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?


Anonymous said...

Defending the nation is the first task of the leadership...

Like most topics Pres-O seems wholly unqualified to grasp the essentials.

The empire declines...

Independent Accountant said...

Much discussion of military affairs is at the "Stephanopolous" level. Recently I saw Georgie Boy (GB) on television lauding Obama's nuclear arms reduction talks with the Russians. GB said something to the effect, "we have nothing to worry about. We can still blow the world many times over". What did GB mean? Does Ivy Leaguer GB know what he is talking about?
I will quantify what I think GB "thinks". Suppose we had a Tsar Bomba, the H-bomb the Russians emploded in 1961, with a yield variously reported as: 50, 53 or 57 megatons. Can we "blow the world"? 50 megatons is equivalent to 100 billion pounds of TNT (2,000 X 50,000,000). With 6.8 billion people in the world that's 14.7 pounds of TNT for each person on earth! Wow! Tsar Bomba can "blow the world" many times over! If you believe that, I've got a bridge over the East River to sell you. That said, many people believe such nonsense. Suppose Tsar Bomba exploded in New York. Would Los Angeles be damaged? Or Chicago? Or Washington, DC? I doubt it.
There are reasons nuclear warheads are usually in the 200-600 kiloton range. That size is useful and they can be made small enough to be deliverable.