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Raptors grounded once again


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Lost in translation! I thought he meant Golden Eagles. :doh:

Well, I could have been clearer in retrospect - I like the term "Albino Eagle" to differentiate the fighter models from their Strike Eagle offspring.

Furthermore, my comment was that the incapability of the current USAF fighter Eagles to carry air-to-ground weapons was a political / financial choice, not an inherent lack of capability in the airframe itself.

Hope that clears things up a bit...

Cheers,

Andre

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Why did they retire the F-117 before the F-35 enters service? The F-22 is basically designed for air superiority.

It can still carry two bombs, which is exactly what the F-117 could carry, but the F-22 offers much higher performance. In my little village, New Mexico, the F-117s were directly replaced by F-22s at Holloman AFB a few years ago. They are pretty sweet too.

My point was that why didn't they wait until the F-35 enters service before retiring the F-117? The reason I heard often was that the F-117 was "too expensive to maintain and to keep flying".

When you add the number of F-117 and F-22 together, it is 222 planes TOTAL. Definitely NOT too many stealth attack aircrafts for the USAF. (Unless they cannot afford all of the them.)

No, I don't believe that it is a decision made by the civilian leaders arbitrarily. I believe that the decision to keep flying the F-15E and equip them with AESA radar at a significant cost was done after extensive cost effectiveness evaluation by the USAF. No one seems to want to give the USAF credit when it comes to their pet airplane.

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The F-14 could be called a fighter-interceptor, but there are often occasions where pure interceptors and attack aircraft get the fighter label. Have a look at the YF-12 and F-117, for a couple examples.

The F-14 was an intercepter first. It was designed to shoot down Soviet bombers, anything else was second nature. Up until the GE F110s, F-14 crews flew the engines, not the plane. The only reason the F-14 was so loved was it's appearance in Top Gun and Final Countdown. It's success is pure the result of a brilliant PR machine. And it should be telling that their was only one export customer for the F-14, they had very few air-to-air kills while in US Navy service (the only "conspiracy" to keep F-14s from flying CAP over Iraq in 1991 any more than they did was to keep the aircrews alive, seeing as no one had thought to ever install RWR for SAM batteries on the aircraft. And that because SA-5s aren't a problem when you're supposed to knock down Bears and Backfires over the oceans.) AIM-120s were never integrated into the operational fleet.

The F-15 was designed to be an air superiority fighter that was occasionally used as an interceptor on account of it's radar and medium range AAMs.

But questioning Lockheed's pedigree in designing and building a pure "fighter" because they hadn't built a pure "fighter" in decades is biased in nature as no manufacturer has that market cornered. It's been constantly insinuated that Boeing does because it's their name on the side of the building in St. Louis. That's hypocritical. By the early to mid 90s when the F-22 was undergoing design changes that resulted in the differences between the YF-22 and F-22A (which was on account of the USAF changing its requirements as a result of the end of the Cold War), the engineers who had worked on the original F-15 had long since retired. The only aircraft designed from the outset for the air superiority role have been the F-22, the F-15, the F-86 and the P-51 and P-38 (while F-16 was originally intended for this role, it's lack of capability (it was originally capable of being a daytime-only design) and radar range + stability as a bombing platform, it found a new and successful life as a "multi-role" (jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none) fighter). Lockheed's advantage came from the Skunk Works division, which has a proven track record of creating successful pathfinder designs, including the world's first operation Low Observable tactical aircraft.

The USAF would have gotten every Raptors they originally planned if it worked as advertised.

Blanket statement with no evidence to back it up?

Daniel__s_Facepalm_by_xAikaNoKurayami.jpg

Both the F-117 and the F-15E entered service in the mid 1980's.

The F-117 entered service in October 1983. The first combat squadron F-15Es entered service in 1989. So already I'm going to be extremely dubious of any "evidence" you purport after this in regards to your pervious statement. F-22 numbers were cut on account of cost for purely political reasons to make way for other DoD projects.

Did you ever wonder why the F-117 was retired and the F-15E keeps flying?

Nope, never wondered. Because as been previously stated, everything the F-1117 could do, the F-22 and B-2 could do. In addition, the LO technology in the F-117 was becoming outdated. It was an unnecessary redundancy. Not to mention that it's airframe life had reached its end.

LOL good question. People just biases, leads to fanboyism

There are basically 4 strategies to argue against the newer planes:

1. EQUAL :Say they are both good, or very on par for performance, pretty much the same-- but one cost sooo much more money, so you should go with the cheaper option. (Of course they are not equal. However one bonus point should be awarded for every time the person uses the phrase "Just Upgrade ________")

2. BETTER: use the legacy aircraft's service record to back up statements about superiority while pointing out that the newer aircraft is having problems/running over budget. (remember the legacy aircraft has about a 30 year head start on the new one- history is your friend!)

3. WORSE: Make the legacy aircraft look better by outright trashing the new one. The new aircraft really is better so the only chance you have is to try and bring it down to the old plane's level. (That won't be easy, just remember in arguments like this, actual facts never helped the legacy fan)

4. I GIVE UP: If the new aircraft is just too good, just trash its mission as "unneeded." (This is tough because you have to make sure you aren't trashing the mission so much, that people wonder why they even need the legacy aircraft :wacko: )

Truth.

My point was that why didn't they wait until the F-35 enters service before retiring the F-117? The reason I heard often was that the F-117 was "too expensive to maintain and to keep flying".

See my statement above about airframe life. Why keep an aircraft in service that's wearing out (thus is cost inefficient) when two newer types exists (F-22 and B-22) that's capable of performing the same mission until it's intended replacement (F-35) enters service.

No, I don't believe that it is a decision made by the civilian leaders arbitrarily. I believe that the decision to keep flying the F-15E and equip them with AESA radar at a significant cost was done after extensive cost effectiveness evaluation by the USAF. No one seems to want to give the USAF credit when it comes to their pet airplane.

Pretty sure the Defense Secretary and Congress are civilians and last I checked, Congress holds the purse strings. Sure, senior DoD officials can make recommendations, but civilian leadership has final say. When Cheney was SecDef, he canceled the V-22. His successor in the subsequent reinstated the Osprey.

If Gates didn't have such a rage-on against the F-22 in favor of the "cheaper" F-35, the USAF would have at least the 381 number of Raptors. But nope, he insisted that the F-35 could replace the F-15 and at far less cost than the F-22. Yet since that time, the F-35 program has run into far more problems then the F-22 did during it's EMD phase and the per unit cost of an F-35 is fast approaching that of an F-22, and at lower performance. Hope that Kool Aid tasted good...

Edited by Tony Stark
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My point was that why didn't they wait until the F-35 enters service before retiring the F-117? The reason I heard often was that the F-117 was "too expensive to maintain and to keep flying".

When you add the number of F-117 and F-22 together, it is 222 planes TOTAL. Definitely NOT too many stealth attack aircrafts for the USAF. (Unless they cannot afford all of the them.)

If it is outdated and expensive keeping it around another 8 years until the F-35 comes online when the replacement has already arrived is a pure waste.

No, I don't believe that it is a decision made by the civilian leaders arbitrarily. I believe that the decision to keep flying the F-15E and equip them with AESA radar at a significant cost was done after extensive cost effectiveness evaluation by the USAF. No one seems to want to give the USAF credit when it comes to their pet airplane.

The AESA Eagles (and im talking the F-15Cs) were born out of necessity. The Air force never went to congress and said :

Plan A: Give us the 381 F-22s

Plan B: Give us only 183 and we can use F-15s with new radars as alternatives

An F-15 with a new radar is still a 30 year old airplane with a new radar. It is not equivalent to an F-22. The Golden Eagle, should be called the Golden Band Aid, because thats all it is. Its the USAF trying to make the best of a bad situation.

At no point did the USAF present two plans and after careful evaluation the F-22/Golden Eagle combo won based on cost. This was not some kind of deep thought, well evaluated decision. The program was canceled and the Air Force is forced to "Make due". Commenting on the "wisdom" of how things have gotten the way they are, is like complimenting someones ability to take a sucker punch as a "well calculated martial arts technique".

Pretty sure the Defense Secretary and Congress are civilians and last I checked, Congress holds the purse strings. Sure, senior DoD officials can make recommendations, but civilian leadership has final say. When Cheney was SecDef, he canceled the V-22. His successor in the subsequent reinstated the Osprey.

If Gates didn't have such a rage-on against the F-22 in favor of the "cheaper" F-35, the USAF would have at least the 381 number of Raptors. But nope, he insisted that the F-35 could replace the F-15 and at far less cost than the F-22. Yet since that time, the F-35 program has run into far more problems then the F-22 did during it's EMD phase and the per unit cost of an F-35 is fast approaching that of an F-22, and at lower performance. Hope that Kool Aid tasted good...

Exactly. Remember folks that in the end, the only thing the F-22 had going against it was cost The Air Force never said "boy this was a bust, sure hope we don't get more of these" The Air Force begged and pleaded to get more. The big reason it was denied was not performance, it was cost. I can understand the F-22 people being very bitter that the cheaper alternative is almost just as expensive.

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Grounding lifted...

Linky

The last sentence from the above:

Nonetheless, numerous sources had voiced their misgiving about the return-to-flight arrangements.

They haven't figured out the problem but if they keep sending the planes up, it will take the heat off the AF (as long as no one else gets killed).

The F-22 Raptor - The Premier Air to Air Fighter*

* below 10,000'

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The last sentence from the above:

Nonetheless, numerous sources had voiced their misgiving about the return-to-flight arrangements.

They haven't figured out the problem but if they keep sending the planes up, it will take the heat off the AF (as long as no one else gets killed).

The F-22 Raptor - The Premier Air to Air Fighter*

* below 10,000'

What is your solution besides complaining? Give the fleet and production rights to Boeing? Continue to ground the entire fleet for a problem that they can't seem to find or replicate? Has it occurred to you that getting them flying might be the only way to replicate, find the problem, and then get a solution? because it seems pretty clear that grounding them isn't helping.

"A ship in the harbor is safe, but thats not what ships are for"

Edited by TaiidanTomcat
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What is your solution besides complaining? Give the fleet and production rights to Boeing? Continue to ground the entire fleet for a problem that they can't seem to find or replicate? Has it occurred to you that getting them flying might be the only way to replicate, find the problem, and then get a solution? because it seems pretty clear that grounding them isn't helping.

"A ship in the harbor is safe, but thats not what ships are for"

Not to start an argument, but at what cost? As a medic I do understand putting the Pulse Oximetry on the pilots. But what happens if the don't or worse, can't realized that thier O2 levels are dropping. The effects of lack of oxygen is different for every person.

Letting them fly again is like giving someone a blockage in an artery just to see if they have a heart attack.

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Not to start an argument, but at what cost? As a medic I do understand putting the Pulse Oximetry on the pilots. But what happens if the don't or worse, can't realized that thier O2 levels are dropping. The effects of lack of oxygen is different for every person.

Letting them fly again is like giving someone a blockage in an artery just to see if they have a heart attack.

Thats not really the same thing, this is a lot closer to one of those Dr. House mysteries that no one else can diagnose. This is a patient that exhibits occasional symptoms but every test you run is coming up with nothing unusual. 12 symptons in 3 years. keeping them in the hospital under quarantine for the rest of their days in the hope the problem springs up again so you can solve it is not a good solution.

House_Thirteen.jpg

If this is your doctor its wonderful though.

I just don't feel there is anything else the USAF, Lockmart or anyone else can do at this point. There could be dozens of factors at work that all have to be working in a certain combination to have the problem. Like I said, what we can learn with them grounded has been done to the full extent possible.

Edited by TaiidanTomcat
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Thats not really the same thing, this is a lot closer to one of those Dr. House mysteries that no one else can diagnose. This is a patient that exhibits occasional symptoms but every test you run is coming up with nothing unusual. 12 symptons in 3 years. keeping them in the hospital under quarantine for the rest of their days in the hope the problem springs up again so you can solve it is not a good solution.

House_Thirteen.jpg

If this is your doctor its wonderful though.

I just don't feel there is anything else the USAF, Lockmart or anyone else can do at this point. There could be dozens of factors at work that all have to be working in a certain combination to have the problem. Like I said, what we can learn with them grounded has been done to the full extent possible.

Very true. I forgot about that. My bad. Just hate to see us loose more pilots and aircraft to whatever it is that's causing the problems. It really is a bizzare case. I just hope the brains can figure out what's causing it and find a way to fix it. Has there ever been a problem like this before on any other aircraft?

Oh and i'll take her as a doctor anyday. :woot.gif:

Edited by Wolfgun33
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Do you mean "Doctor Remy Hadley", a frictional character, or Olivia Wilde, the actress with no medical training?

OT: LOL Thirteen's easy on the eyes, but my personal preference would be Cameron, Cuddy, or better yet both-at-once any time... :D

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Do you mean "Doctor Remy Hadley", a frictional character, or Olivia Wilde, the actress with no medical training?

Foghorn-Leghorn-Thats-a-joke-son-You-missed-it-Flew-right-by-ya.jpg

Next thing I know you will be telling me House is not a Doctor either and the whole thing is fictional, instead of the documentary I thought it was :sunrevolves:

Edited by TaiidanTomcat
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Do you mean "Doctor Remy Hadley", a frictional character, or Olivia Wilde, the actress with no medical training?

"Frictional character"? Hmmmm. The mind boggles.

On the problem at hand, could this be some sort of calibration problem? I don't know much about OBOGS but are they similar to household oxygen concentrators? Just asking because I don't know. But if they are (or even if they aren't) could there be a calibratoin problem where these things are manufactured or serviced.

:cheers:,

Ross.

Edited by ross blackford
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They haven't figured out the problem but if they keep sending the planes up, it will take the heat off the AF (as long as no one else gets killed).

Again, I ask has the accident investigation been concluded, much less the results been released? Are you saying that you've read the report already before its release?

Source?

"The F-15 initial operational requirement was for a service life of 4,000 hours. Testing completed in 1973 demonstrated that the F-15 could sustain 16,000 hours of flight. Subsequently operational use was more severely stressful than the original design specification... Full-scale fatigue testing between 1988 and 1994 ended with a demonstration of over 7,600 flight hours for the most severely used aircraft, and in excess of 12,000 hours on the remainder of the fleet. A 10,000-hour service limit would provide F-15Cs to 2020, while a 12,000-hour service life extends the F-15Cs to the year 2030. The APG-63 radar, F100-PW-100 engines, and structure upgrades would be mandatory. The USAF cannot expect to fly the F-15C to 2014, or beyond, without replacing these subsystems"

- globalsecurity.org

What needs to be noted is that the entire USAF fleet of aircraft have been flying constantly since 1990. Combat operations including Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Northern Watch and Southern Watch, Deny Flight, Deliberate Force, Desert Fox, Allied Force, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom along with normal training and exercises over the past 21 years have exacerbated the airframe's fatigue.

"The F-15s and F-16s were designed and built in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Some of them were produced up until the early ‘80s. But they’ve led a pretty hard life of 17 years of combat. So you have to replace them with something, because we were continuing to restrict the airplanes. In the F-15 case, we’ve got the airplane restricted to 1.5 Mach. It was designed to be a 2.5 Mach airplane. We’ve got it limited on maneuvering restrictions because we’ve had tail cracks, fuselage cracks, cracks in the wings. The problem with that is – and Mike Wynne uses this analogy – it’s almost like going to the Indy 500 race practicing all the way up until Memorial Day at 60 miles an hour, and then on game day, accelerating the car out to 200 miles an hour. It’s not the time to be doing that on game day.

So in our training models and in our scenarios, we’re limiting these airplanes because they’re restricted and getting old. So there’s two parts to the recapitalization of the fighter inventory. The first part is the existing stuff is old and it’s getting broke, and it’s getting harder to get it out of depot on time. And our availability rates and our in-commission rates are going down. The ability to generate the sorties on those old airplanes is in the wrong direction.”

- Michael Moseley

Former USAF Chief of Staff

October 2007

govexec.com

“The difficulty is that issues have been found with F-15s built between 1978 and 1985, across A through D models at several bases, so no one source of the problem can be isolated…. This isn’t just about one pilot in one aircraft with one bad part…. I have a fleet that is 100 percent fatigued, and 40 percent of that has bad parts. The long-term future of the F-15 is in question…. We don’t have a full and healthy fleet, so we’ve gotten behind on training missions, instructor certifications, classes and exercises…. We’re going over each and every aircraft to make a determination. We will take some F-15s out of the inventory. It just doesn’t make sense to spend the time and money if it won’t be worth it for some aircraft.”

- Gen. John D.W. Corley

Former Commander, ACC

January 2008

af.mil

“I worry about the health of our aging fleet and how sometimes it is not well understood by those our Airmen protect…"

- Lt. Col. Gary L. North

March 2008

Edited by Tony Stark
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I can understand the F-22 people being very bitter that the cheaper alternative is almost just as expensive.

Not just the cost factor, but the comparative value of the two systems. The F-35 doesn't have the performance or capability that the F-22 has; it's a Fifth Gen Jack-of-all trades/master-of-none.

Here's a little known report that came out last month...

F-22s for the Marine Corps?

Yes, you read it correctly, Marines flying F-22s. One Marine is making the case for just that.

Writing in this month’s Marine Corps Gazette, Maj. Christopher Cannon, argues that it’s time the Corps begins looking at a plan B for the short take-off and vertical landing B-model– which has suffered numerous cost and schedule delays and was placed on a two year probation by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates last spring. Keep in mind that the plane is making considerable flight test progress and that just yesterday, the Marines’ top aviation officer reiterated the Corps long-held stance that there is no plan B for the Bravo.

Still, it’s understandable to worry about the F-35B’s fate in a time of serious budget cuts. Many would simply suggest the Corps buy more F-35C carrier variant JSFs or invest in F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

However, Cannon argues that Marine Aviation officials should look at replacing the Bravo with a mix of low-end turboprop attack planes (similar to the one the Air Force is considering for its light attack mission) and 60 of the super high-end F-22 Raptors. This would give the Corps a light attack capability and a fighter that “dwarfs the F–35 in stealth, speed, survivability, deployability, and firepower” for less money than it would cost to buy the F-35B.

Here’s what he has to say about buying the Raptor:

On the high end, the Marine Corps could opt for the most capable AAW platform available, the F–22. Embracing an aircraft Congress recently voted to stop producing may seem like an extreme course of action, but it makes the most sense for the Marine Corps for several reasons. First, F–22s could be purchased now and would be cheaper initially and cost less to maintain than F–35s in the future. The current DoD plan is to buy 50 Marine Corps F–35B aircraft through 2016 at a cost of $9 billion, or $190 million per aircraft. In 2011, flyaway costs for the F–22 are a reported $150 million per aircraft. The U.S. Air Force estimates flying hour costs for the F–22 are $44,259 per hour. The 2008 GAO report estimated $33,000 per flying hour in a JSF aircraft. However, F–35B costs will likely be higher than A and C models. Additionally, the 2011 GAO update states that “current JSF life-cycle cost estimates are considerably higher than the legacy aircraft it will replace.” If their most recent estimate of $1 trillion in operations and support costs proves true, F–35 flying hour costs will exceed $50,000 an hour. In other words, using current estimates, total life cycle costs for every F–35 exceeds that of an F–22 by almost $100 million per plane. Certainly there would be a cost to restart the F–22 manufacturing base, but this expense is easily dwarfed by these F–35 life cycle costs.

Most significantly, the F–22 dwarfs the F–35 in stealth, speed, survivability, deployability, and firepower. With a more mature and more powerful active electronically scanned array radar, and with planned upgrades, the F–22 is a more credible and less risky investment to fulfill the VMAQ’s AEA mission. The F–22 also represents a better platform for AEA upgrades.

Significantly, this course of action would accept providing only 11 fifth-generation fighter-capable carriers. It may also require making inroads in positioning Marine F–22s in more expeditionary stations than those in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, and Virginia, where all F–22 aircraft are currently stationed. Forward postured Marine F–22s could provide the Nation with greater strategic reach than amphibious-based F–35Bs. With a supercruise speed of 1,220 miles per hour, an aerial refueled F–22 could make the 1,700-mile transit from Guam to Taiwan in less than 2 hours.

Future Marine Corps involvement with the F–22 program could include testing air-to-ground weapon loads on the four external 5,000-pound-rated hard points and incorporating some of the ambitious close air support-enabling avionics and software upgrades currently only planned in the F–35. In the future, this would provide the Marine Corps with the most capable, stealthy AAW fighter for day one of any campaign. In the latter days of a conflict, an upgraded F–22 could serve as our most efficient and effective OAS asset. With proper development, the same platform could serve as the MAGTF’s AEA asset; conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; or even provide control for other aircraft or missiles. This would be all at less cost than the F–35B and without the threat of cancellation looming the next 2 years.

A high/low plan B could focus on acquiring approximately 60 F–22 aircraft to replace 5 F/A–18D squadrons scheduled to begin decommissioning in FY14 and removed from service by FY20. These aircraft would provide more capability and cost less than the estimates for the F–35B. For the cost of one F–35B, the Marine Corps could acquire and support 10 counterinsurgency-focused aircraft with a 6-hour loiter time. Seven squadrons, each consisting of 14 OV–10-like aircraft, could provide AV–8B replacements, gap the STOVL requirement while waiting for technology to mature, and pass the savings on to the taxpayer as part of the Commander in Chief’s $40 billion a year in cuts. Other options are available at less risk than betting on F–35B continuation in the next 2 years. It is time for an F–35B plan B.

- dodbuzz.com

Edited by Tony Stark
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