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Sequestration is for Sissies: $6.9 Billion More for the F-22

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Air Force photo / Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso

An F-22 Raptor flies over Alaska Jan. 5.

Pentagon officials took to PBS and the Pentagon press room to warn Wednesday about the impending sequester’s impact on military spending.

“We’re really trying to keep on protecting the country and delivering the defense under these circumstances,” Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on the PBS NewsHour Wednesday evening. “In some cases, that’s not going to be possible.” On March 1, assuming no White-House-congressional deal on a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction package over the coming decade, more than $500 billion in Pentagon cuts will kick in automatically, including a $46 billion cut between March 1 and October 1.

“Two-thirds of the Army active combat brigade teams, other than those that are currently deployed, would be at below acceptable levels of readiness,” Pentagon money chief Robert Hale said. “It could affect their ability to deploy to a new contingency, if one occurred, or if this goes on long enough, even to Afghanistan.”

Yet slightly more than an hour before Carter appeared on television, the Air Force slipped Lockheed Martin a little something extra to keep their fleet of F-22s flying:

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (FA8611-13-D-2850) with a ceiling of $6,900,000,000 for F-22 modernization…This award is a result of a sole source acquisition.

One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The F-22 program has become a parody of itself, and of all that is wrong and warped in the military-industrial complex.

Let’s review the bidding:

– The 188-plane program cost $67 billion, or more than $350 million per plane.

– Just over two years ago, the Air Force awarded Lockheed a similar $7.4 billion contract “for the development of system upgrades to existing requirements, incorporate new requirements, add capability and enhance performance in the F-22 Weapon System.”

– That’s apparently a total of $14.3 billion added to the initial cost of $67 billion — a 21% hike.

– The F-22 became operational in 2005.

– It has yet to fly a single combat mission, even as the nation has waged wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya since the F-22 was ready for combat.

– We won’t even mention the woes plaguing the F-22’s oxygen system that compelled some pilots to stop flying the aircraft, and may have killed one of them.

This isn’t management. It’s malfeasance.

“We ought to constantly be asking ourselves, what kind of defense do we need? How much should we spend? Are we using our defense dollars wisely?” Carter said on PBS. “And the answer is, not in all cases…we, obviously, want to keep the costs of weapons systems down.”

Obviously?

6 comments
1quickkeeper
1quickkeeper

I don't get it.. Is the author of this article suggesting that we deploy the most advanced fighter in the world to establish air dominance over Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? Because that makes a lot of sense. Just because we haven't needed its niche capability, does not, for one second, justify we should not invest in it and not appreciate what just having the F-22 provides us and our allies. The idea is to not have to fight high end wars. I cannot think of a better way to avoid a conflict with a peer nation than to possess state of the art, ultra advanced capabilities that are superior to the potential threat. All of the costs associated with the upgrades would be much better put into perspective if the author cared to also describe the constant reductions made to the program over the years, dragging out costs and losing any benefits of economies of scale. R&D is a sunk cost. Do you consider it when you buy a car? Your Honda Civic is $20,000 because they build a lot of them, not 1. The original plan was for over 700 Raptors, not 188. You don't think capabilities were held off of the F-22 just so they could continue to justify any strengths of and reasons to but the F-35?? Mark Thompson is a Tool!

MustangSally92
MustangSally92

This guy is a real jerk.  Guess he forgot that we have deployed aircraft in Guam and the middle east in the last two years. 

jamesed68574943
jamesed68574943


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Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

Danger Room:
For the first time, America’s top-of-the-line F-22 fighters and Britain’s own cutting-edge Typhoon jets have come together for intensive, long-term training in high-tech warfare.

If only the planes could talk to each other on equal terms. The F-22 pilot has to talk to allied pilots over unsecured radio.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/incompatible-comms-stealth/

DerekSage
DerekSage

You think that this is bad, just wait until you see what they do with the F35 and close to 2000 aircraft.

The F35 is years away from being able to perform combat because it currently can't shoot anything , and it doesn't have mission capable radar.  

The best thing they could do is stop production until they have a mission capable aircraft because every aircraft made today is essentially a demo model and will be obsolete if they ever quit engineering this.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon like.author.displayName 1 Like

Why hasn't the F-22 been used in combat?

1. The US has been picking only on third-world countries. (The Global War does have its limits, after all.)

2. Even against real players, the stealth F-22 is vulnerable. It may be faint to radar at great distance, but within visual distance it's large and it's hot. --from StrategyPage:
Despite being the U.S. Air Force’s premier fighter, the F-22 is only now being equipped to carry the AIM-9X latest version of the [sidewinder] heat seeking air-to-air missile that has been in service for over a decade. This process is not expected to be complete until 2017. This may be speeded up because potential enemy fighters seem increasingly capable to confronting the F-22 at closer ranges, where the F-22 is visible to the naked eye (negating its stealth technology) and heat seeking missiles can be used. This was not expected to happen so soon. The F-22 was designed to excel at BVR (Beyond Visual Range) encounters where longer range AMRAAM missiles could take out enemy fighters up to 70 kilometers away.

But closer than 30 kilometers F-22s can be hit by Russian and Chinese heat seeking missiles. The best defense at that range is your own heat seekers. But to get the most out of the AIM-9X you need the special helmet (JHMCS) that allows the pilot to “look and shoot”. The air force is just now debating about when, or if, to add the JHMCS to the F-22, along with the AIM-9X.
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htairw/articles/20130220.aspx

Disclaimer -- I'm a ground guy, so fire away if necessary.


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