« Secrecy and Cunningham | Main | Intelligence Committee to Investigate Cunningham »

Nov 30, 2005

Comments

Maximillian

Is the USAF seriously going to consider using the F-22 in the GWOT, where the main empahsis is CAS.

Putting a $ 360 million (amatorised costs)
or $ 100 ++ airframe at risk against small
arms fire and shoulder mounted heat seaking SAMS ?

More likely, just like the B-2bs the F-22s will remain safely stowed back in kansas,\
or Missouri, afterall (there's no place like home Dorthy).

And so the USAF grows more and more "timid" with thier deployments, wich every generation of new solid platinum airframes.

JTH

Maybe a dumb question, but why put jammer in the air at all?

The argument(s) for UCAV's relate to "getting close" to the source (emmiter, antenna/reciever)

What about armored Hummer or Stryker ?

Joe Katzman

DID did an in-depth look at this kind of inherent capability in BOTH the Raptor and F-35 JSF a little while ago, and also noted where that technology could be migrating.

It has a use, an important one even, but counter-IED work probably isn't it - even though EA-6B Prowlers are doing it right now. The Marines have a better case for tweaking their F-35B STOVLs, because then they'd have integrated assets at THEIR beck and call, flying in a service culture where supporting the ground troops is what it's all about. F/A-22s? A nice fringe thing, but not a major justification and not even the best thing to do with the aircraft's electronic attack potential.

For non-Marines (or maybe for Marines if they get smart and create a navalized O/A-10F Seahog), agree with your idea to put modified AN/ALQ-99 pods or whatever on an upgraded A-10, whose loiter time and flight speed are much better suited to counter-IED work. There are also EC-130 Commando Solo Hercules aircraft that could be modified, and would be even better (especially if you gave 'em a Viper Strike or four to play with as well).

But really, gven the level of electronics we're talking here and the need to constantly switch stuff in and out anyway as these things evolve, why couldn't one just modify a freakin' Cessna (yes, like the ones the police and radio stations use to report on your morning commute)? In situations where IEDs are the big issue, it's not like you need additional capabilities for self-protection or anything... just pick something cheap, plentiful, and civilian, with lots of support available and good levels of space to fit specificly anti-IED gear plus some simple optics (like, say, the IR/optics system carried by the Predator). Then you've got an anti-IED aircraft that can also patrol over the roads for several hours at a time, day and night, not only jamming IEDs in the area but also potentially keeping watch so folks don't implant the damn things in the first place (and if you see suspicious activity, have gear that can trigger the things as well as jam them).

But that wouldn't cost hundreds of millions (it might not even cost tens of millions...), so no-one would get promoted.

Murdoc

Nick...how is it you finally managed to dig one up where we agree? LOL!

I'm no real fan of the Raptor, but if they can add this functionality they probably should. Considering that some are talking about cutting F-35s to pay for more F-22s (the "tradeoff" you mentioned), this announcement seems a bit much.

Sure, anti-IED capability is important to what we're going to be doing for a long time to come. And if the F-22 can pitch in, so much the better. But that selling point had not better carry any weight when we're discussing hundred-million dollar air superiority fighters. Even the ground attack capability, while important, is secondary. The only thing that can justify these machines is their capability to knock other planes out of the sky.

Nick at POGO

Shek,
Granted, it might not be a bad thing to equip the F/A-22 with this capability, but the issue here is that this is a role perhaps better suited for cheaper and more numerous aircraft that have ground attack as their primary mission. And the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) is the aircraft that is supposed to replace the F-16.

Lockheed is definitely looking for ways to justify the F/A-22 during the GWOT and tough budget years, which, if it leads to the F/A-22 supporting the troops on the ground better, is a good thing, but we're trying to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of capability, cost and mission creep. For now, the Air Force is going to procure 180 F/A-22s--if we depend on them (and no one is arguing we're going to depend on only them, but Raptors may come at the expense of other procurements, so it's a question of tradeoffs) for roles which cheaper, more numerous aircraft could achieve as effectively, then we might hamstring ourselves when we need raw numbers.

Nick

Shek

I'm certainly no expert on the F-22 or current Air Force acquisition issues, but I think it's a great idea to put anti-IED technology on the F-22, or whatever replaces the F-16. I never once saw an A-10 in Iraq when I was there, but I had F-16s available from time to time. That's probably because the A-10 isn't the idea platform to fly in support of urban operations, while a F-16 carries a more appropriate payload (JDAMs) and has the observation capabilities to support the urban fight. It only makes sense to equip our Air Force with capabilities that can support maneuver forces on the ground. While I don't see this equipment creating a primary mission, it only makes sense to provide that capability for when the aircraft is providing on call support while loitering.

The comments to this entry are closed.