Author Topic: USAF Woes  (Read 103404 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

aesop081

  • Guest
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #50 on: July 14, 2009, 21:33:50 »
Ah yet another article flaunting the virtues of the F-35.

 ::)

The final true cost of each F-35s is not known...by anyone.

The in-service date of the F-35 for each service, IMHO, cant be stated for sure. There is still so much work to do and so many unanswered questions.

The Air national guard is in a major fix. It remains to be seen if it can wait for the F-35 to replace its fighters. It may need the F-22 if the F-35 cant be delivered in time to replace decrepit F-15, F-16 and A-10s.

My 2......

Offline 5parta

  • Guest
  • *
  • 190
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #51 on: July 14, 2009, 22:36:02 »
$100 million a piece with unproven record?!  ::) That's putting a lot of eggs in one basket  ;D

I don't see why the current fleet of fighters can't do a good job in situations encountered in the last 20 years. Plus, the UAVs are giving us that extra edge already. As we know, we are fighting a different type of war nowadays.
If we are talking about facing the emerging military giant(s): short of going nuclear >:D , our ability to win decisively would hinge on sheer numbers. As far as I know, one of the reasons the Allied gained the WW2 air superiority was due to its ability to keep replacing losses.

Just my  :2c:.....

aesop081

  • Guest
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #52 on: July 14, 2009, 23:00:15 »
I don't see why the current fleet of fighters can't do a good job in situations encountered in the last 20 years.

The current feet of fighters (F-15, 16 and legacy 18s) are are the very end of their life cycle. THAT is a major problem. This problem is even more pressing for the National Guard.

Plus, the UAVs are giving us that extra edge already. As we know, we are fighting a different type of war nowadays.

UAVs are not a replacement for fighters. Further, what type of war will we fight tomorow ? Yes we need to fight THIS war, but considering the number of years it takes to bring a fighter into service, we cant afford to be shortsighted.

Quote
As far as I know, one of the reasons the Allied gained the WW2 air superiority was due to its ability to keep replacing losses.

WW2 has come and gone. Israel managed significat aerial victories despite inferior numbers. We can toss examples back and forth arguing both stances.......

Online Journeyman

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 477,285
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 11,972
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #53 on: July 14, 2009, 23:40:21 »
Yet another update:
http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,190484,00.html

The Air Force also will assume oversight of the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program, now led by the Army, during Fiscal 2010 though the details are not yet sorted out. The service plans to buy eight of those C-27J aircraft, built by L-3 Communications/Alenia North America in Fiscal 2010.

You should have highlighted the whole paragraph, since the C-27J is a recurring Canadian issue.....well, for anyone following the Herc/Buffalo FWSAR saga anyway

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
US and foreign officials try to make case for F22
« Reply #54 on: July 15, 2009, 23:44:02 »
And a number of officials try to make the case for the F22:

http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,194558,00.html

Quote
Officials: The Case for More F-22s
Aviation Week's DTI | David A. Fulghum | July 10, 2009
This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.

A chorus of U.S., Japanese and Israeli officials believe that China, Russia and Iran present common problems that more F-22 Raptors could help solve.

Japan's F-15J force, once top of the line, is now "outclassed by the new generation of Chinese fighters" such as the Su-30MKK, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard Myers (ret.), tells Aviation Week.

Moreover, China's air defenses, which include variants of Russian-made, long-range SA-10s and SA-20 (S-300 family) missiles, can only be penetrated by the fast, high-flying, stealthy Raptor.

Japan's Defense Ministry has studied the problem closely and, at least internally, has produced "a very impressive tactical rationale" for buying the F-22 if its sale is approved by the U.S. Congress. Myers predicts that any resistance within the U.S. Air Force to selling Raptor technology to Japan, "an incredibly staunch ally," will be isolated and not critical.

Such considerations are pressing because tensions are growing over Japan's far-flung island empire, some of it mineral rich, that stretches to within 125-150 miles of China. That distance, interestingly enough, is the range of the Raptor's advanced radar, compared to 56 miles for the F-15. Japan feels it must be prepared to defend its area of responsibility from a new generation of regional threats – including China's increasingly sophisticated fighter force, which boasts the J-10 – that can carry its new, small-radar-signature, air-launched cruise missiles. Japan also needs a precision bombing capability if any of its islands are occupied.


While he won't pick a fight with the current management of the Pentagon over ending production of the F-22, Myers makes the point in public that only under the umbrella of air superiority that the Raptor provides can U.S. military endeavors succeed. He also contends that there is a fleeting window -- now -- in which to approve the sale of F-22s to foreign air forces, in particular Japan, which has expressed a willingness to pay twice the price ($290 million) charged to the U.S. Air Force ($142 million) for the stealthy aircraft.

In the same vein, Israeli Air Force officials contend that even a single squadron of F-22s, despite the cost and problems with maintaining a small fleet, is worth the cost in its deterrent value.

In the Middle East, the sale of S-300s and other advanced missiles to Iran and Syria has set off alarms in the U.S. Current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen was asked recently if the sale of SA-20s to Iran had come up in talks with Russia.


As part of the summit in Moscow, there "was a document that I signed with my counterpart, General Makarov, and it focuses on military-to-military cooperation," Mullen says. "One of the areas I discussed with him ... is that issue and recognizing that particular system is a game-changer. I focused on that. That's a huge concern because of the potential [the S-300] has."

Mullen also referred to Iran's development of a nuclear weapon and discussed what he meant by saying publicly that all options, including military options, for stopping the work are on the table.

"I wouldn't over-read the fact that I said, 'including military options,'" he says. "Where we're challenged here is the time frame [for Iran's development of a bomb of] one to three years. My concern is that the clock has continued to tick. I believe Iran is very focused on developing this capability and I think, should they get it, it will be very destabilizing.

"Another question is the whole strike option piece," Mullen says, which refers to preemptive bombing to disrupt Iran's nuclear weapons manufacturing chain. "I also think that would be very destabilizing and hugely significant."

Photo: Lockheed Martin
« Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 00:09:38 by CougarDaddy »
Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline MarkOttawa

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 56,380
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,664
  • Two birthdays
    • The 3Ds Blog
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2009, 08:45:38 »
SecDef fights back:

Gates Sharpens Rhetoric In Dispute on F-22 Funds
Secretary Pushes to Terminate Program

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/16/AR2009071603872.html

Quote
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made an impassioned case Thursday for terminating the F-22 program after production of 187 planes, as the Obama administration sought to blunt a bipartisan push to add money to the defense budget for the fighter jet.

"If we can't bring ourselves to make this tough but straightforward decision -- reflecting the judgment of two very different presidents, two different secretaries of defense, two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the current Air Force secretary and chief of staff -- where do we draw the line?" he said in a speech at the Economic Club of Chicago. "If we can't get this right, what on earth can we get right?"

In recent days, House and Senate lawmakers from both parties have defied the White House and put money back into the $680 billion defense spending bill to keep the F-22 production line open, prompting President Obama to threaten a veto. It is not clear whether F-22 backers have enough votes to keep the program going. "It looks pretty close," Gates told reporters.

For Gates, the Lockheed Martin F-22, which has been in development for almost three decades, has become a potent symbol of why the Pentagon needs to change the way it prepares for future wars. The high-tech aircraft was designed to counter Soviet jets in the waning days of the Cold War. Today, no U.S. adversaries have a plane in development that can match it or the F-35, which the Pentagon plans to deploy over the next decade.

China will not be able to field a similar plane until about 2025, when the United States will have more than 1,700 F-35s
[emphasis added], Gates said.

The defense secretary warned that any effort to add planes to the budget would rob dollars from more pressing weapons programs that are needed for the conflict in Afghanistan or for battles with future adversaries unlikely to challenge the United States in a major conventional war. He singled out the threat posed by extremist groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah, which "currently has more rockets and high-end munitions -- many quite sophisticated and accurate -- than all but a handful of countries."..

Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
US Senate heads toward vote on F22s
« Reply #56 on: July 21, 2009, 11:20:42 »
And the debate continues as the time for the vote draws near:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090721/ap_on_...efense_spending

Quote
Senate heads toward vote on F-22s
            Jim Abrams, Associated Press Writer – 32 mins ago
WASHINGTON – The Senate debated Tuesday whether to spend $1.75 billion on seven additional F-22 jets, a decision that pits the possible loss of thousands of defense jobs against Obama administration assertions that the Pentagon has enough of the fighters and the program should be terminated.

Lawmakers from states that would benefit from manufacturing the jets want the money pumped into the aerospace and defense industries. Defense Secretary Robert Gates counters that the money would be better spent on ensuring that the military has the tools it needs to fight the unconventional wars taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The chamber was expected to vote on the issue Tuesday.

Gates has been calling wavering senators to urge their support for cutting off spending for new F-22s. Vice President Joe Biden and other White House officials have also been calling lawmakers to press the issue and remind Congress that President Barack Obama has threatened what would be the first veto of his presidency if the money isn't removed.


"What I have not heard is substantive reason for adding more aircraft in terms of our strategic needs," Gates said Monday while reiterating his opposition to the purchase.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Tuesday that spending on the stealth fighter would "inhibit our ability to buy things we do need," including Gates' proposal to add 22,000 soldiers to the Army.

The $1.75 billion is currently part of a $680 billion defense spending policy bill.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and the top Republican on the panel, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, sponsored the amendment to take out the F-22 money.


"The Senate has heard from the senior leadership of the Defense Department both civilian and military that we should end F-22 production. The recommendation is strong and clear, as strong and clear as I have ever heard," Levin said.

But there's strong resistance, particularly from senators representing states where the plane and its parts are made.

According to Lockheed Martin Corp., the main contractor, 25,000 people are directly employed in building the plane, and another 70,000 have indirect links, particularly in Georgia, Texas and California. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., a supporter of the program, said there are 1,000 suppliers in 44 states.

Dodd, speaking on the Senate floor last week, questioned why Congress should approve $65 billion to prop up the automobile industry but can't spend $1.75 billion to support an important segment of the aerospace industry.

Supporters of the program also argued that it would undermine the nation's security to terminate the F-22 when China and Russia are both developing fighter jets that can compete with it.

The Senate took up the F-22 issue last week, but then put it aside to deal with two amendments having nothing to do with defense. On Thursday senators voted to adopt a major expansion to hate crimes law, and on Monday they turned to a proposal allowing people with concealed weapons permits in one state to carry their weapons into other states. A vote on the gun law was expected Wednesday.

The House last month approved its version of the defense bill with a $369 million down payment for 12 additional F-22 fighters. The House Appropriations Committee last week endorsed that spending in drawing up its Pentagon budget for next year. It also approved $534 million for an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, another program that Obama, backed by the Pentagon, says is unwarranted and would subject the entire bill to a veto.


The defense bill authorizes $550 billion for defense programs and $130 billion for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other anti-terrorist operations.

___

The defense bill is S. 1390.
Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline tomahawk6

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 87,745
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,639
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #57 on: July 21, 2009, 12:43:09 »
I expect the funding for the additional F-22's to be approved. Another way to keep the production line open is to sell the F-22 to allied nations.

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #58 on: July 21, 2009, 16:00:49 »
And the F22 crashes in the Senate!

Quote
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Tuesday voted to strip $1.75 billion on seven additional F-22 jets that President Obama said was unnecessary and would doom a $680 bill authorizing defense spending plans for the coming fiscal year.

The 58-40 vote prevents Obama from carrying out a threat to use the first veto of his presidency if senators had kept the designation in the defense bill.

<more>

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/21/senate-consider-stripping-controversial-f-money-defense/?test=latestnews
Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline tomahawk6

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 87,745
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,639
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #59 on: July 21, 2009, 19:12:17 »
Withn the trillions of dollars Dear Leader is spending 7 F-22's is a drop in the bucket and would have kept people working. Too bad.

Offline George Wallace

  • Army.ca Fossil
  • *****
  • 430,290
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 31,441
  • Crewman
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #60 on: July 21, 2009, 19:21:06 »
Quote
The Senate on Tuesday voted to strip $1.75 billion on seven additional F-22 jets that President Obama said was unnecessary and would doom a $680 bill authorizing defense spending plans for the coming fiscal year.

And what if President Obama nixes that $680 billion in Defense spending anyway?

He has been travelling the world, making appearances and speeches.  Very ideological and inspiring, but is he only hot air?  Does he have the strength to maintain a strong military, or will he doom it, along with the American economy with his socialist "Make the Rich Pay" philosophy?
DISCLAIMER: The opinions and arguments of George Wallace posted on this Site are solely those of George Wallace and not the opinion of Army.ca and are posted for information purposes only.
Unless so stated, they are reflective of my opinion -- and my opinion only, a right that I enjoy along with every other Canadian citizen.

Offline dapaterson

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 373,075
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,868
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2009, 20:11:09 »
Plan B will be to open a line for the F-22X for export markets - then everyone will be happy (except for the lost F35 export sales).

This posting made in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 2(b):
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/1.html

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #62 on: July 24, 2009, 14:35:00 »
Plan B will be to open a line for the F-22X for export markets - then everyone will be happy (except for the lost F35 export sales).

Seems this Senator is but one of a number of officials who agree with that above statement.

Quote
http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/...20/daily43.html


Sen. Cornyn: Let’s sell F-22s to allies
Dallas Business Journal
Wednesday, July 22, 2009, 5:32pm CDT  |  Modified: Wednesday, July 22, 2009, 7:06pm

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is not finished in his fight to save future production of Lockheed Martin’s F-22 fighter jet.

A day after the U.S. Senate voted to kill funding for additional aircraft passed the 2008 fiscal year, Cornyn released a statement saying if the U.S. government does not want the jets, then permission should be granted to sell the fighters to allies abroad.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pushed for lawmakers to end the program and spend the money on other initiatives that could play a key role in the U.S.'s current engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Despite the fact that peace is neither at hand nor on the horizon, the president, regrettably, seems intent on cashing in a ‘peace dividend’ over the next several years, by reducing our nation’s investment in the cutting-edge weapon systems needed to ensure our national security,” Cornyn wrote. “So it’s more important than ever that we properly equip strong, proven U.S. allies with the military equipment they need to defend themselves – especially key strategic regions. To take a step toward accomplishing this, I believe we should seriously consider the option of exporting F-22s to allies such as Japan, Australia and Israel, all three of which have expressed interest in buying F-22s in the past.”

Cornyn added that arming countries such as Israel with the jets will intimidate bordering nations like Iran that are aggressive toward American allies.
Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #63 on: July 30, 2009, 18:44:39 »
Another update:
http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,196404,00.html

Quote
US Air National Guard Struggles With Fighter Gap
Aviation Week's DTI | Amy Butler and David A. Fulghum | July 30, 2009This article first appeared in AviationWeek.com.

"All options are on the table" for U.S. Air Guard officials struggling to fill a gap in the number of fighters available for units in the near term to fly missions protecting the homeland, says Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, director of the Air National Guard (ANG).

"I am basically platform agnostic," Wyatt says. "I don't care."

This could include stealth aircraft -- more F-22s or earlier fielding of F-35s -- or the purchase of older, fourth-generation aircraft such as F-16s or F-15s. Technologies needed for the mission include an active, electronically scanned array radar (which can be used to detect small and stealthy air threats including cruise missiles), infrared search and track systems and beyond-line-of-sight communications, Wyatt told reporters during a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington this morning.

Congress appears amenable to the president's request to close Lockheed Martin's F-22 production line in fiscal 2010, capping the buy at 187 of the twin-engine fighter. Most observers expect the testing and delivery schedule for the single-engine F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to experience slips, possibly widening the gap for receipt of the new aircraft. F-35s aren't due to the Guard until the middle of the next decade, he says.

Many of the 250 fighters being retired early in FY ‘10 are F-16s assigned to the Guard, and many of them are apportioned to the air sovereignty alert (ASA) mission. Some of those units will lack a flying mission until the F-35 is introduced into the fleet.

The U.S. Air Force has historically professed a preference to buy only fifth-generation fighters (F-22 or F-35), closing the door to additional procurements of the Lockheed Martin F-16 and Boeing F-15.


While Wyatt says he's open to all options, he says "If you can get stealth [in the F-22 or F-35] at the same price, why not?" The general is not in favor of buying a particular aircraft and dedicating it to the ASA mission; he says the Guard should operate the same platforms as active duty units in order to handle the same missions as their active duty counterparts. Still, however, he says the Air Force is not "there yet" in terms of considering a buy of fourth-generation fighters to fill the gap.

Wyatt says he was incorrectly characterized as an advocate of additional F-22s after sending a June 19 letter in response to an inquiry on the issue from Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). F-22s are assembled in Marietta, Ga.

"While a variety of solutions abound, I believe the nature of the current and future asymmetric threat to our nation, particularly from seaborne cruise missiles, requires a fighter platform with the requisite speed and detection to address them," Wyatt wrote in his letter. "The F-22's unique capability in this arena enables it to handle a full spectrum of threats that the ANG's current legacy systems are not capable of addressing."

Recapitalization is a major issue for the Air Guard. About 80 percent of its F-16s are expected to reach the end of their service lives in the next eight years; the Guard manages 16 of 18 ASA sites in the United States.

A service-life extension program for 100-150 of the newest F-16s in the Guard is possible, and this option is made more attractive if combined with F-35 deliveries, Wyatt says. Air Force officials also are studying the option of a life-extension on some F-15s, he adds.

Wyatt argues that the Guard should receive its F-35s earlier than planned. And, he adds that his Guard units should receive both F-22s and F-35s proportionally to the active duty force. That would give the Guard 60-70 F-22s that it doesn't have. Now, Guard units share aircraft with some active duty squadrons. Only one squadron -- with the Hawaii Air National Guard -- will be equipped with 18 F-22s.

Meanwhile, Wyatt says roughly 30 percent of his forces are in the process of transitioning out of an old mission or into a new one. The Guard is operating eight of 35 USAF unmanned aircraft system combat air patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Credit: USAF
Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #64 on: August 10, 2009, 11:21:22 »
The ANG is now considering F18 Hornets?

Quote

Quote from: http://www.defensetech.org/archives/cat_fast_movers.html
NATIONAL GUARD HORNETS?

Congress Daily (subscription required) reports the following:

As the Air National Guard grapples with an impending fighter jet shortfall that will threaten its ability to protect U.S. airspace, its supporters in Congress and the Pentagon want the Air Force to consider all possible solutions -- even buying Navy F-18s to fill the gap.

Lawmakers and other National Guard boosters are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Defense Department and the Air Force, charging that officials have no workable plan to deal with the Guard's aging fleet.

They argue that 80 percent of the Air Guard's F-16s, which fly the majority of Air Sovereignty Alert missions, will retire years before their replacements are ready, depleting units of the aircraft they need to secure domestic airspace.

The workhorse F-15 fleet isn't in much better shape, having been grounded for three months after one broke apart in November 2007 during a training mission over eastern Missouri.

As a result, the Air Force, the service funded to supply airplanes to the Air National Guard, is being told by Congress to explore every option, including buying F/A-18s.


The article goes on to say:

Boeing said it hasn't had any discussions with the National Guard about the F-18s. But one defense official said it's an area the Air Force should review.

"I think the taxpayer demands we look at this because it's an efficient, highly capable aircraft that can sustain our force structure through this risky period," the official said.

The Air Force is focusing its budgets on the F-35, which eventually will make its way to the Air Guard. But leaders insist they are open to other solutions, if necessary.

Of course the Air Guard has shared type/model/series with the Navy before in the form of A-1s, A-7s, and F-4s.

(...)
« Last Edit: August 10, 2009, 11:29:18 by CougarDaddy »
Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline MarkOttawa

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 56,380
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,664
  • Two birthdays
    • The 3Ds Blog
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #65 on: August 12, 2009, 11:46:42 »
The shape of things to come, a la Gates (see this earlier topic:
USAF Converts Fighter Wing [to UAVs]
http://forums.milnet.ca/forums/index.php/topic,78834.0.html )

Air Force Training More Pilots for Drones Than for Manned Planes
By Walter Pincus
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081002712.html

Quote
The Air Force will train more pilots to fly unmanned aerial systems from ground operations centers this year than pilots to fly fighter or bomber aircraft, Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz, the commander of Air Education and Training Command, told an audience Friday.

Lorentz's remark illustrates the major transformation occurring within that service. In a Pentagon session last month, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Will Fraser told reporters that the unmanned systems are "delivering game-changing capabilities today, and ones that I'm confident will continue to be invaluable in the future."

At that July 23 briefing, Air Force officers spelled out the growth of what they call the "ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] transformation" of their service.

Today, the Air Force is flying both Predators and the more capable Reapers over Iraq and Afghanistan in 35 simultaneous orbits, each of which is a combat mission that keeps an aircraft aloft 24 hours a day. The target is to have 50 orbits by 2011.

A Predator was used over Pakistan last week in an attack that apparently killed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Right now there is basically one sensor in each Predator whose surveillance system provides 10 full motion video images simultaneously to forces on the ground, according to Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Air Force deputy chief of staff for ISR. Deptula also attended the July briefing. The newest version of the Reaper flies faster than the Predator, up to 250 miles per hour, carries more arms and will beam back to ground forces up to 30 video images. Troops on the ground, using new equipment called Rover (remote operations video enhanced receivers), literally see what the aircraft's sensor and the ground-based Reaper pilot -- thousands of miles away -- see. Rover also allows ground troops to send queries up to the aircraft.

Where Reaper with its four sensors can cover over six square miles, a more advanced version with six sensors, scheduled to be available in 2013, will be able to cover over 20 square miles. It also will beam back 65 separate video images to the ground.

What these aircraft bring "to the table is the ability to stay in position or maneuver over large areas for a long period of time, and that's where a person in an aircraft becomes a limitation," Deptula said. Without individuals in the aircraft "you can maintain your position for a long period of time with the opportunity to either watch or strike." Today one ground-based pilot flies one Predator, assisted by two analysts. By 2013 the Air Force expects technology to permit one pilot to fly three Reapers, and to fly four in a crisis.

Another advantage over manned aircraft is that there is always a fresh crew on the ground, "which enables any sort of persistence," said Col. Eric Mathewson, director of the Air Force UAS Task Force, at the July briefing. There are 1,000 Air Force personnel flying these unmanned operations today and none is in harm's way, according to charts at the briefing.

He added that an unmanned aircraft could be designed to stay airborne for five years, "and I can man it that entire five years with little fatigue." In fact, the Defense Advanced Projects Agency has a project called Vulture that is trying to do just that.

While there are five launch and recovery units in the Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan theater, the global operations center is at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., with five other centers in North Dakota, upstate New York, Arizona, Texas and California...

Will the unmanned aircraft ever completely replace either bombers or fighters? In delivering weapons on target, Deptula said, "Yes, you bet." But when it comes to controlling airspace, flying against enemy fighters, the general said, the technology cannot yet achieve 360-degree awareness. A human brain is still superior in the assimilation of information and responding to it [emphasis added].

"Someday we might be able to, but until then, we'll still have manned aircraft," the general said.
 

Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline MarkOttawa

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 56,380
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,664
  • Two birthdays
    • The 3Ds Blog
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #66 on: August 17, 2009, 15:44:34 »
Interesting twist in the capitalist plot:

The Untimely Demise of the F-22
A triumph for the military-industrial complex

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/821smlef.asp?pg=1

Quote
In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned "against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." Last month, John McCain invoked that warning as he fought alongside the Obama administration and Senate Democrats to strip a relatively paltry $1.75 billion in funding for the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor out of the defense authorization bill, delivering the death blow to a program that currently produces the world's only fifth-generation fighter.

Just 183 F-22s have been built, and after another 4 are completed this year, the production line will be shut down for good. A fleet of that size "puts execution of our current national military strategy at high risk in the near to mid-term," General John Corley, commander of Air Combat Command, told Senator Saxby Chambliss in a letter in June. A few weeks before that, Air Force chief of staff General Norton A. Schwartz appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and characterized the risk to national security from halting F-22 procurement at 187 as "moderate to high." And in April retired General Richard Hawley, a former commander of Air Combat Command, told a Senate committee that the administration's recommendation to kill the F-22 "rests on an assertion that we cannot afford to equip our airmen, on whom we rely to gain and maintain air superiority, with the best weapons that our defense industrial base has developed."

The Air Force had initially planned to purchase some 750 of the super-stealthy jet fighter, but that number steadily dwindled as
costs skyrocketed and delays mounted--a "death spiral" that now seems to afflict every Air Force procurement program but is most acutely felt in the development and production of jet fighters.

More than $60 billion has been spent on the research, development, and procurement of the F-22, putting the per unit cost of each aircraft at roughly $340 million. But the marginal cost of buying one additional aircraft has come down to (just!) $138 million [emphasis added], and the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated that a larger order of 70 additional aircraft could have brought that number down to $70 million a pop...

In May the Government Accountability Office estimated that U.S. investment in the F-35 would total "more than $300 billion to develop and procure 2,456 aircraft over the next 25 years." That works out to about $122 million and change for each aircraft [emphasis added]. Allied militaries are expected to buy at least 700 additional F-35s. The jet will come in at least five variants: a conventional fighter for the Air Force, a short takeoff, vertical-landing variant for the Marines, a carrier version for the Navy, and export versions of the Air Force and Marines variants. Not surprisingly, a program this complicated has already entered its own death spiral--the estimated cost of the program has risen 45 percent since 2001, and Congress has already responded by trimming the total procurement by more than 500 planes. This latest two-year delay could cost an additional $7.4 billion according to the Pentagon's report--assuming, of course, that there are no further delays or overruns.

But even if by some miracle the defense industry is able to deliver the F-35 on budget and on time from here on out, the F-35 will never be able to do what the F-22 does. The F-35 will be a more versatile plane, capable of operating from a wide variety of platforms and performing a more diverse set of missions--including a far more robust close-air support function. But it is not a pure air- to-air fighter like the F-‑22...

There are some questions opponents of the F-22 ought to be asking: Why do our richest allies (as well as our own air combat commanders) seem to prefer the F-22 to the F-35? Why is it that the Obama administration, the defense industry, and Congress have all lined up against the F-22--a plane with known costs and capabilities--in favor of a plane that may cost more and offer less? Why isn't Lockheed pushing to repeal the export ban on the F-22? For that matter, why did Lockheed stop lobbying the Hill for continued production of the F-22 once the Gates budget came out? And why did Lockheed request that Boeing--the junior partner on the F-22, responsible for about a third of the aircraft's production--cease its own lobbying campaign on behalf of the aircraft?

There is one obvious explanation for all of this: The military-industrial complex stands to make a lot more money off the F-35 than it could from the F-22. And Boeing is not a Lockheed Martin partner on the F-35. So once the F-22 production line closes, Boeing will be out of the fighter business entirely, leaving Lockheed the U.S. government's only supplier of fighter aircraft.

The irony of the political fight over the F-22 is that the president's supporters, in their eagerness to strike a blow against the military-industrial complex, unwittingly ended up doing a defense industry giant's dirty work for it. When the F-22 production line dies, the last major obstacle to the F-35 will die with it. There will be no choice but to build the F-35--whatever the cost or the aircraft's limitations.

The Obama administration is cutting procurement programs that it deems unnecessary and irrelevant given the current threat environment, but it was investment in technologies like the F-22 that deterred America's competitors from trying to challenge American air superiority in the first place. It's been 57 years since an American soldier on the ground was killed by enemy airpower. Whether sought or unsought, the unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex has put that legacy at risk.

Michael Goldfarb is online editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Online Chris Pook

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 186,170
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 11,879
  • Wha daur say Mass in ma lug!
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #67 on: August 17, 2009, 20:13:29 »
So "the unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex"  "has put that the legacy" of " 57 years since an American soldier on the ground was killed by enemy airpower.....at risk."

Industry competes for advantage.   Boeing did its fair share of turning the screws on the tanker project. File under "the sun rises and sets", "the heliosphere shrinks and expands", "ice ages come and go" or "dogs bite".

Here's the catch line: "The Obama administration is cutting procurement programs."

Punkt.  Period.  Transmission ends.


"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline MarkOttawa

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 56,380
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,664
  • Two birthdays
    • The 3Ds Blog
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #68 on: September 17, 2009, 15:54:27 »
A bit of light (usual copyright disclaimer):

Air Force gets back tanker contract, Gates's confidence
The defense secretary, in allowing the service to procure its own plane, signals trust that his reforms are taking hold.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0917/p02s05-usmi.html

Quote
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday showed he has made headway in his effort to make reforms at the Pentagon when he restored to the Air Force authority to procure its own plane, after stripping it of that power a year ago.

His action will allow the Air Force, which has experienced several black eyes under Mr. Gates's tenure, to once again take charge of finding a contractor to replace its 50-year-old fleet of aerial refuelers, or tankers.

It's a decision that is more than a bureaucratic adjustment, pointing to a broader shift at the Pentagon, where the defense secretary has sought to trim excess, cut ineffective programs, and tighten budget screws. In giving back to the Air Force its authority to conduct the competition to buy its plane, Gates is signaling that he is coming to trust the Defense Department he is helping to reshape.

Among his reforms so far is a budget plan that cuts many spending programs – including many prominent Air Force ones. He has also made accountability a priority, firing senior officials and military leaders to put his own people in key spots. Some critics suggest he is too hard on the Air Force, in part because he has few Air Force aides and therefore doesn't fully understand its culture.

Others see a service that needed reining in. A year ago, Gates's frustration with the Air Force boiled over, and he snatched away its oversight of the tanker program in a vote of no confidence in the service and its leadership. A government watchdog agency had concluded that the bidding process – in which the multibillion-dollar contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman and its France-based partner EADS over US-based Boeing Co. – was flawed.

That ended a seven-year bid to replace the tanker plane that had been marred by fits and starts, sweetheart deals for defense contractors, nepotism, and, ultimately, jail time for at least one top Air Force official.

Since then, Gates has replaced the Air Force's top uniformed officer and top civilian leader and has begun to inculcate in the service a culture seen by some experts as having more common sense. His announcement that the Air Force would again oversee the competition for the plane, known as the KC-X, indicates that Gates sees his reform efforts as bearing fruit...

The Air Force will in coming weeks release its specifications [emphasis added] for the kind of plane it wants. Contractors, in turn, will submit bids to build it. Military officials hope it will be in the air in the next few years...


Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #69 on: June 24, 2010, 16:20:55 »
Defense News link

Quote
Air Force should not relegate F-15 Eagles to boneyard
By Robert F. Dorr - Special to Air Force Times
The F-15 Eagle could be the only air-to-air fighter in history that has never been beaten in battle.

The score is 104-0, according to the Eagle’s manufacturer. The 104 is the number of enemy planes downed by F-15s, and the zero is the number of F-15s lost in air-to-air combat. The total includes aerial victories by American, Israeli and Saudi pilots.

More than 100 Eagles — 112 — are headed to the boneyard, nearly half of 259 perfectly good aircraft that Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to retire from service. The rest of the 500-plus planes in the fleet will be upgraded, but those being retired will not be replaced.

Besides sidelining F-15s, the Air Force is consolidating Eagle training at one location — Kingsley Field in Oregon. The 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., graduated its final five student pilots in May and is saying goodbye to its 48 Eagles. All should be in the boneyard by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

While there’s no doubt that the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing will do a fine job with the F-15 training, it’s sad to see the mission leave Tyndall. In 22 years, the 325th taught 3,900 pilots well.

An instructor at Tyndall likened the F-15 drawdown to “retiring the undefeated New England Patriots.”

Once, there appeared to be a reason for putting the F-15 out to pasture: An Air National Guard pilot had to eject from an Eagle during a routine training mission Nov. 2, 2007, when it broke apart over Missouri. Parts of the plane struck Maj. Stephen Stilwell, hurting him seriously enough that he can no longer fly for the Guard or his private employer, Southwest Airlines. Stilwell brought a personal injury lawsuit against Boeing and declined to be interviewed.

Stilwell’s bailout prompted initial fears of a fleetwide structural problem caused by aging of the F-15, fears that experts now deem unfounded.

Today, F-15s showing the least structural wear and tear are having their lives extended from 8,000 to 16,000 flying hours by upgrades. Despite being 25 years old, many Eagles have just 4,000 or 5,000 hours, not exorbitant flight time for a jet fighter.

Because of the Air Force’s puny F-22 Raptor buy (187 aircraft), the Eagle remains its primary air-to-air fighter. And the F-15 probably keep the honor even when the F-35 Lightning II finally makes it into the air, some airmen theorize. “The F-35 pilots need to accomplish many tasks, and we need a single-mission airplane for the air-to-air role,” as one Eagle pilot put it.

There are lawmakers who want to halt the retirement of the Eagles and are going to debate Gates’ decision come fall. Until Congress has its say, though, the Air Force should halt the “iron flow,” as airmen call it.

Retiring F-15s now is certainly premature because of the resistance on Capitol Hill
, and it will ultimately prove unwise because it weakens the nation’s defenses.

———

Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #70 on: June 27, 2010, 23:07:49 »
Defencetech.org article link

Quote
B-1B Lancer Fleet To the Boneyard?

Back to the Title 10 side of the house for a moment; the Air Force Council meets today to consider further cuts in aircraft to meet aggressive savings targets laid out by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. One option on the table: early retirement of all 66 B-1B Lancer bombers (the last delivery of which came back in 1988).

Force structure cuts might also extend to the air arm’s much cherished but currently under-utilized fighter force. The service already plans to early retire 250 fighters this year, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said last month; gone are 112 F-15s, 134 F-162, and 3 A-10s.

Some of the fighter wings, mainly A-10, are being chopped altogether, while others are transitioning from legacy F-15s to upgraded F-15s or to the fifth-generation F-22 and other wings are prepping to receive the F-35 at some uncertain future date
.

“By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22 (Raptors) into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 (Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter),” Donley said.

While short-range tactical fighters (and potentially bombers) are being cut, the Air Force is adding more MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones and more analysts to scrutinize the massive amounts of imagery they generate...
   
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 00:38:08 by CougarDaddy »
Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline MarkOttawa

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 56,380
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,664
  • Two birthdays
    • The 3Ds Blog
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #71 on: June 30, 2010, 08:30:13 »
Lancing bombers to the Bone?

Bombers Away? The B-1 Could Be Near Its Demise
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2000020,00.html

Quote
Nixon launched it, Carter killed it and Reagan resurrected it. In its infancy, the Air Force's B-1 bomber was a quick and dirty military metaphor — Republicans wanted to buy weapons to defend the nation from the Soviet Union, and Democrats didn't. Now it could become a different kind of symbol: the Air Force is thinking of retiring its total 66-plane B-1 fleet to hit budget targets set by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Top Air Force officials met behind closed doors late last week to determine if permanently grounding the B-1 fleet makes sense.

No decision has yet been announced, and there's always a chance the service is bluffing. After all, news of the B-1 early retirement first cropped up in a blog maintained by Air Force magazine, an independent publication whose interests still tend to be pretty much in sync with those of the Air Force itself. (See the 50 best inventions of 2009.)

But the fact that the topic is even up for discussion is significant for three reasons. First of all, the idea that the B-1's future is in doubt highlights just how tight Air Force leaders believe military budgets are going to get. "The gusher [of post 9/11 defense spending] has been turned off," Gates warned last month, "and will stay off for a good period of time." Secondly, the Air Force seems to be trying to take the initiative in resetting budget priorities, instead of having them imposed from above by Gates or the White House. Finally, the notion that the B-1's fate is in play suggests just how quickly air warfare is changing.

The history of the B-1 Lancer (pilots prefer to call it the "Bone," supposedly stemming from a long-ago typo that left the hyphen out of "B-One") since it went operational in 1986 captures air warfare in a nutshell...

Mark
Ottawa



Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline MarkOttawa

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 56,380
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,664
  • Two birthdays
    • The 3Ds Blog
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #72 on: September 25, 2010, 12:57:48 »
How bad might it get?  Excerpts from lengthy piece, note F-35:

Up in the Air
By Richard B. Andres
http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=861

Quote
In a September 2007 Capitol Hill speech, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne warned that “the Air Force is going out of business . . . . [A]t some time in the future, [aircraft] will simply rust out, age out, fall out of the sky.” Coming from the usually understated political appointee, Wynne’s dire assessment amounted to a red cape waved before the Defense Department’s civilian leadership and supporting bureaucracy. Tension mounted as Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Michael Moseley continued to speak out on this topic, and a few months later, ostensibly for unrelated reasons, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates fired both Wynne and Moseley—the first simultaneous firing of a service secretary and chief of staff in history. Officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense subsequently asked Air Force leaders not to speak publicly about the state of their service. After several outspoken Air Force generals failed to heed the warning and were asked to retire, the problem disappeared from the public sphere.

The problem itself, however, remains. The average age of the refueler and bomber fleet, which forms the foundation of U.S. air power-projection capability, now exceeds fifty years. Most of the Air Force’s fighters were built in the 1970s. Virtually all Air Force aircraft are decades past their planned retirement dates. Technology designed to overcome Vietnam War-era surface-to-air missiles and fighters is becoming obsolete in the face of emerging air-defense capabilities. Air Force bases built half a century ago are poorly placed to meet emerging deterrence missions. Today, a large portion of the Air Force exists only on paper, its aircraft too old to fly in combat but requiring enormous sums to maintain. If current procurement practices continue, the readiness and effectiveness of U.S. airpower will steadily worsen over time, with serious consequences for U.S. national security.

The Air Force’s tailspin began well before Wynne’s remarks in 2007. It began in the early 1990s, when, as the Cold War drew to a close, Congress sought to wring a peace dividend out of the military budget at the same time that a series of Presidents began to call upon the Air Force far more often than programmers had anticipated. Between 1989 and 2003, the United States went to war five times, and throughout most of this period the Air Force also maintained intense operations in no-fly zones over southern and northern Iraq. With limited budgets, the Air Force ate up its seed corn. It spent its recapitalization budget on current operations, expecting to end this practice when the wars ended. But the wars did not end...

Big-ticket procurement decisions generally play out over a course of two to four decades. If the United States continues on its current trajectory, within that period U.S. conventional deterrence will lose much of its value abroad. The United States will not necessarily become incapable of defending its friends, but the costs and risks of doing so will grow much higher. As this occurs, U.S. deterrent threats meant to protect Taiwan, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Georgia, Israel, South Korea, Australia and Japan [what? no Canada? ;)] will become increasingly unbelievable...

Since the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan began, the Air Force has mainly used jet aircraft to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), and airstrikes to support U.S. ground forces. This method has been tactically effective: The vast majority of enemy forces killed in Afghanistan, for example, have been silenced by Navy and Air Force bombs called in by ground forces. Unfortunately, the costs in fuel and maintenance for these actions have been prohibitively high, and even tactical success has not translated into strategic success. For the past few years, the Air Force sought a large fleet of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) that are both better suited to this role and substantially less expensive to operate. This shift of emphasis is wise and should form the basis of the Air Force’s approach to supporting counterinsurgency operations against opponents that do not possess air defenses [what about Canada? we really don't seem that interested in armed UAVs for such missions, which might also include UN peacekeeping]...

The United States sorely needs those savings. The service plans to continue to rely on legacy Cold War F-15 Eagles and F-16 Falcons supplemented by a small number of fifth-generation F-22 Raptors and, potentially, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, but this strategy is fiscally unsustainable. Most Eagles and Falcons are already decades past their planned retirement dates, have low mission-capable rates and are expensive to maintain. Even worse, emerging land- and air-based defenses are likely to render them incapable of participating in conventional conflict. Joint Strike Fighters are more capable on the modern battlefield, but they rely too heavily on stealth at the expense of avionics. The United States plans to build F-35s over the next three decades. Given the rate at which radars and computers in the hands of potential adversaries are improving, those F-35s might not remain effective deterrents for much more than ten or twenty years [emphasis added].

In light of these limitations, the Air Force needs to reopen the F-22 line and fund research into new, possibly hypersonic and unmanned fighters with upgradable engines and computer development paths that can absorb changes in information technology. Today, the F-35 is approaching the unit cost of the F-22 [emphasis added]; the F-22 is coming off the production line with “zero defects”, something that is unlikely to be the case for the F-35 for many years to come. More importantly, the F-22’s avionics makes it many times more capable than the F-35, even at the F-35’s core missions. In the evolutionary contest between expeditionary airpower and regional air defenses, this capability will almost certainly allow it to remain an effective deterrent for decades longer than the F-35. Beyond the F-22, funding research on a new 6th-generation fighter is a hedge against an unknown future. The Air Force should pay the bill for these new fighters by standing down legacy fighters as new platforms come online...


Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 183,430
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 13,249
  • Freespeecher
Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #73 on: September 25, 2010, 17:03:38 »
While high performance jet fighters are very sexy and attract most of the attention of Air Force pers and defense planers (and small boys!) alike, we may be nearing the end of the era of high performance manned aircraft. Consider that it is possible in theory to build aircraft with performance far higher than any human could take advantage of (pilots would not be able to deal with the G forces), and weapons with performance higher still (no possible aircraft would be able to evade the effects unless screened by heavy EW or ducking behind a mountain range), and you see the F-35 will have a very short service life.

What will replace these aircraft?

Aircraft are really high performance artillery pieces, so more UAV's being used as "bomb trucks" is an easy prediction. Controlling them via satellite link might be problematic against an advanced enemy or anyone with access to sophisticated EW or ASAT resources. My prediction in the short term is UAV's will be controlled by some sort of airborn command post (resembling an AWACS). As the skys become more dangerous, the command aircraft will have to become more survivable. think of a two seat "Super Hornet" with the back seat operator running the UAV's and the front seater responsible for defending the airplane.

Beyond that, large transport airframes will become the fighting aircraft of the future. A 747 sized transport can carry the equipment and power supply needed to run a owerful laser or railgun, which gives the aircraft the ability to prosecute targets on the ground, in the air and into Low Earth Orbit. Separate UAV's flying ahead to scout for targets (and provide relay mirrors for airborn laser weapons) will also be part of the mix. In theory, such an aircraft flying in a racetrack over the Indian Ocean would be able to provide fire support to troops in Afghanistan or Somalia, further changing the nature of air support. Remote power supplies to aircraft (beaming power to the airframe) and weapons which can deliver firepower across continental ranges at hypersonic speed (like repurposed ICBM's) are other possibilities.

What is needed for the USAF (and our own Air Force) is to come to grips with these and other potential changes and start plans and programs to develop and field these aircraft now so the various fleets don't rust out and the rest of us who depend on air power get left without out umbrella.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline S.M.A.

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 132,340
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 6,515
All F22s grounded after problems with planes' oxygen supply
« Reply #74 on: June 25, 2011, 11:37:38 »
Quote

U.S. grounds fleet of F-22 fighter jets, indefinitely

Agence France-Presse
Posted at 06/25/2011 10:30 PM | Updated as of 06/25/2011 10:45 PM

WASHINGTON, USA - The U.S. Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of F-22 fighters, the most sophisticated combat aircraft in the world, after problems emerged with the plane's oxygen supply, officials said Friday.
The radar-evading F-22 Raptors have been barred from flying since May 3 and Air Force officials could not say when the planes would return to the air.

"The safety of our airmen is paramount and we will take the necessary time to ensure we perform a thorough investigation," spokeswoman Captain Jennifer Ferrau told AFP.

The Air Force was probing possible breakdowns in the oxygen supply system for the plane after several pilots reported problems, according to the journal Flight Global.

In one case, an F-22 scraped tree tops before landing and the pilot could not remember the incident, indicating a possible symptom of hypoxia from a lack of air, the magazine reported.

Ferrau said it was too soon to say for certain that the technical problem was related to an onboard oxygen generating system, known as OBOGS.

"We are still working to identify the exact nature of the problem. It is premature to definitively link the current issues to the OBOGS system," she said.

Since January, F-22 pilots have been barred from flying above 25,000 feet (7,600 meters), following the crash of a Raptor jet in Alaska during a training flight.

Grounding an entire fleet of aircraft is a rare step, officials said.

In November 2007, the Air Force grounded all F-15 fighters after one of the planes broke apart in flight and crashed.

The planes were not allowed back in the air until March 2008, said Major Chad Steffey.

The Air Force has more than 160 F-22 Raptors in its fleet and plans to build a total of 187.

The planes have not been used in the NATO-led air campaign in Libya or the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill