Wednesday, May 12, 2010
CPAs and the F-22
"The debate over the F-22 Raptor has been carried out at the customary level of simplemindedness we've become used to with Congress handling military questions. Since the early 60s, the favored method of killing a military program has been to come up with an argument easily expressed in a sound bite and stick with it. This time, the sound bite was, 'Why do we need two fighter planes, anyway?' The answer is even simpler: we need two fighters because we need two fighters. The historical record clearly reveals this: every air campaign carried out with two distinct and particularly formulated fighter designs has been a success, and every attempt to do otherwise has resulted in disaster. US Air Force doctrine on fighter procurement is known as the high/low mix. The 'high' component consists of a dedicated air superiority fighter, utlizing the latest aeronautical technology, fitted with state-of-the-art electronics, and carrying the most advanced air-to-air weapons. These aircraft have one mission--to kill enemy airplanes. This is the paramount goal of a fighter force. Without it, nothing else can be accomplished. That being the case, the high-end fighter is the more expensive and complex part of the mix. They are rare assets, to be utlized accordingly. ... The swing-role fighter is cheaper and more easily and quickly constructed than its haughtier brother, so there tend to be larger numbers of them. The high-low mix was pioneered in WW II. ... Following the war, the high/low mix was carried on into the jet age. .... Together, the F-15 and F-16 stand as the most effective fighter team on record. ... To the battle cry of who needs two fighters anyway!' the US is dropping the high end of the equation--the F-22 Raptor--in the mistaken conviction that the low end--the F-35 Lightning II--can cover all the bases. ... Even as the F-22 debate winds down, Sukhoi, Russia's premier aircraft company, is preparing to produce its own fifth-generation fighter, the PAK-FA. ... The Russians and the Chinese, on the other hand, have a slaphappy habit of making more weapons than they actually need. Suppose, if things get hot, our 120 planes are facing 500, 1,000, or even more fifth-generation enemy fighters? ... American voters and politicians simply cannot grasp that actions taken today can have consequences years and decades down the line, and that, in a majority of cases, there will be no second chances", my emphasis, JR Dunn at American Thinker, 4 March 2010, link:
I agree with Dunn. What's most shocking is our SecDef's role in this. President Bush squandered real American assets in Iraq and Afghanistan, places of no strategic significance, as opposed to spending money to procure modern weapons and update our strategic forces. What stupidity. Analysis of military affairs is carried out at such a low level, even George Stephanapolous should be able to understand it. Or does he think it's not important enough to understand?