wrong pot?!

Iran to place a flotilla of missile ships and boats on the Atlantic coast?! They barely can send fishing ships to Seychelles. Besides in the way there is over 30 NATO submarines (without US) from Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. Go back to bad and dream about Iranian girls!

The last lot cost $180M each. Opinions vary on whether that counts as “not that expensive” or “low incremental costs”.

the F-35 is a total engineering disaster. It needs to be cancelled which would save money and free up funds to ask Boeing and LMT to pool their resources to produce a larger upgraded Superraptor F-22X. And don’t do the concurrency thing which was really a con act by LMT on the American taxpayer enabled by Pentaagon groupthink. Dont’ worry about the Navy. They should be ok for a while with new faster and stealthier Block III Superhornets if Boeing ever had the intuition to build a demonstrator to help make this happen.

I’m not sure who the winners of this air-to-air battle are, or what there motivation is, but the end result will be that the mighty USAF has fallen. They are the big losers. Maneuvering is irrelevant? Ha! The maneuvering done to kill F-22 production just as it became relatively efficient proves the utility of agility. Using the major argument that the equivalent F-35 is coming along at half the price while knowing full well it was in technical and financial trouble was genius. It was, as the SECDEF said “a no brainer”. (Who looks like he has no brain now? but I digress) The end game maneuver is that the F-35 has been mismanaged by those greedy contactors, and it is not as capable as it was advertised in the brochure. Heavens, we were lied to! Stop rewarding the deceivers! Who would have thunk it? Both programs will be cut back to a fraction of expectations. Who knows what evil lurks…the Shadow knows. Maybe it was just incompetence across the board?.…..Nope…As I said, I know who the losers are, but who won?

The “Real News Today” is the report released on the Problems of the F-35!!! 5 Major Issues that will take Years & Millions more $$$$ to address. Go to Aviation Week and read “Whats Really Happening” and the click on the link form “POGO” to read the 35 page PDF yourself. YIKES!!! Everyone is covering the F-22 line closing and hoping people won’t notice this Troubling Report about the future delays and $$$ it will take to try and get the F-35 air worthy. POGO link to PDF (take out spaces)
http :// www . pogo . org/ resources / national — security / f-35 — jsf — concurrency — quick — look — review — 20111129 . html

This is not exactly a bad thing. The F-22 is still extremely advanced and there are plenty of them. We can build more if need be. Although I do not see a time where we would possibly need more, considering they are already quite advanced and other nations who are creating their own superiority fighters are far behind in both numbers and R&D.

This is one “cut” that I would have to agree with. Because despite this “loss” the United States Air Force is still, numerically and technologically, the most superior aerial combat force in the world.

I would just like to re-emphasize on the importance of how much these things are not needed in this day and age. The most expensive part is out of the way (R&D) but they just are not necessary in the year 2011.

i fear what one day the USA will bitterly regret this day as the last F22 rolled out. Many epic mistakes was made in the last ten years but to kill the F22 was surly the biggest and stupidest of all. The decision to kill the F22 was made under an absolutely false prediction of what is need in the future and I fear what the USA and possible the entire free world will regret this like the other irresponsible defense cuts on high end weapons. In 3–5 Years nobody will longer speak about thinks like Asymmetric warfare and COIN or other Word creation of the War on Terror but they will speak about Red China’s rising power and Russia’s new aggressions but on this moment it will be really hard to correct the mistakes who was s made in the War on Terror/Asymmetric Warfare mania of the Bush and Obama Administration.

The tragedy is what the F22 would have been a small investment in compare with what the USA has get for it. A Fleet of 500 F22 has probably secured the US Air Dominance for the next 25 Years but now it’s too late.
Possible what after the End of the Obama Administration a new Administration will come to the conclusion what the F22 Line should to be restart but it will cost a lot of money and time to do this why experience will be lost and also the time.

Because what progressives and also many deficit hawks don’t understand, is what aggression is the logical consequence of the possibility for a successful aggression. An enemy how is weak and unable beat you will make no attempt for a fight. But them an enemy is superior or at least equal to you, he will be minded to seek a fight and them this happens it will be too late to correct the mistakes of the past.


I just have to challenge this view. I know we’re all biased for the military and don’t like seeing things being cut but the fact of the matter is defense spending takes up a majority of our nation’s budget. That said, in a time like this, the military needs to give a lot of things up. I argue the F22 is OK to give up FOR NOW because it just is not needed.

We don’t need fifth-gen tech taking on Soviet-era technology. We just don’t. It’s not practical. And who, I ask, has anything that can compare to the F22? The Russian Sukhoi T-50 which is STILL in the testing stage and where very few have been built?

What about the Chinese J-20? Which is in the exact same boat the T-50 is in — it still needs testing and (last I checked) the number built could be counted on one hand.

I’m sorry, guys and girls, but it’s better we cut production of a superiority fighter that numbers in the hundreds and the only competition numbers are in the single digits.

The F22 and the F35 are great strides forward for our aerial power. They WILL secure our air dominance for a long time, just as you said. Plus, they will act as stepping stones to even further dominance. I just don’t see why they’re needed right now. Even if they were flown in Libya there were other, much more practical ways, to go about things.

The age-old saying strongly applies here:
“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

The fear of China’s rising military power on these websites is astounding. Look up the numbers of the two nations yourself and you will quickly see the only (and I do mean only) thing the Chinese have is superior ground numbers, which means nothing if you cannot transport them around. Which would be impossible to do considering a war (right now) would result in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the People’s Liberation Army Navy being destroyed in mere weeks.

They are rising, yes. But are they close? No. This is an entirely irrational fear that people seem to have.

Let’s say you’re the strongest guy or girl in the gym. You can bench 700 pounds and the person who is the second strongest can bench 200. Is he close to you? Nope.

A study was done a while back stating that if China attacked Taiwan and we came in to defend the Taiwan Straits, we would run out of missiles long before they ran out of aircraft even if every missile we fired found a target.

You’re assuming we had a couple weeks warning of the attack and were able to pack our Pacific airbases with aircraft, weapons, and get all available carriers into position. Odds are if China did attack Taiwan, there would be a fair amount of surprise on their side. I don’t know that the figures are, but there has to be a limit to how many aircraft those friendly air bases can support.

I would like to raise the point of “why does the US have to spend the $$ to protect against the Russians and Chinese?” Why aren’t our “allies’ spending more of their $$ to produce the latest aircraft and to develop the next generation aircraft. I’m sort of fed up with us being the world’s policeman.

The Russian PAK FA should start production around 2015 to 2016. And they want to make 1,000 of them. 200 for Russia, 200 for India, and 600 for export.

It’s almost 2012 and the years 2015 and 2016 are just 3 and 4 years away. Thats when the Russians will start producing the PAK FA in numbers. The J-20 might start production in 2018 (or just a little later). We came out with 5th Generation fighters earlier that the other large nations but their 5th gen fighters will be arriving soon. Before we all know it it will be 2016 and F-18s, F-16s, and F-15s will be having to face superior foreign fighters and they will need the help of F-22s and F-35s.

Why do we believe that the Russians/Chinese will not have the same type of problems we have had with the F-22/F-35 and have their production and quantities reduced and stretched out over a long period?

This is a very naive view with no margin for error. To counter some points only (sorry I have in the moment not enough time for a detailed response).

1.The DOD makes without War Spending just a small part of the real spending of US Government and also it makes a small part of the US GDP. But many People (especially Progressives) count just discretionary spending to generate there shocking accounts for their partisan but the reality is different. So 2/3 of the Government Spending are non-discretionary spending and the non-discretionary spending grow faster them every other Program include the DOD. So in the reality the DOD make just a bit more them 1/6 of the real Government spending. For example you can cut nearly the entire dictionary spending (DOD, Homeland security, NASA, CIA, FBI, Police, the Energy Department, the Department of Education, all money for Infrastructure and many more) and you will nevertheless not get a balance budget. So the only reason to solve the US Depth Problems are to reform the non-dictionary spending’s and also to rise the tax for the rich. And the DOD has already taken a lot of hits from the Budget Ax long before the real Austerity began. For example Gates has kill as Obama entered the Office nearly 40 weapon Programs and slash about 400–500 Billion from the Budget or better said the nearly the entire fat and also a lot of muscle mass (like the F22) and he has done this under completely false and now obsolete prediction. Gates has for example focused all resources of the DOD for Asymmetric Warfare and COIN Operations how have with the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan War no future. Mr. Gates has simple reduced the threat analysis just on Afghanistan to get the justification for is devastating early cuts. For example he has killed the F22 with the stupid comment what he cannot be used against Insurgents in Afghanistan and make in the same time also the false prediction what the Chinese will just get their own 5 generation Fighter around 2020–25 but the Chinese has present there J20 just 1, 5 Years later and they will put there Fighter so early as 2016–17 in regular service.

2.So the F22 was not just a unnecessary Program she was a core Program why he has guaranteed the US Air Dominance against all peer enemy’s beyond 2025 possible beyond 2030. To kill the F22 Line was under all aspects a stupid and a false decision, I’m sure what in 3–5 Years nobody will need MARPS or a big nation Building Ground Force or the expensive COIN Skills but the USA will need more Ships, more modern Fighters and Bombers to deter Red China and other Aggressive Country’s like Russia and exactly this Programs/ skills there killed in the War on Terror mania. The truth is what the F22 was also the cheaper and more necessary Fighter Program of the USA, so the F35 cost now nearly the same as a F22 but the F35 is not the High End Fighter was the USA need to deter peer enemies.

3. And the Russians PAK FA is more dangerous them is looks, so the Russian will finish this fighter around 2015 and start the export of this fighter to all enemy countries (so they plan to build around 600–800 of them the most of the for the export). The PAK FA is surly not better them the F22 but he is better them every other Western Fighter, so you cannot face a PAK FA with F16, F15 or F18 and the F35 is in extremely dangerous to be killed in the next round of budget cuts. So the USA will possible remain without an open 5 Generation fighter line and with a more then 25 Years old fighter Fleet during Red China and Russia build and Export hundreds of there 5 Generation Fighters in the entire despotic world!

4. One of the biggest Mistakes what many people make is to consider just the moment in their risk prediction but the F22 and many other High End Programs was not just designed to beat treats of the moment or of the past but also of the future around 2025. In the moment the USA still safe and is Military the strongest of the World but how it will looks 2025 or later without new Fighter, without new Ships, without new Technologies? Don’t forget is cost nearly 20 Years to design, test, build and put a modern fighter in service.

5. Gates and the Obama Administration has already killed nearly the entire modernization and replacement programs of the DOD and also Mr. Panetta’s Comments looks like to be true and not lies. Don’t forget Panetta was not a friend of the Pentagon he has for example required in the early nineties a 50% cut of the Pentagon Budget and many times he has fight for deeper cuts.

This “F-22 OR F-35″ discussion always seems to come up. The USAF wanted both for a reason. The whole hi-lo mix concept aside, technology and experience gained between both programs could have been shared. We wouldn’t have to SLEP F-15C/Ds for another 25 years either.

Because they did … not in one but in two …instead of working together and making the European raptor they worked divided and the result is not an european raptor but two european ducks .… the Eurofighter and the Rafale may end up costing more than the F22. Wikipedia says that the UK alone spend more around £37 billion. Only the UK.… I don’t know for Germany nor Italy and Spain.
The Rafale cost was around €39 billion. You see .… in europe we actually did spend in two nice aircrafts … to bad that both come about 10 years late and not as good as the raptor. We need to get organized …


Can I ask why my comment to Dfens was deleted?

Yep when the US needs more F22’s no problem it’s just like ordering pizza right. China is still years away from stealth test flight oops got that wrong will they pull a single engine stealth out of the shed 2012 the answer is no until they do and Russia will only sell the T50 to counties approved by the US right like Iran.

The F35 was not designed to do the job of the F22 that is why it can not. Russia and China are designing fighters to counter the F22 none are worried about the F35. A carrier loaded with F35’s is either in range of they carrier killer missiles or out of range for their F35’s to strike.

Can the US go to the aid of the people being slaughtered by their Government in years to come while keeping their loses to a public acceptable level today yes, in 5 years time not so good 10 years time No the days of wars like Iraq and Afghanistan are coming to an end.

When more F22’s are needed it will be too late.

Mike, you will believe what you believe, but lets just look at a couple of your points.

Defense consumes how much of the federal budget by percentage? You supply the number.

Perhaps the F-22 IS the top dog in the dogfight for air supremacy…. now. But if the program is shut down and the production tooling broken up (as has been directed!), AND we wait until a superior Russian or Chinese fighter is fielded before we make a move to counter…. how long will it take to either reconstitute an F-22+ production line or heaven forbid, try to roll out the F-3X to counter that threat? Again you can answer that question.

As for the “fear” of the Chinese.… you are perhaps correct in it being a big overblown right now, but the fear of a resurgent Germany was played to an impossible hype in some circles in the early 1930s when the Luftwaffe had only a handfull of airplanes and the Belgians had more tanks. China may evolve into a trusted ally, but right now Im seeing a wary rival that could easily tip in either direction, just as the Weimar Republic could have evolved differently.

The world is still a very dangerous place, Cold War or not. We still need this fighter plane in double the numbers we have now.
I still say that the YF-23 was the better plane, remembering what Bill Lear said so many years ago.

What if we judt dropped the F-35, upgrade the F-16 to the version sold to the UAE and the F-18 to the a version better than the N version proposed for sell to India and use the technology gained from the F-35 and intergrate in into an upgraded version of the F-22C. I love the F-35 something has got to go to help get the budget down to an affordable level.

Once this last war is over with then and the budget under control, we can always come back and take another look at the F-22. By that time, maybe the technology form the F-35 can be intergraded into the F-22. No matter how you flip it, toss it, turn it around, the frigging bird is going to still be expensive as hell.

Because they do not pay their design politburos more if they drag the design phase out to infinity. Only we are stupid enough to hire “for profit” companies and give them a profit incentive to drag out fighter development for decades. Before that, it only took 2–3 years to develop a fighter in the US. Typically they commies start killing family members if things go more than a year or two beyond what they want.

You didn’t answer my question — why wouldn’t the Russians/Chinese have the same type of issues we have had in our development? I don’t believe that they are that much smarter than us so they should see the same problems.

Killing family members doesn’t solve design problems

Too late now. 2 wars fought with $$ borrowed from the Chicoms. We have killed ourselves.

So the F-35, designed and built by Lockheed Martin, is a useless failure, and the solution is to build more F-22, which are…designed and built by Lockheed Martin…?

The world is not perfect, DD. The simple fact is that the F-22 is a more mature product than the F-35, with its warts of course, but it is a buildable, deployable product. Having read through the AvWeek description of the KNOWN problems with the F-35 that have been surfaced already in its testing, Im starting to have my own doubts about the F-35, the fixes for the known problems, and more important, the UNKNOWN Unknowns still to be found in the testing. If the program continues to find more problems, until either the fix-it budget is exceeded, or the “insurmountable issue” appears, and then “crashes and burns”, the options are to try to upgrade and string along the F-15/F-16/F-18 generation or to make some more F-22 or F-22 Plus fighters to fill the now widening gap. Not to really bash the upgrades to the “teen” fighters, but.… If we could field 1 or 2 new F-22s for the price of trying to keep 3 or 4 F-15s flying.… it might make sense. Not sure where those “break points” might be between new F-22s and upgrades to F-15s, but it should not be all that difficult for those “with the numbers” to work out.

Did I mention that the USAF apparently has DIRECTED that the F-22 production tooling be broken up?

So… in 2017 when the first operational wing of PAK FA’s does a formation flyover at the Dromodevo airshow we should start the development cycle for the F-41 with a targeted IOC in .… . 2035… or with further refinement of the current acqusition process… 2045 or so?

Hmmm.…. could it possibly be that Im missing something hidden under the irony? ….…

wow I envy you guys, you’re all debating which Aircraft is to maintain by your Air Force. In our country we even hardly maintain a number of competitive Northrop Grumman F5s to protect our aerospace, and we hardly push the S2111 Training jets to take the role of a dog fighter.

Sadly, I can appreciate the situation you describe.

Back in 1977 or so, the bad guys of the day (Warsaw Pact) had more MiG-19s and MiG-21s that we had AIM-9s in theater. If you tossed in the MiG-15s, SU-7/9/22s and the occasional MiG-23/27/25, we probably did not have enough A-A missiles in the inventory, even with a Pk of 1.0! Those days, we all had that cold prickly feeling down the middle of our backs.… . . Now that I mention it, I can remember that feeling all too well!

F22 and F35, high priced junk. Better to have reworked the 15s and 16s.

I don’t understand your answer. My position is that we build more F-22s and also buy the number of F-35As the Air Force wants. I wrote what I wrote above in response to people saying that there are no peer competitor fighters for the F-22 to fight since the Soviet 5th generation fighter never appeared and the Chinese J-20 is only one prototype. The Soviet 5th Gen fighter never appeared but in a few years the Russian 5th gen fighter will appear and they plan to make 200 for the Russian Air Force, 200 for the Indian Air Force, and 600 for export. I wouldnt be surprised if a couple hundred China would buy. So we need more F-22s once the Russians go into full production on their PAK FAs. Eventually 187 F-22s wont be enough.

You have to think of all the campaign donations this program provided for the politicians and perhaps will even open more revolving doors for retired generals in the future.

Just my humble opinion, but given the latest news about the F-35 (which probably means the truth is even worse), it seems to me the course of prudence would be to keep the F-22 line open, offer them to our closer allies (I think Australia was interested) to get volume pricing, and start replacing our older strike fighters with Super Hornets and F15 Silent Eagles. Then we can sit back an assess whether the F-35 is ever going to perform adequately at a price that won’t break the bank. It might make more sense to can it and apply the technology and money to what would eventually have replaced the F-35.

I was in taiwan inthe 70s.the f-104s kept knock downing the Chinese reds.they would send in a t-33 and the mainland kept chasing the t-bird. and the 104s kept knocking them down.they never learn.

Anyone who has worked on or around the Raptor knows how great an airplane it is. The problem is, most people have never even seen one in person, yet they make all kinds of comments on why we need them or why we don’t. Personal experience has shown that one Raptor can kill 6 F-16’s every day of the week, given the best F-16 pilots we have. F-15’s cannot come close to fighting a Raptor (as good an airplane as it is). Yes, these are American airplanes flown by American pilots with a chip on their shoulder not to be outdone by a Raptor. This scenario has played out many, many times. If our best F-15 and F-16 airplanes and pilots can’t take out a Raptor, there’s no way in hell an emeny pilot and plane can. Raptors with AIM-120D’s own the sky! Period.

Why would we want to replace the F-22 with a single engine F-35 that can’t do what the Raptor can do and will take years to get to the point of even getting close to the F-22’s capabilities. Proponents of the F-35 state that it will be cheaper to build the F-35, however the price tag of that airplane continues to rise and the problems that it has right now can’t be fixed quickly or cheaply. It won’t be long that we’re paying more for the JSF than we would have had we continued to build the F-22. This is all politcally driven (as usual) so the tax payer is not getting the best product for it’s dollar. Look back through the history of the F-16 (which has been a great airplane) and see just how many have been lost due to engine problems, bird strikes, etc. 2 engines are ALWAYS better than 1 and now we’re building single engine airplanes that are going to fail just like the F-16 at the same cost as F-22’s. Lose the F-35, keep building F-22’s and F-15E’s and you’ve got one hell of an Air Force!

Things are possibly going to change now since Iran now may figure out the sleath technology.

AMEN! on the F18. I wish we still had F15 production lines open. and a dang shame they de-activated the F14. Don’t bore me with too expensive to service… yeah right… compared to what?

In the world we live in today the F22 and F35 are nice as novelty x-planes but the cost is too much for where we are now. I agree that at this time rework the F15s and Super Hornets. All you get with the F22s and F35s are bragging rights that we can ill afford today.


Reworking the F-16’s, F-18’s, etc., would only be a very temporary stopgap. I do agree with upgrading our F-16 fleet with the new F-16I or N, but we still need to move ahead with replacing all F-15Cs with F-22s. No matter how good the F-22 is, there is an old saying that quantity has a quality of its own. The mass numbers that the Russians and Chinese will be able to produce would easily overwhelm the 187 Raptors we have now. We should also press forward with the upgraded Raptor and the B-1R, and also whatever they are working on secretly.
As far as the F-35, I think the Air Force should be looking harder at the B or C model. The Air Force should be insisting on all future fighters to have short field takeoff capability, currently all the enemy has to do is take out the runways and all the fighters are grounded.

The F22 is a heck of a bird, but it cost too much. Personally, I think it was over priced.

You dont have to rely on the unattributable “old saying”. Uncle Joe (Stalin) coined the concept except I believe that his phrasing was “Quantity is quality”, and 187 odd aircraft (less attrition) is not really a meaningful quantity in Stalin’s sense of the word, no more than 20 B-2s or 100 B-1s. When the B-2 crashed and burned on Guam, it reduced our stealth bomber capability by 1/20th or 5%, and crashes of high performance tactical fighters are by defninition more common that large “leisurely flown” bomber aircraft just in training.

The other thing to keep in mind, in air-to-air combat, the F-22 might be head and shoulders superior to its opposition, but if a flight of four F-22s is met by a squadron or two of MiG-21s, that superiority in one-on-one combat needs to be matched with superior top speed as the Raptors are obliged to expeditiously exit stage right! (think Sherman tanks vs a Tiger in WWII, where the Tiger was in just about every possible way the superior tank, one-on-one (except for mobility). Still, six or seven Shermans would spell doom for the Tiger.)

They only built two YF-23’s for the flyoff with the F-22. Therefore there never was/is a production line to re-start.

Only 187 planes? After they already spent billions to develop it? I hate the short sighted approach we take to national defense. Meanwhile our older planes are starting to wear out with very little to replace them.People then say “we still have the F-35″. Do we really? They,re thinking about cancelling it.

My comment was to the combination of Mike’s post and yours. 187 F-22s, less those lost in training accidents and such, is already too few.

This is NOT the first time that a US administration has sacked production on a military aircraft and then re-evaluated the decision. Let me remind you of the cancellation and later reinstatement of the B-1. A major part of the problem with the F-22 (assuming future production runs) will be the production tooling, much of which fits into the “long lead” category. Aside from the basic airfame tooling, there is the supply chain issue, which would be the case even if the USAF had not DIRECTED that the tooling be discarded.

Yes there will be some sincere regrets in the not too distant future, I think, particularly with the extremely shortsighted decision not to retain the tooling. . at least to the degree that the B-1B tooling was saved after that production run ended. (57% of all production tools, 87% of the dollar value of the production tool set, and all of the long lead tooling was stored away). That would have been so easy to do for the F-22, but would have left continued F-22 production as at least a viable alternative to the F-35.

I too am afraid that my old USAF might regret that transparently “PC”, but very myopic decision greatly before the dust settles.

Are you kidding. Greece…bankrupt, Italy.…bankrupt, Spain.…bankrupt, Portugal…bankrupt. As for France, could you sleep at night knowing that France is all that is keeping the Persians from attacking us. Mr RCDC: This is not the forum for you. Perhaps SESAME STREET would be more up you alley.

Someone just watched an episode on the Military Channel. At least he took good notes.

I think our best option is not to go look at Irans exerzises its their 200 mile zone lets stay out of provoked trouble we know we can defeat them why bother spending so much tax$$ to see them exerzise?lets wake up!!

My biggest fear would be; AF losing airborne weapon delivery or surveillance technology to another third world country.

The F-15 Production Line is still open.. final delivery’s set this April, and then Boeing will keep it stalled for one year in order to buy time for a new contract.

It would be sad to see the line close, just for the export dollars alone.

Lockheed Martin should replace the lost F-22s free of charge since they were lost due to design errors in the oxygen system.

Yes, you have a pretty good grip on current events. The spiritual behind it is there will always be Satan’s minions to bring death and misery to earth’s occupants. The USA has been a bastion of Christian heroism providng more help to the world in 200 years than all other nations in all of recorded history. Yet with Godlessness growing wealth is decreasing (I was surprised by the WND chart showing each major 20th/21st Century disaster in America following six months to two years after an American President urged Israel to give up territory or other major consession to the Palestians). The data is there but the naysayers will snipe your interpretation is invalid. Well hope they have there third coming excuses rehearsed.

Plus, the European propensity for socialist programs busted their bank faster than military spending! There is no doubt in my mind the the European Union’s problems will lead to disaster if they don’t do just what the US needs to do, and cut spending!

Perhaps; but the next rendition of modern aircraft better have an improved acquisition system by then! Maybe the new lessons will make things better, but it seems materials science just invents new better products with more technical problems.

Mike — Chris Chadwick from Boeing said the F-15 production line could continue manufacturing variants of its F-15 Eagle — a fighter first flown in 1972 — all the way until the 2020s, so hopefully the new and existing customers can have opportunity to buy the aircraft instead of the JSF, is that true?

Its mentioned on the PAS11: Boeing’s iron Eagle page from this website.

Definately it’ll be very sad to see the F-15 production line close down. To me I just hope the production line deserves to be kept going longer until in the 2020s because the F-15 is a wonderful and fantastic aeroplane ever built and has never been beaten in air-to-air combat by the adversaries in the Desert Storm in 1991, and Kosovo in 1999. Plus an F-15 engineer also said “Why not a new single seat F-15, based on the latest advancements in F-15E”?

Mike — Perhaps this great concept of the proposed single-seat F-15 can be emailed to Brad Jones Director, F-15 US Air Force Development Programs or Roger Besancenez Boeing Vice President, F-15 Program about the idea of developing a new proposed single-seat F-15 as an export variant for new and existing customers to purchase the fighter for predictable costs.

Lance — I thought about the same idea too about the F-22 can handle the PAK-FA and J-20 Might Dragon and the F-15 can handle the Su-27/30 family in air-to-air combat. Indeed drop the problem prone or the turkey F-35 and restart the F-22 production line.

Get rid of F35, keep and add F22s, add some f15 silent eagles, then some f18 super hornets that should keep any aggressor busy.

Give the F-35 a chance​.It might prove itself to be the best fighter the United States ever built!!!!!


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