F-22 Stealth Raptor
We, the United States of America hold a slim advantage against Russia and China due to our technological warfare/upgrades. We actively deploy the F-22 Raptor which is America’s first pure stealth fighter with dog-fighting capabilities. It actually has a .30 caliber machine gun on it. The B2 stealth aircraft is a bomber and the FA-117 is an attack/air to ground system. If you’ve seen it, it reminds you of a top hat and very little maneuverability. Where the F-22 can stop and do a ballet move in mid-air.
There is no argument that the F-15 Eagle was the best fighter plane ever conceived. At the time. The same can be said for the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang. But as technological advancements evolve, so must our investment in protecting the homeland. We do not want to be using bows and arrows, when our foes have six shooters, Rifles and Bullets.
The 4th generation fighters, or defensive aircraft that were non-stealth were commissioned in the early 1970s. The F-14 Tomcat was commissioned for the Navy in 1974 and decommissioned in 2006. It would be replaced by the FA-18 Hornet which was a less expensive multirole Naval aircraft designed for aircraft carriers and was commissioned by the Navy in 1983.
The F-15 Eagle with it’s impressive score card of “0” (Zero) combat defeats was introduced into service in 1976. In its’ almost 40 years of service, the fleet of F-15s were being phased out by the introduction of the multirole land based F-16. The F-16 was introduced in 1978 as a replacement for the F-15 because it was 10 million cheaper than the Eagle. But the Falcon was never as good as the F-15 and it was not stealth.
All of the above were dominant “Air Superiority” aircraft until “Stealth technology” evolved. Now these magnificent fighters have been demoted to the status of “dinosaur”. They are large visible targets in an age where surface to air (SAM) missiles have been perfected, and now China and Russia have their own versions of a Stealth fighter. The F-15 which is “Undefeated” would be shot out of the air and not know what hit it.
The age of Stealth Technology or “Invisible to radar” became a game changer. The F-22, in simulated drills was going up against the F-15 outnumbered by great odds. (Such as 2 stealth Raptors vs. 24 F-15s) and the flew home safely. This proved one point, the era of the radar visible aircraft was over. The Stealth F-22 radar signature is hard to tell from that of a sea gull.
In the late 1990s, the department of defense realized this and put together the JSF Project of “Joint Strike Force” project. The main reason they had Boeing and Lockheed compete for the largest aircraft contract in history was because, Stealth was a game changer, and the F-22 came at a price of $200,000,000 a bird. That’s right, I said two hundred million per F-22.
After 2 years of competition, Lockheed-Martin won the contract with the F-35 Stealth Lightening II. The estimated cost of the F-35 is 153 Million per bird. (Versus 200 million per F-22 Raptor) The F-35 can actually do things the F-22 cannot do. The F-35 Lands on aircraft carriers, it hovers like a helicopter, and it breaks the sound barrier with ease. But the F-22 is still the best best aircraft ever made 2nd only to Northrop’s YF-23 which was found to be superior to the F-22, but came in at a price of 400 Million per bird.
So just as the DOD had the F-16 and F-18 ready to replace the F-15s and F14s, the F-35 was built as a “cost-effective” alternative to the F-22 Raptor. Yet the F-35 is not a replacement for the F-22 but rather an addition to the F-22. The F-35 will be the work horse while the F-22s are the feared nightmare of our enemy. Unfortunately, we NEED Air Superiority to control “Space” superiority. When the Chinese, Russians, North Koreans or Iranians start shooting down our satellites, we’ll be back to Gen 3 Jet fighters. We need to keep developing a defensive platform that will protect our GPS Satellites. Without those, are Gen 5 aircraft are hundred million dollar paperweights.
TECHNOLOGICAL GOOD TIMES ONLY LAST SO LONG
As you can tell; The F-14, F-15, F16 and F-18s are already resting in peace in what are called “Boneyards”. Or Junkyards. These fighters are reaching 40 years old. I pity the Pilot that has to go up against a Chinese Chengduj-20 stealth fighter. This is when the large UAV or Unmanned Aerial vehicle or “Drone” comes into the picture. The whole theater of air superiority will change once everyone is flying a “radar invisible aircraft”.
WE ARE NO LONGER ALONE
China, under the Clinton administration, hacked into DOD files and was able to download our F-35 plans. when they unrolled their version of the Stealth fighter (The Chengduj-20) there was a lot of finger pointing going on in the Clinton White House. The Chinese also hacked our nuclear submarine plans. So American pilots will no longer be able to shoot down Chinese aircraft from 90 miles away.
The Russians also have their version of the Stealth fighter. As you can see, the T-50 on the Right looks like a Raptor knock off. The Sukhoi 47 on the left is a revolutionary stealth fighter as it has “swept forward” wings. (Making it a little faster and giving it a slight edge in maneuverability.
OBAMA WANTS TO CUT OUR TROOPS TOO?
Didn’t Obama say we don’t fight with Bayonets anymore?