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F-22 Raptor Cancelled

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the waiter-there's-a-fly-in-my-fighter dept.

The Military 829

BayaWeaver writes "Slate reports that the F-22 Raptor has been cancelled by the Senate. At an estimated price tag of $339 million per aircraft, even the powerful military-industrial-congressional complex couldn't keep this Cold War program alive in these hard times. They look very cool though and have appeared in movies like Hulk and Transformers. But not to worry too much about the future of the military-industrial-congressional complex: the F-35 Lightning II begins production next year! As a side note, in 2007 a squadron of Raptors became deaf, dumb and blind when they flew over the International Date Line."

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829 comments

Poor Title (5, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785231)

Reading the title and summary would make you think that the entire program has been cancelled and the planes aren't going to be used by the US military. This is not the case. The Senate reduced the number of aircraft being produced such that no additional planes will be made. The F22 is already in service and will remain in service for quite some time.

Re:Poor Title (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785251)

I'd troll, but I'm too busy dying.

Re:Poor Title (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785277)

no it wont. it requires extensive upgrades because the RAM or the skin of the aircraft cannot survive a rainstorm. it does not have a working heads up display on the helmet. the canopy blisters and peels with exposure to sunlight. it does not communicate with other aircraft because the electronics are deficient. it requires 44 HOURS of maint for every hour in the air. the raptor is a pile of crap and will eventually be phased out.

Re:Poor Title (1)

cytoman (792326) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785679)

Considering that they fly far above the clouds, the rainstorm shouldn't pose much of a problem. Obviously I know nothing about how long it takes to compromise the skin in the rain.

Re:Poor Title (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785815)

Considering that they fly far above the clouds, the rainstorm shouldn't pose much of a problem.

Sounds like somebody skipped Calculus 101 on the day they discussed the Mean Value Theorem.

Re:Poor Title (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785685)

I don't know why they went with the F-22 over the "F-23" anyway. It was a better plane on many levels...

Re:Poor Title (4, Funny)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785799)

no it wont. it requires extensive upgrades because the RAM or the skin of the aircraft cannot survive a rainstorm. it does not have a working heads up display on the helmet. the canopy blisters and peels with exposure to sunlight. it does not communicate with other aircraft because the electronics are deficient. it requires 44 HOURS of maint for every hour in the air. the raptor is a pile of crap and will eventually be phased out.

So it is a high maintenance dry night fighter. Reminds me of my girlfriend ...

 

Re:Poor Title (5, Informative)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785321)

The cost is also a little misleading. Additional units cost ~$130M each (which is still expensive as hell), the $339M figure is total program cost plus build cost divided out per aicraft. That number only decreases the more we produce. So if we ordered another singe aircraft, it would not cost $339M.

Re:Poor Title (5, Funny)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785401)

The cost is also a little misleading. Additional units cost ~$130M each (which is still expensive as hell), the $339M figure is total program cost plus build cost divided out per aicraft. That number only decreases the more we produce. So if we ordered another singe aircraft, it would not cost $339M.

If that is the case then why don't we keep building them until they are free? As a bonus, we will have an unstoppable Air Force. Oh wait, we already did before the F-22.

Re:Poor Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785499)

...and of course we'll be sitting around the campfire with the PRC singing Kumbaya within 5 years anyways, so more planes won't be necessary.

Re:Poor Title (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785513)

As a bonus, we will have an unstoppable Air Force. Oh wait, we already did before the F-22.

We have an unstoppable Air Force because we haven't fought a country with the industrial base and wherewithal to build a real air force since World War II. Should we ever find ourselves in a conflict with another Great Power we may well come to regret this decision.

Re:Poor Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785575)

Who do you think has an air force that is even close, even before considering the F22?

Re:Poor Title (3, Informative)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785691)

Russia and France both have fighters in development on par with the F22. Russia, in particular, may not have many qualms about selling that fighter to foreign buyers who don't much care for the US.

Re:Poor Title (1)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785713)

China?

Re:Poor Title (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785863)

China?

China's enough of a threat on their own, but we have an economic Mutually Assured Destruction thing going on since we make up like half their economy and they buy half our debt.

I'd be much more concerned about Iran.

Re:Poor Title (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785677)

If it was any other plane I'd agree with you but these things barely get into the air before breaking down.

Re:Poor Title (4, Informative)

bjdevil66 (583941) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785895)

The per unit cost is so high because, unlike past US-built fighters and the upcoming F-35, it is illegal to build an F-22 and sell it to another country, per Congressional mandate. Because there are no other customers available besides the US, and because the US has enough of them (for now), there's no way to take advantage of the economies of scale that could be brought to bear with continued production.

Re:Poor Title (1, Troll)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785737)

If we ordered one more it would cost very very slightly under 339M. Which is still freaking expensive.

In any event, at this point since the program is stopped we can be sure that the ones we have cost 339m each.

Re:Poor Title (1)

jrsjrsjrs (947704) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785903)

The cost is also a little misleading. Additional units cost ~$130M each (which is still expensive as hell), the $339M figure is total program cost plus build cost divided out per aicraft. That number only decreases the more we produce. So if we ordered another singe aircraft, it would not cost $339M.

That's also a little misleading. The majority of any weapon's cost is in operation, maintenance and training. The production is a fraction of the cost.

Re:Poor Title (4, Interesting)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785403)

I heard a story about this on NPR yesterday.

We've already paid for 187 of them.

Also, the $300-odd million figure does not include maintenance.
According to the NPR source, maintenance on the F-22 is vastly more expensive than on an F-15 or F16.

Apparently, we are buying a couple thousand F-35s anyway, which is - again NPR - "only slightly less capable, but far less expensive".

Re:Poor Title (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785429)

No additional planes *beyond those already on order*. Total production will be capped at 187 units, and I doubt there are anywhere near that number already off the line and in service. Seven more were on the table, and that's what got axed.

A bit sad if you ask me. We're generations away from having drones fulfill the air superiority role. On one hand, air superiority today seems to be an idea that's as antiquated as trench strafing or artillery spotting. But on the other hand, the F-22 is so *good* at it (or should be anyway) that I hate to see us limit that skill set in case it does become relevant again.

I can see why something like the F-117 went away. Drones make more sense in that role, now. But I'm not sure limiting the F-22 is the right choice.

Re:Poor Title (5, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785701)

Is there a nation on earth that can f**k with 187 F-22s, the thousands of F-35s we have planned, not to mention the thousands of F-14, F-15, and F-16s that we already have?

I doubt it.

This isn't starcraft.
There are other things to spend money on besides weapons.

Re:Poor Title (2, Informative)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785809)

The F14 tomcat has already been decommissioned, but there's the F18 to add to that list.

Dave

Re:Poor Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785873)

start building supply depots and upgrade the academy

Which seems to make sense over all (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785515)

The F-22 is a cool plane, but there are only so many the US really needs. Reason is that they are not carrier based planes, which is how a great many missions are done these days. It also is more or less strictly air superiority, not multi-role. Ok well there is value in that, while there may not be any current threats to the US, doesn't mean there won't be. You don't have good defense, in the real world or on your computer, by staying complacent. However that doesn't mean that there is the need or reason to roll out tons of the things.

The F-35 is more suited to a larger scale production because it is multi-role, and carrier capable. Thus with it likely to come out soon (next year if they remain on target) it doesn't make sense to produce a ton of F-22As. The F-35 also has the advantage of having a good deal of support from other nations, which helps pay for R&D and will also bring unit costs down in the form of increased orders.

So it makes sense to keep the F-22 around for when top-notch air defense is needed, it doesn't make sense to keep building them if an all around more useful plane is going to be coming out. Use what is complete, and use the research from the project on other projects (like the F-35).

Re:Poor Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785539)

If by "in service" you mean "being serviced"

The F22s are hangar queens and are unlikely to be combat ready when the shit hits the fan anyway. The Air Force may physically have F22s, but they won't be able to use them. Too bad they can't get a refund on the ones purchased or cancel the orders for those promised for delivery.

Re:Poor Title (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785571)

Reading the title and summary would make you think that the entire program has been cancelled and the planes aren't going to be used by the US military. This is not the case. The Senate reduced the number of aircraft being produced such that no additional planes will be made.

And even that may be a bit misleading; the Senate eliminated funding for 7 additional F-22s that were proposed to be ordered, limiting the total run to 187, which includes not just planes which have already been delivered but also some that have previously been ordered which have not yet been delivered, so it is not the case that "no additional planes will be made", at least if by "additional" one means "additional to those that have already been made", rather than "additional to the ones already planned to be made".

Re:Poor Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785779)

What do you expect, it's Timothy, the village idiot of slashdot...

Re:Poor Title (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785793)

Also, they could have used a far better FA than one from Slate. This was in every major newspaper in the country yesterday. Slate is possibly the very worst choice for anything tech related.

Let's not read too much into this (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785243)

We've already spent a bundle on them and this latest "cut" was mediocre compared to how much we've already invested. On top of that, I expect the F-35 to get ample funding. And, I doubt it's VSTOL capabilities will approach anything I ever saw in Battlefield 2.

R&D (1)

bdrees (1015815) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785263)

I look at it like I do Technology, there will *Always be something better tomorrow*.
The research and development used to culminate the F-22 will surely be used in the next F-XX.

Re:R&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785647)

I look at it like I do Technology, there will *Always be something better tomorrow*.

True. But wars are not necessarily won by advanced technology alone. It helps of course, but not as much as sheer numbers, and using existing technolgy effectively. So one F22 (properly maintained and competently piloted) is equal to how many old F16s? and how many of the upcoming F35s? And how many do we really need anyway? I've got no answers for this, but there are plenty of scenarios where it makes more sense to buy a metric crapload of AK47s and ammo than it does to buy a single jet (and vice versa).

But they're a bargain if you buy them in bulk (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785285)

$4 billion in the fiscal year 2010 budget to build 20 more F-22s

200 Million per plane (not counting R&D costs). Some estimates w/ R&D costs included bring the price up to $300 Million per plane. Damn.

Re:But they're a bargain if you buy them in bulk (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785385)

The per unit cost is so high because they are buying far fewer than they originally planned (1200, I think).

I remember when they were working on the F-15 and F-16. It was all the same crap. "We don't need it", "It costs too much", blah blah blah.

The Russians are still building fighters and they are pretty good at it. And they are selling them to China and others that we may come up against.

For anyone who thinks we will never need them, well, you need to back and read you military history.

Re:But they're a bargain if you buy them in bulk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785663)

Disclaimer: I post AC for a reason, although all this information can be found elsewhere freely.

Do not fear Russian aircraft, they don't really build them here anymore. The process of decay seems intentional and irreversible. The single factory that could produce vectored thrust engines is ruined and whatever's left of it has been sold to a certain French corporation. Most military pilots get as little as 20 hours top of actual flight practice per year. China no longer buys Russian Su-27 and its variants, they have got the tech, cancelled the contract and are now going to produce their own version. Somehow I believe that India will follow suit. I will not give you the numbers for how many aircraft are still flight-capable, but I guarantee that you would find the Russian air force completely rotten. And the new round of army reforms is (among other things) aimed squarely at destroying whatever fighting force some of its units still represent.

Re:But they're a bargain if you buy them in bulk (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785699)

Seems good news to me then.

Assuming you post AC because of some security reason, perhaps you could wax poetic on the Chinese air force capabilities.

Re:But they're a bargain if you buy them in bulk (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785743)

if the US happened to be going up against a nuclear power in some sort of Great Power battle, the losing side probably wouldn't care how good the enemy's aircraft are.

They didn't cancel the Raptor program... (3, Informative)

potscott (539666) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785291)

They've already got 187 of them. All they did was cancel an order for an additional 12 that were budgetted last year. The summary would lead you to believe they're moth-balling all of them or something. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-22_Raptor [wikipedia.org]

Misinformation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785311)

The F-22 Raptor was not cancelled. A recent bill that called for production of _7_ additional F-22s (in addition to the 186 already in the pipeline) was cancelled.

Most deserving (0, Flamebait)

rumith (983060) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785313)

This story indeed deserves to be tagged "suddenoutbreakofcommonsense". Producing such an expensive aircraft in large numbers is a pretty dumb idea: I'm not sure there are enough important targets on the Earth for a squadron of these to be cost-effective. UAVs FTW!

Re:Most deserving (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785367)

I agree.

Gaining air superiority over the Taliban isn't much of a concern either. It was obsolete before the assembly line was even fired up.

Re:Most deserving (5, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785409)

What's amusing to me is that if you want to education or health care funded in the US, you have to lobby Congress like hell to fund it.

Conversely, if you are the head of the Department of Defense and don't need or want a pointless weapons program, you have to lobby Congress like hell not not fund it.

Re:Most deserving (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785543)

What's amusing to me is that if you want to education or health care funded in the US, you have to lobby Congress like hell to fund it.

What's amusing to me is that people think education or health care is a proper role for the Federal Government.

Re:Most deserving (5, Funny)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785733)

What's amusing to me is that if you want to education or health care funded in the US, you have to lobby Congress like hell to fund it.

What's amusing to me is that people think education or health care is a proper role for the Federal Government.

What's amusing to me is that people think education or health care is a proper role for unaccountable entities whose primary responsibility is profit.

Re:Most deserving (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785919)

Part of the reason is that pointless weapons programs are a major source of federal pork projects for many congresscritters' districts. Plus the lobbyists for Lockheed, Raytheon, etc make darn sure it's worth the congresscritters' while to vote for more contracts for each of them.

Re:Most deserving (4, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785427)

You don't build them to use them, you build them so you don't have to use them. You also force anyone who thinks they need to counter them to spend resources on developing and deploying the countermeasures.

Re:Most deserving (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785747)

Not exactly... You build them to show their potential, once you've done that in a couple of wars here and there, sell them to other countries 15 years later.

Re:Most deserving (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785765)

The problem with this is this: what if the countermeasures cost "them" far less than the F-22 costs us, or "they" use a military doctrine, such as guerrilla warfare, that makes the F-22's strengths irrelevant?

We could bankrupt ourselves and hand our enemies the victory. Remember: the Germans had by far the best tanks in WW-II, but the Allies produced A LOT MORE tanks. And planes. And ships. And we produced a nuke.

It's not as simple as just having the "best" weapons. You have to maximize your resources overall.

Personally, I think we need unmanned aircraft. Imagine a fighter jet that can pull 50 G's, which would squish a human. Would you want to be in an F-22 vs., say, 10 of those? Would an F-22 even be able to shoot such a thing down?

--PM

Re:Most deserving (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785821)

You don't build them to use them, you build them so you don't have to use them. You also force anyone who thinks they need to counter them to spend resources on developing and deploying the countermeasures.

They've already got countermeasures for F-22 stealth so no need to bother now. Remember how that F-117 got shot down?

Re:Most deserving (1)

colganc (581174) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785907)

Yes I remember how it was shot down. It was flying the same path over and over. It's LO not "stealth"

Re:Most deserving (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785489)

Actually most of the cost is what they call a "sunk cost" which is what the rest of us call R&D and building the facilities to produce the plane. I've seen estimates where the cost of actually producing one now is around 70 million per additional plane.

That said the F-22 is way more plane supposedly than any of our potential competitors can field. And even a few F-22's can dominate a force of 5 times their size. The 180 something of them that we are already planning to produce should be enough to keep our forces superior. The new F-35 isn't actually as good as the F-22 in many respects but it is cheaper and good enough to fill the roles it's designed for.

Only $339 million each? (4, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785341)

With the way the gov't is throwing money I'm surprised anything under a billion registers on their radar. They've probably got rounding errors (intentional or not) that could pay for a whole squadron of these.

The F-35 Lightning II is bad-ass, btw (2, Informative)

loteck (533317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785455)

How bad-ass? This badass [youtube.com]. The link is to a YouTube video where the guy who had the initial design ideas talks about getting the plane together, and the video features some awesome footage of the F-35's capabilities.

RIP F-22, you were cool and did a great job. The F-35 is a worthy replacement.

Badass This: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785553)

Fly Me [youtube.com].

Respectfully,
Philboyd Studge

Re:The F-35 Lightning II is bad-ass, btw (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785617)

The F-35 was not designed as a replacement, but as a compliment to the F-22.

The F-22 has one mission, dominate the airspace and kill other fighters. As the video probably shows, the F-35 is designed as a multi-role/configuration fighter. And yes, it is bad ass. It is very cheap (inexpensive) and is a good asset.

But watch out, as I said earlier, the Russians are still build fighters and they are pretty good at it.

Re:The F-35 Lightning II is bad-ass, btw (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785627)

Exactly what "job" did the F-22 do that earlier planes couldn't? I don't recall the insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan having advanced surface-to-air missiles, radars, fighters, or indeed *any* air defense more complicated than a Stinger missile.

Oh wait, you meant the "job" of dumping mad cash in Red states to build fighters we don't need. Remember kids, government spending only creates jobs when we buy useless fighters to counter non-existent threats!

Re:The F-35 Lightning II is bad-ass, btw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785629)

The F-35 isn't actually a replacement for the F-22 while they are buying them instead of the F-22 the F-35 is a multi-role fighter where the F-22 is for air superiority. The F-35 is better for supporting ground troops but head to head it can't beat a Raptor.

Re:The F-35 Lightning II is bad-ass, btw (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785631)

The F-35 isn't really a raptor replacement, it is a supplement. The F-22 is still likely to be the best air superiority fighter. However, that is really all it is good for. It is land based only, and not really suited for multi-role operations. It CAN be fitted to do bombing but not near as well as the F-35.

So what is likely to happen is the F-22 will remain active in air defense roles, whereas the F-35 will become the principal aircraft used for strike missions. However, you really don't need so many air-defense only craft. Good idea to have around on the just in case of a major conflict, but not the sort of thing you need tons of.

Re:The F-35 Lightning II is bad-ass, btw (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785657)

From my crappy research, reading on wikipedia etc yesterday, the F-35 is not a replacement for the F-22. It's meant to be the workhorse for the military. Sort of like most every infantry man gets an assault rifle but you still want a couple carrying sniper rifles and some small rockets/missles.

Whether or not the 187 F-22's will be enough to fullfil our needs in the future we won't know until it's already too late. Restarting production for them will just make them even more expensive, it's a judgement call and congress had to be talked into it by the DoD.

Re:The F-35 Lightning II is bad-ass, btw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785711)

How bad-ass? This badass [youtube.com]. The link is to a YouTube video where the guy who had the initial design ideas talks about getting the plane together, and the video features some awesome footage of the F-35's capabilities.

RIP F-22, you were cool and did a great job. The F-35 is a worthy replacement.

The F-35 was not a replacement. It was a joint, multi-role fighter that would have less technology but be implemented and designed for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine corps.

How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enough? (2, Insightful)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785485)

``No American soldier has been killed by an enemy aircraft since 1951.''

Only because the U.S. doctrine has been to have total air superiourity and the Air Force (and Navy) have been able to achieve it through superiour technology (and training) --- if 187 Raptors aren't sufficient to achieve that in some future conflict, a lot of soldiers are going to die, and that statement will cease to be true.

William

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785541)

Only because the U.S. doctrine has been to have total air superiourity and the Air Force (and Navy) have been able to achieve it through superiour technology (and training) --- if 187 Raptors aren't sufficient to achieve that in some future conflict, a lot of soldiers are going to die, and that statement will cease to be true.

William

Yeah - or you could just stop invading countries. That's a good way of keeping your soldiers from dying.

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785609)

and you, sir, are a pussy!

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (1)

entrigant (233266) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785583)

Here's a novel thought... _if_ that times comes, BUILD MORE

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785719)

Here's a novel thought... _if_ that times comes, BUILD MORE

Assuming that the tooling, parts & skills are all available to do so in the time required.

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785741)

When the time comes, it's already too late. And any built at the 11th hour wouldn't be nearly as valuable as they could have been if they could have been built earlier and served as a deterrent instead of only a defense.

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785797)

That would be a great plan. If we wouldn't have our air force crushed due to insufficient numbers then have our industry pounded into the ground by an uncontested enemy air force.

But yes, we should aim for the lowest common denominator in defense spending because it is only soldiers lives and the citizenries safety at stake.

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785595)

How many Americans die each year because they don't have health insurance? About 20,000. Maybe there's better things to spend money on than more planes? How useful have those Raptors been in Iraq and Afghanistan anyway?

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (1)

Bureaucromancer (1303477) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785643)

As if the F-35 isn't a perfectly acceptable aircraft for handling any conflict the US will realistically be involved in. For that matter the F-15, F-16 and F-18 are all still perfectly servicable for just about any scenario. No, none of them is on par with the F-22, but honestly the modern day uses for a pure air superiority aircraft are quite limited, and no one else anything even realistically on par with aircraft other than the F-22. That said, I do hope two things happen 1) the export ban is lifted so Australia (which has expressed interest) and Canada (for whom it would be a better northern patrol aircraft than the F-35) can get some. 2) the aircraft is developed into the next gen medium bomber as has been discussed, and happened with the F-15.

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (1)

niola (74324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785681)

The Raptors are already irrelevant. According to this article in the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-f-22-plane22-2009jul22,0,750816.story) they have NOT been used in Iraq or Afghanistan.

All the fighter jets in the world won't win a guerilla war against insurgent enemies.

What is going on now is our military is finally realizing this - the big obstacle to a more nimble military is not the military itself, but the massive multi-billion dollar military industrial complex that refuses to get weened off the teet.

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (3, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785697)

A good way to solve this would be to stop being the world police and pissing everyone off. If we were just cool with people we easily get by with 10% of the defense budget we have now. Besides, I am sure that if we spent less on military and more on social programs we can save more civilians than we would lose soldiers. This whole nationalist, jingoist, fascist thing that the neo-Cons call Patriotism makes me throw up a little.

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (5, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785853)

if 187 Raptors aren't sufficient to achieve that in some future conflict

Which conflict would that be? It's not the ones we are in now, which we're going into astronomical debt over. I don't know who has an air force that would rival us, but I'd guess China and North Korea. Either way, we can't afford it even with these cuts. In fact, I think/hope we can't afford to fight ANY more unilateral wars against ANYONE.

Any war/conflict in which 187 raptors is insufficient is a war our economy is also insufficient for.

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (1)

B Nesson (1153483) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785865)

How many soldiers will die if 240 F-22s aren't enough?

How many soldiers will die if 320 F-22's aren't enough?

How many soldiers will die if 1,780 F-22's aren't enough?

My god, numbers just keep going!

Re:How many soldiers die if 187 F-22s aren't enoug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785877)

Superiority against what? I must have missed the part where the Taliban had the latest models of air-superiority fighter. Or any *planes*, for that matter. You must be one of the unreconstructed Cold War guys, that thinks we're going to go to war against Russia any day now.

The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (0, Flamebait)

TaleSpinner (96034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785521)

The f-35 Lightening is half the size and has less than a third the weapons payload of the Raptor. It is a multimission fighter intended for all services except army, but you'd need three-four of them to replace one Raptor and remember the single most expensive component in a modern fighter jet is the pilot. 3-4 pilots instead of one and the saving don't add up real fast.

The Lightning is seriously cool but it simple cannot replace the Raptor - and it was never meant to, except, it appears, in the minds of Democrats. Let's face it, they aren't going to buy any extra Lightnings because of the reduction in the Raptor fleet. In point of fact, they'll cut the ones they have already committed to.

I predict. And I've been dead right about every prediction I've made about Obama and his lunatic lefties.

Re:The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (1)

Bureaucromancer (1303477) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785705)

Where exactly is this airborne threat you're so afraid of? The F-35 is an excellent ground attack aircraft, and from my understanding still a compatent fighter. Who precisely are we likely to be fighting with an air force more advanced than Iraqs (pre 91 that is)? In any case, I'd be more concerned about a naval fighter being cancelled; the Air Force mission really does seem to be transitioning to homeland defense and bombing, neither of which needs anything like the F-22. I'd rather see a next gen bomber in the real world, however cool F-22s are.

Re:The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (3, Informative)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785753)

The push for producing less F-22's comes from the DoD not the congress critters. In fact it had a hard time getting through because the opposition to reducing the production run was bipartisan. The opposition primarily came from representatives that have a vested interest in the continuation of the F-22 production, as in parts are made or assembled by their constituents.

Re:The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (3, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785777)

Wow - it's not paranoia if everyone really is out to get you, right? Get at least your facts straight. Republicans and Democracts voted for the bill, and Republicans and Democrats voted against it. Not to mention that Gates, a Republican, Air Force and Joint Chief of Staffs didn't want to continue the purchase program. I don't know how you lump those people into the group of Obama's lunatic lefties.

How's the weather on your little planet?

Re:The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785835)

I predict. And I've been dead right about every prediction I've made about Obama and his lunatic lefties.

You seem to be forgetting that Robert Gates supports the proposal as well. Are you calling Robert Gates a lunatic lefty?

Besides, the F-22 was designed in the late-80's. It's running its course.

Re:The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785847)

The US will not be invaded suddenly. We can and will produce more weapons when we are threatened, we currently have enough of a military that we can protect the majority of our allies. While production may slow, development will still trudge on, so that if or when the US is directly threatened we should be able to pop up more up to date designs.

The F-22 has played its role in helping the US determine how to build the next generation of planes. We don't NEED them until a conflict, and any conflict that can threaten the continental United States will take along time to reach our shores.

Re:The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785887)

Actually, this isn't a partisan issue at all. It has less to do with Democrats and Republicans than it has to do with Congress trying to defend jobs in their home states by keeping a program that the Pentagon doesn't want. The vote did not break down along party lines. Chambliss (R-GA) and Dodd (D-CT) were vocal supporters of the F-22, whereas McCain (R-AZ) and Gates (a Bush appointee kept on by Obama) were against. You might want to read up [cnn.com].

Re:The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (0, Redundant)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785897)

The f-35 Lightening is half the size

And can take off and land from an aircraft carrier.

And I've been dead right about every prediction I've made about Obama and his lunatic lefties

What would those predictions be? I see you have no slashdot journal, nor web page posted.

Let's face it, they aren't going to buy any extra Lightnings because of the reduction in the Raptor fleet.

You can't even get the present right - they're not doing away with the Raptor, the Raptor fleet isn't shrinking, they're just cancelling an order for a few additional ones. No wonder you hate Obama, you obviously only watch FOX and listen to that drug-addled radio personality. I feel sorry for you (and any other wingnuts, whether on the left or the right).

Re:The Lightning is no replacement for the Raptor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785899)

Too bad McCain didn't get elected cvause he really liked the F-22...

communications problems (4, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785561)

they have problems communicating with other planes:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/09/AR2009070903020_4.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2009071001019 [washingtonpost.com]

and don't seem to like the rain:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_07/019076.php [washingtonmonthly.com]

among other things like jammed canopies.

And it's funny too. People who don't like unions, bloated government and stimulus packages seem to think the government owes them a job when it comes to flawed weapons systems and unneeded military bases.

But it's nice to see A10s and B52s still in service. Made dack when the US actually knew how to build something.

What a horrible summary! (2, Interesting)

CompressedAir (682597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785597)

The F-22 is already in service! They just cancelled the next order of planes.

I agree with this decision. The F-35 is still a better fighter than just about anything else out there, and is also an excellent multi-role attack craft. Not to mention much cheaper per unit than an F-22.

The value of the F-22 lies in that it is probably the best fighter in the world for many years. Any adversary who intends to fight a conventional war against the US (cricket... cricket... but hey, we do expect our military to be prepared, so I'm not complaining) has to act as if the most badass fighter in the world will be contesting air superiority. That is a healthy kick towards solving things with diplomacy.

Sucks for us (in Marietta, GA) (2, Informative)

thered2001 (1257950) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785613)

They're built here in Marietta. Bad news in a tough economy.

Re:Sucks for us (in Marietta, GA) (1, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785841)

Who's building the F-35's that were mentioned in the summary?

Oh yeah, probably China.

Hw incredibly short-sighted... (2, Insightful)

Lester67 (218549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785619)

We can give them 4 billion dollars and have aircraft to show for it, or give them 4 billion in bailout money to save the jobs this will impact and have NOTHING to show for it. :-)

I expect bad titles from CNN, not /.... (1)

Bradicus (1392663) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785623)

As has been mentioned numerous times, "the F-22" was not canceled. What actually happened id that "plans to acquire MORE F-22s in the short term have been canceled." The 187 Raptors in the US Air Force are deployed and will be around for a while. Come on guys - I know it doesn't involve Linux, but that doesn't mean you can just jump on the drive-by-media train and not bother to be precise.

Re: F-22 Raptor Cancelled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785673)

"As a side note, in 2007 a squadron of Raptors became deaf, dumb and blind when they flew over the International Date Line."

Our all-American pinball wizards went global!

(You sets 'em up, I knocks 'em down...)

I'm sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785695)

they played a mean pinball.

"a squadron of Raptors became deaf, dumb and blind when they flew over the International Date Line."

Remote Drones (4, Interesting)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785729)

Fighters are needed less and less now a days, if we want air superiority we can just put up dozens of cheap drones with Air-to-Air missiles with remote pilots. I am pretty sure they would not cost $100+ millions each either.

Re:Remote Drones (2, Interesting)

LeDopore (898286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785845)

Right on. If your metric is (military power)/(cost) then these planes would have to be *extremely* deadly for them to make more sense than drones.

F22 and F35 cost nearly the same (apples2apples) (3, Interesting)

jjackalb (574662) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785739)

If you look at when they actually are producing F35 vs F22 at nearly identical production rates, F22 is only a little bit more expensive. The main reason why F35 is projected to be significantly cheaper is they are planning on producing more of them at faster rates.

F-35 Flyaway Unit Cost
FY2011: $124.580 million (24 per year)

F-22 Flyaway Unit Cost
FY2007: $136.826 million (20 per year)

A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. I'd bet F35 ends up costing just as much as F22.

Give me more F22s and fewer F35s.

17 days of interest... (2, Insightful)

mdvolm (68424) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785745)

Since the interest alone on the "Economic Stimulus" package is costing the U.S. around $100 million per DAY, I can see how saving 17 days worth of interest will definitely have a major impact.

Aren't drones the kick ass future anyway? (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785773)

Unless stealth penetration is required (for which not that many planes are needed), isn't a swarm of inexpensive (and non-casualty bearing) drones better than a few expensive fighters and even more expensive pilots?

The people who argue that giving up fighters makes us weak against potential adversaries appear just like the people who argued that battleships were the decisive force in naval warfare--even after Pearl Harbor.

I'm not against spending big dollars for national defense. I'm for spending those dollars intelligently.

A more magnificent aircraft I have not seen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28785827)

...old or new, military or non-military, US or foreign.

Technical superiority aside, the machine is just... beautiful.

Good riddence (3, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28785861)

These programs have become unsustainable. There's no reason for the F-22 to cost what it does. We're talking about runaway projects with padding to line the pockets of the military-industrial complex. This isn't about protecting the nation, this is about extracting wealth from the treasury. Defense contractors are doing more to harm the safety and security of this country than the long-haired hippies ever did.

The F-15 is still a world-beater. Why not just upgrade the avionics and fire up the assembly lines again? Retire the old airframes, field new ones.

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