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Some USAF Pilots Refuse To Fly F-22 Raptor

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the conscientious-objector dept.

The Military 569

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that some of the nation's top aviators are refusing to fly the radar-evading F-22 Raptor, a fighter jet with ongoing problems with the oxygen systems that have plagued the fleet for four years. 'We are generally aware of a small number of pilots who have expressed reservations about flying the F-22, and each of those cases will be handled individually through established processes,' says Maj. Brandon Lingle, an Air Force spokesman. Concern about the safety of the F-22 has grown in recent months as reports about problems with its oxygen systems have offered no clear explanations why there have been 11 incidents in which F-22 pilots reported hypoxia-like symptoms. 'Obviously it's a very sensitive thing because we are trying to ensure that the community fully understands all that we're doing to try to get to a solution,' says Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command. Meanwhile Sen. John McCain says that the jets, which the Air Force call the future of American air dominance, are a waste of their $79 billion price tag and serve no role in today's combat environment. 'There is no purpose, no mission in Afghanistan or Iraq, unless you believe that al Qaeda is going to have a fleet of aircraft,' says McCain, a former combat pilot himself. '[The F-22] has not flown a single combat mission... I don't think the F-22 will ever be seen in the combat it was designed to counter, because that threat is no longer in existence.'"

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Hmm. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#39910491)

Although many believe that when you sign up for the military, you're agreeing to die for your country, I would like to remind them that this is not exactly Plan A; The goal is to make the other bastard die for theirs. And a defective plane that causes a pilot to pass out while engaged in combat rather defeats that purpose. These pilots are quite right to refuse to fly it -- it's not flight-worthy if it can't even hold up under non-combat conditions.

Not only that... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 2 years ago | (#39910565)

...but for those who say the threat "isn't there", I guess this [ausairpower.net] is just a figment of the imagination then? And they certainly didn't have any "help" [dailymail.co.uk]...

Oh, I know, China isn't a "threat". The fact that it's on track to exceed US military spending by 2025 [economist.com] must be for "peaceful regional defense". This [nytimes.com] isn't [economist.com] really [economist.com] happening [nytimes.com].

What about the F-35? Oh, yeah — that, too. [aviationweek.com]

Re:Not only that... (-1, Flamebait)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 years ago | (#39910605)

McCain is a senile old man who never got his PTSD treated. It's unfortunate that he is still in office but just because he says the threat isn't there doesn't mean people are going to pay heed.

Re:Not only that... (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#39910639)

McCain is a senile old man who never got his PTSD treated. It's unfortunate that he is still in office but just because he says the threat isn't there doesn't mean people are going to pay heed.

That's pretty evident. His statement:
   

'There is no purpose, no mission in Afghanistan or Iraq, unless you believe that al Qaeda is going to have a fleet of aircraft,

shows he is perpetually fighting the LAST war, and never thinking about what might happen next. These aircraft were never intended for Afghanistan or Iraq.

Re:Not only that... (5, Interesting)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#39910699)

His point seems valid. Air superiority hasn't been remotely in question in any war the US has been involved in since WWII. $80B was a massive waste of money for a plane that after 15 years of development is still not combat-ready (and more notably hasn't been missed in the slightest).

Re:Not only that... (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#39910781)

It seems valid only to people who will not learn the lessons of history.

And I will point out that the reason there has never been a question of Air Superiority is precisely because the US was always looking at the Soviets as the next potential combatant, and developing high-tech planes for that eventuality. Now they are looking at the Chinese, or their client states, as well as places like Iran or Syria that have something like 50 times the anti-air missile technology that Iraq had.

You can't seriously be suggesting that we wait till there is a superior opponent kicking our asses before we start development can you? It sure sounds like you are.

The money was all spent here, and the aircraft will server for 30 years.

Re:Not only that... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#39910871)

Air superiority hasn't been in question because we made every effort to be superior. Once we lack superiority, you can bet someone else will be using their superior jets.

Re:Not only that... (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 2 years ago | (#39911053)

1. That is incorrect. In Korea the US did have issues with air superiority until we deployed the F-86 and even then it was touch and go.
2. Since then we have had air superiority because we have spent the most to develop it and keep it but even over vietnam we only had a roughly 1:1 kill ratio.

Guess what? The same thing has been said about just about every aircraft ever developed. The F-4 was big and expensive and people said we would be better off just buying more F8Us. The F-15 was big and expensive and didn't see combat for a decade after it's first flight.
And so on and so on.
The F-15 is late 1960s tech. It is older than most of you on this board. It is now getting threatened by SU-32s and Su-37s.

Re:Not only that... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910747)

shows he is perpetually fighting the LAST war, and never thinking about what might happen next. These aircraft were never intended for Afghanistan or Iraq.

The F-22s were designed for the cold war and in much greater numbers. So much for forward thinking eh ?
200 aircraft is too small a number to do 2 things :
-insure the integrity of the US airspace
- and deploy a sufficient number of F-22 to insure the air superiority of a hypothetical future battlefield that is not 100 km^2.
In fact the number of F-22 is so small that the US military is too afraid to use them and potentially lose them on the battlefield. Much much better to lose then at home.
They have become so costly as to be useless for all pratical purposes.

Same problem as the B-2s. Why do we keep flying B-52s in bombing missions instead of B-2s ?
Answer : we have a fuckton of B-52s and they are cheap, we have 20 B-2s and they cost a billion each so losing one is not acceptable.

Military weapons that are too costly and in few numbers is never a good thing.

Re:Not only that... (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#39910827)

200 is plenty.

You build the weapons you need in the quantity you need. We have drones to do the super dangerous missions, and tons of F16s FA-18s, F-15s to rule the roost once the the F22s sweep the skys. Please don't assume because you have a computer and an internet connection that you are qualified to design force levels for a theater you can only guess at. Production has been purposely held back so that the country can be bankrupted paying for healthcare.

Having an aircraft designed, tested, and an assembly line in place, these very small aircraft can be built in great numbers very fast as soon as cost become not a constraint.

The F22 was not designed for a cold war. It was deigned for air to air combat.

Re:Not only that... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#39910679)

McCain is a senile old man who never got his PTSD treated. It's unfortunate that he is still in office but just because he says the threat isn't there doesn't mean people are going to pay heed.

He's suggesting we wait until someone's shooting at us before checking to see if we packed our guns and ammo. "Senile" is being kind. I'd rather we have tools we don't need than need tools we don't have.

Re:Not only that... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911155)

I'd rather we have tools we don't need than need tools we don't have.

Of course you would. The real question is how much does that cost and is it worth it. Assuming that you do support spending money on these tools, what amount is right? Would $10 trillion be justified for military spending because we need the tools and security. Is $1 trillion right? How about 1/2 trillion? We shouldn't justify spending this way.

The same holds true for other forms of spending. School lunches can't be determined by the argument that any amount is justified if it helps one starving child.

We need to be thinking about what we need to accomplish and what we are willing to spend on it. Get away from thinking one thing needs to be cut and one thing needs more spending. Think about what spending is needed and move towards that goal. If you don't know how much we should spend on something then either do more research or step out of the debate.

Re:Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910945)

Only an ignorant buffoon would make such a statement. You know nothing about warfare, geriatrics, or PTSD.

The story has less to do with McCain and everything to do with USAF pilots.

And to the guy who says that McCain is fighting the last war, didn't read the article, because the F-22 was designed for anticipated contingencies that in large part are not relevant on today's battlefield, so there is time to get the bugs out before the aircraft is deployed in combat when those anticipated contingencies are relevant.

Re:Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910651)

Yeah the only match out there is in a as-of-yet undeveloped Chinese fighter. The one you see in the photos there is generally regarded as a barely flight-worthy test aircraft, not a combat capable fighter. Last estimates I saw put them somewhere in the range of 10 years out from working fleet of current-generation fighters.

But then, the F/22 isn't exactly a useful tool right now with the air problems. But bang that out and they've got the finest fighter ever constructed. So good, we can't even think of a reason to have 'em. Which might be a first for a military with a ~$1 trillion/yr budget.

Re:Not only that... (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39910683)

The projections are wild guesses based on a few years data and sustained exponential growth. The US outspends China almost 10:1, and has for the past 10 years, that doesn't look to be changing, but China will still be spending more in 13 years than the US, who is spending 10 times as much today.

China will never have enough to invade the US, so it isn't a worry. At best, they could attack/invade isolated islands, but China wouldn't be able to invade the US. It would take 10 years of obvious build-up to where they could. The LA police is better armed and trained than any force China could project in California, and would likely be able to repel an invasion of Long Beach without US military involvement.

China has lots of people in their military, and unless Russia completes the tunnel under the Bearing Straight, China couldn't get them to US soil without us killing them faster than they could land them (and if the tunnel was built, I expect it would be shut down fast, in case of war).

There exists no scenario where China threatens the US mainland. The US could abolish the standing army, let China build up for 5-10 years, and China would still be unable to invade the mainland. China is as much a threat to the US as someone who gets a picnic overrun with ants, then asserts they must spend $10,000,000 to ant-proof their $100,000 house because ants could invade at any time, and insecticides would be too little too late.

Re:Not only that... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910697)

Not much the Chinese can do with that aircraft as they are limited in range. It is good for defending or may be invading their corner of Asia. They barely have 1 carrier and don't exactly have bases outside of the area like the US or NATO do should an actual war breaks out...

Re:Not only that... (0, Flamebait)

Beelzebud (1361137) | about 2 years ago | (#39910767)

War mongers like you really have no shame do you?

Re:Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910823)

And idiots like you don't pay attention to reality.

Please tell me how China would be a better global superpower, and how the world would be better off under greater influence from China, Russia, and transnational/non-state actors.

Re:Not only that... (-1, Troll)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 2 years ago | (#39910843)

Oh yeah, I forgot — the world we live in would be a happy, peaceful utopia if not for the US. The US is the sole source of evil in the world, and the only adversaries we do have are enemies we have made or manufactured ourselves.

It must be nice to live in that place where you can lay blame on the US, because it means you don't have to consider the reality that there are evil people and ideals in the world, and that principles of freedom need to be protected.

Re:Not only that... (-1, Flamebait)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#39910977)

Actually yes.

Wherever anyone else is thinking about causing trouble, US with its sycophants club (NATO) jumps in and causes more death and destruction than the original ashole could ever hope to achieve. On sides that make no sense. Seriously, supporting Kosovo separatists (muslim terrorists)? Shia in Iraq (more muslim religious nuts)? Muslim coup in Libya? Oh, I see the pattern...

So maybe there are worse aggressors, maybe there are not, but it's not visible behind all the destruction US causes.

Re:Not only that... (1)

Sancho (17056) | about 2 years ago | (#39911069)

The US sticks it's nose where it doesn't belong because it's in their interests. Better to have the middle east in turmoil than unified against the west.

Re:Not only that... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#39911215)

When it happens to people, it's called paranoia, and those people are placed into a mental clinic.
When it happens to countries, everyone else stocks up on nukes.
And now you know why your stupid "non-proliferation" is dead.

Re:Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911157)

Oh hai, Jeremiah Cornelius. You have two, low-uid accounts for your anti-american hate-trolling? wtf.

Re:Not only that... (0)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#39911193)

No. But if it makes any difference for you, I am Russian, so it would be strange if I loved your government and its ideology.

Re:Not only that... (1)

cdrnet (1582149) | about 2 years ago | (#39910795)

Interesting that you question China's motive behind its increasing military spending, yet seem perfectly fine with the US military spending which is apparently still much larger than China's. Yes, it's ok for the US to plan for more than just "peacful regional defense" (they're actually obligated to do so), but the same is also true for China. No, I don't like that either, but it's rational.

Re:Not only that... (1)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#39910925)

The same economist that predicts that China will be a larger economy than the US by 2018? Here's the take from a finance professor in China:

http://www.mpettis.com/2012/05/03/revisiting-predictions/ [mpettis.com]

Also, fwiw, the US military expenditure is such that, if the EU were to spend twice that amount each year, it would take them 20-25 years to catch up in might. So call me skeptical about China, of all backward places, catching up with the US any time soon. The only actual power-balance comes from nukes, and even those are bordering on obsolescence with the advent of missile defense.

Re:Not only that... (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#39911105)

But as we saw everywhere from WWII to Gulf War it ain't the bird, its the man. There is a good reason that the only time the USA pilots score went down was during the political bullshit of Vietnam (give them missiles that work best at long range and then refuse to let them engage until visually IDed, yeah what could go wrong?) and that is because our pilots are insanely well trained and the other guys? Not so much. The only ones so far that could go head to head with us was the Russians who likewise gave an insane amount of training to their pilots.

The problem we are making is funnily enough the exact same one the Germans made in WWII, that is quality over quantity. As McCain said we have NEVER allowed the F22 in combat, why? Too damned expensive to risk it. doesn't make for a good selling point, it's like Nigel's guitar "Don't look at it! Well don't point either!" while the Russians are cranking out MiGs for less than $60 mil flyaway and the SU27 was even cheaper last i checked, something like 35 mil.

IMHO the MUCH better choice if you want stealth is the F15 Stealth Eagle which is a battle tested platform and you can buy 3 for the cost of 1 F22 or F35. We should cancel the lame duck F35 and buy improved F-18s, F16s, and F15s in both regular and stealth packages and concentrate on giving our boys plenty of time in the sims and in the air instead of trillion dollar turkeys. Remember what Stalin said "quantity is a quality all its own" and considering they built 60,000+ T34s to Germany building less than 2000 Tiger Is I'd say the man had a point. If you want even more stealth than the Eagle build a fricking drone, with the new engines that would be a better goal anyway since they can pull more Gs than a pilot can survive.

BTW that reminds me...WTF are we doing still making planes you sit down in? We have known since WWII that if you put the pilot flat on their belly they can take 3 to 5 times the G forces as someone in a sitting position, so why are we building superplanes where you sit down? all that means is we'll have to put limits on their performance much lower than the plane can actually take to keep from killing the pilot, so why do it?

Re:Hmm. (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#39910609)

Precisely.

I'll note that members of the military are sworn to follow only lawful orders, and are likewise duty-bound to disobey unlawful orders.

One could definitely argue that while "fly this plane into extremely dangerous enemy territory and blow them up, we'll give you all the support we can but there's still pretty good odds you won't make it back" is a lawful order, "fly this plane on a routine practice mission over our own, undisputed territory, that's likely to kill you for no reason" is not. At the very least, you could argue that your death and the subsequent loss of the aircraft would amount to sabotage of America's defenses.

Re:Hmm. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910703)

our own, undisputed territory, that's likely to kill you for no reason"

Well if that undisputed territory is going to kill you, it is going to need a reason... Like "Wrath of the Hillbillies" or something...

Re:Hmm. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910705)

actually, it's officers who have the right to interpret orders. as an enlisted or noncom you can still be convicted for refusing to follow an order from your CoC regardless of merit.

Re:Hmm. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910953)

I don't know what backwoods piece of shit branch of service you served in but in the Marines we are honor bound to do the right thing.

I will tell you how my drill instructor told us many years ago while on one of our many island hopping campaigns (those were fun ugg)

"A Marine is bound to always do what is right. If a superior gives you an order that you know you should not follow you better not."
"However bitches here is the kicker. YOU HAD BETTER BE FUCKING RIGHT!"

in other words when an enlisted person refuses an order he deems unlawful he had BETTER BE FUCKING RIGHT! (or he is fucked)
There is no gray area for an enlisted person it is a very black and white situation, right or wrong.

My favorite marine quote.

"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! "
Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945

Re:Hmm. (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#39911019)

Except that, as far as this civilian knows, pilots in the USAF are commissioned officers. So even if I did buy that "officers-only" argument (which I don't, unless you can provide some evidence), it still does not apply to this case.

Re:Hmm. (2)

stjobe (78285) | about 2 years ago | (#39911087)

actually, it's officers who have the right to interpret orders. as an enlisted or noncom you can still be convicted for refusing to follow an order from your CoC regardless of merit.

Since TFA is about F-22 pilots, I'll note that all of them are officers. I don't think the USAF has any enlisted pilots at all - aircrew yes, but pilots are all officers.

Re:Hmm. (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#39911133)

actually, it's officers who have the right to interpret orders. as an enlisted or noncom you can still be convicted for refusing to follow an order from your CoC regardless of merit.

Um, no. Everyone in the military, from E-1 to O-10, has both the right and the duty to refuse an unlawful order. And officers can also convicted for refusing to obey an order if they thought it was unlawful, but the court-martial finds otherwise. Obviously political reality enters into this -- a corporal is a lot more likely to end up behind bars for refusing to obey an order than is a colonel -- but under the law, there's essentially no difference between the obligations of officers and enlisted in this regard.

Re:Hmm. (2)

Robert Frazier (17363) | about 2 years ago | (#39911201)

Exactly. Look at Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Shakespeare got it more or less right In Henry V: "Every subject's duty is the king's; but every subject's soul is his own." (I'll leave it to the reader to update where necessary.)

Best wishes,
Bob

i can see it now... (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39910503)

"red one this is red leader... oh geez i feel a bit woozy..."

"gopeh... luke... i... am your father"

60 Minutes is already covering the story in depth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910507)

If Slashdot employed real journalists then it would've had the scoop months ago. Instead Slashdot is just another referral farm.

Re:60 Minutes is already covering the story in dep (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#39910715)

If Slashdot employed real journalists then it would've had the scoop months ago. Instead Slashdot is just another referral farm.

You are aware that Slashdot is not, has never been, and has never said or implied that it is a primary news source?

It's a, you know, discussion blog based on user submissions? Hell, I don't think there is any evidence that Slashdot even employs any editors.

There is a point (4, Insightful)

Henriok (6762) | about 2 years ago | (#39910511)

There is a point for the F22, and that is to suppress all other power's desire to make stuff that will encounter it. That's why the US have nuclear weapons, not to use them but to deter others from using such weapons agains them. So.. it very well might be well spent money.. but we never know, since we won't see the stuff that the F22 is designed to encounter..and that's the point.

Re:There is a point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910537)

The rest of the world isn't standing still. Their air forces improve every year too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAK-FA
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengdu_J-20

Re:There is a point (2)

robcozzens (1835894) | about 2 years ago | (#39910539)

Yup, that's the only thing stopping al Qaeda from developing an air fleet--they know it would be out-gunned by our F22's.

Re:There is a point (1)

giampy (592646) | about 2 years ago | (#39910759)

Agreed. Besides we basically have the F35 ready by now. So tossing the F22 would really be the most sensible thing to do, and i would argue that the only reason why we haven't done it already it's because people get attached to their pork.

Funny how the same people that want to starve the government start to cry bloody murder when government supported defense jobs are at stake.

Re:There is a point (1)

s2jcpete (989386) | about 2 years ago | (#39910979)

We haven't dumped the F-22 for the F-35 as they are two different roles. F-35 is designed to be a multi role aircraft, the F-22 is air superiority only. Back in the day there was a phrase for the F-15: "Not a pound for ground", the same applies to the F-22.

Re:There is a point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911033)

The F35 is a piece of shit because the Navy got their fingers into the pie before it was done cooking. The original plan was to have the F35 as a general airframe that could be modified to suit everyone's needs. The first F35 incarnation was to be for the Air Force. It was supposed to be somewhat stealthy with really good performance. Someone thought it might save money to make the F35 Navy and F35 Air Force practically the same plane. So now the Air Force version has to comply with Navy standards..which include standards of size, max takeoff/landing distance (due to carriers), maintenance, specialized, gear, etc.

So now you have a plane with relatively shitty performance that flies like a brick and has a ton of external nonstealthy hard points. An F16 will mop the floor with an F35 in a dogfight. In addition, it sucks for close in air support because its flight characteristics suck. It flies like a damn brick. It will be unforgiving as hell.

Basically, the F35 is ruined. They need to scrap it and start over with everything they learned from the F35. Maybe make an F36..the F37 can be a navy version of the F36, to come after the F36 has come out in production.

Re:There is a point (1)

LeperPuppet (1591409) | about 2 years ago | (#39911229)

You're partially correct, though you should be blaming the Marines and their idiotic STOVL requirements for screwing over the JSF requirements before blaming the Navy. STOVL forced the development of a costly large single engine instead of using two smaller existing engines, as well as requiring a non-stealthy rear exhaust nozzle and imposing other constraints on weight and size.

Re:There is a point (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39910549)

Ok, if you want to make that argument, you take an F16, skin it to look like an F22, make hundreds of them and fly'em around and look scary.

Would work for about a month until the paint fell off. I'm all for shock and awe, but spending 80+ billion on a bluff is just batshit stupid.

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910589)

yes, not to mention it worked really well with the "Nuclear deterrent" that oh, no other countries in the world are developing or have already developed their own nukes. nope. not a single one. really. the Cuban Missile Crisis is a myth.

Re:There is a point (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 years ago | (#39910659)

Yeah you're right, obviously, because we've been nuked so many times. Oh, we haven't?

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910725)

Re-read the OP's post. He said the point of making such powerful and scary tools of combat and destruction was to discourage the enemy from even bothering to try. He cited nuclear weapons as an example in addition to the F22. The existence of other nation's nuclear programs is clearly a refutation to that argument.

Re:There is a point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910633)

Spending 80+ billion on a bluff would be stupid. The F22 is however not a bluff. It is the deadliest, sneakiest air superiority fighter ever created by man. The US government has spent 80+ billion ensuring that every other nation on Earth has planes in the air only because the US lets them, and the Russians and Chinese amongst others know this.

Re:There is a point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910671)

Spending 80+ billion on a bluff would be stupid. The F22 is however not a bluff. It is the deadliest, sneakiest air superiority fighter ever created by man. The US government has spent 80+ billion ensuring that every other nation on Earth has planes in the air only because the US lets them, and the Russians and Chinese amongst others know this.

You can assess the effetiveness of a weapon only when its been through fire.
F-22s up to now are a bluff, a very expensive bluff.
The day they go on the battlefield and emerge unscathed after being fired upon by the state of the art sam batteries then we can say yeah F-22s are great.

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911169)

you need to look up the word "bluff", you keep using it incorrectly

Re:There is a point (5, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#39911175)

The F22 is however not a bluff. It is the deadliest, sneakiest air superiority fighter ever created by man.

And apparently, some of its pilots agree with you.

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910665)

It's not a bluff (at least, it wouldn't be if the thing worked properly). It's preemptive outspending and winning the race before it starts. Why bother even trying to catch up when you're that far behind?

Whether that's a good or effective method is a different question, though. :)

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910687)

It's not a bluff (at least, it wouldn't be if the thing worked properly). It's preemptive outspending and winning the race before it starts. Why bother even trying to catch up when you're that far behind?

Whether that's a good or effective method is a different question, though. :)

The problem with this way of thinking is that you can very easily outspend and go bankrupt.
Hey that's the reason the US won the cold war. The USSR couldn't outspend the US and went bankrupt in the process.

Re:There is a point (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#39911075)

That's a myth created to justify US military-industrial complex. USSR had all its industry, including military one, running as a giant nonprofit. There was nothing to "spend" as government would end up paying to itself.

In US, on the other hand, everything runs on pseudo-debt -- government basically undermines its currency by printing it, giving it to military industry and not expecting anything back that it can sell, so it dilutes currency with no useful effect. That can "bankrupt" the country if currency will be damaged enough for other countries to stop using it.

Oh, and those "money" you "owe" to China. They know, you will never pay that back. They humor you while your market is useful for their own economy development. Once your economy will go downhill, your debt will be written off as expense of building Chinese economy. They know it. Russia knows it. EU knows it. Even I know it. You are the only people delusional enough to believe otherwise.

Re:There is a point (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39910719)

The difference is that the F-22 is not a bluff. It's real. It's more like wanting all your opponents to fold. A bluff is to bet high with poor cards. Betting high with good cards hoping to scare off everyone else so you win by default so nobody will see the cards to know if it was a bluff, or if your "high cards" were "only" two pair or a straight flush is a different tactic that is not a bluff. You can't shock and awe with a bluff.

Re:There is a point (4, Interesting)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#39910761)

Which in fact seems to be China's exact strategy with the J-20. Build a barely working prototype that superficially looks like the F-22, and let the US continue to spend billions (borrowed from them!) to pay for development of something to "counter" it.

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910825)

Ok, if you want to make that argument, you take an F16, skin it to look like an F22, make hundreds of them and fly'em around and look scary.

Would work for about a month until the paint fell off. I'm all for shock and awe, but spending 80+ billion on a bluff is just batshit stupid.

How do you know they're not doing just that?

Re:There is a point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910829)

The F-22 started production in 1997. Accepting your 80 bil$ figure, that's less than six billion a year. In FY 2011, the US spent roughly 3600 billion$. The F-22 was 0,06% of the federal budget. Perhaps you disagree with running a deficit, though. FY 2011 tax receipts (and taxes are not even the sole income of the Federal government) were over 2300 bil$. We're still looking at only 0,26% of Federal income (again, actually less because there are other sources of income).

Let's apply this to a household. The average household income is a bit over 44k$. Now, families don't have (as much of) the option of spending past their income, so we'll use the 0,26% figure. In terms of a family budget, then, the F-22 programme costs about 100$ a year.

This seems perfectly reasonable. A home security alarm company will charge around four times that. In both cases, the goal is to prevent an attack. However, while the alarm, should this goal fail, can only report the attack, the F-22 can counterattack (and this ability, incidentally, means it is more than simply a bluff; I'm not bluffing when I have a royal flush).

Re:There is a point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910555)

There is a point for the F22, and that is to suppress all other power's desire to make stuff that will encounter it. That's why the US have nuclear weapons, not to use them but to deter others from using such weapons agains them. So.. it very well might be well spent money.. but we never know, since we won't see the stuff that the F22 is designed to encounter..and that's the point.

What bullshit. The end of the cold war put an end to the Seawolf program, the B-2 program and it should have put an end on the F-22 program. A military weapon without a mission is useless. And the F-22 is useless. You won't use it on the battlefield because there is the possibility that they can be shot down. So of what use is it ?
F-22 is not a deterrant, it is not a strategic weapon. It's just money down the shithole. Scrap the program and use drones.

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910587)

There is a point for the F22, and that is to suppress all other power's desire to make stuff that will encounter it.

Yes. all the other powers are sitting back saying 'why bother coming up with a countermeasure when the aircraft itself kills it's meatsack pilot then crashes?'

No. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#39910593)

To use the F-22 correctly we'd have to go to war with Russia or China. If that happens then there are a lot of other issues that are more important than the F-22.

If we fight another proxy war (like Vietnam was or when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan) then we'll probably be using drones.

Follow the money. Who's making the profit on the F-22?

Re:No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910987)

Everybody. The F-22 was designed, above all, to have at least one part manufactured in nearly every Congressional district.

Re:There is a point (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | about 2 years ago | (#39910597)

Good point (even with the Patton [imdb.com] reference). However, I think there are other, current, weapons systems that can do the job of the F22 for much cheaper. Also, in this era of deficit and debt, it makes sense to trim back the Defense budget which is still largely based on fighting an enemy which ceased to exist 20 years ago.

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910631)

but why won't other countries like China and Russia use exactly the same argument to develop their own fighters and weapons?

Re:There is a point (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#39910743)

There is a point for the F22, and that is to suppress all other power's desire to make stuff that will encounter it.

If that's true, then the "other powers" are pretty much guaranteed to win. You know that's how NATO eventually defeated the Soviet Union, right? No need to fight, just make your opponent spend so much money on perceived threats it bankrupts them.

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910879)

If only they followed that plan, the terrorists would be winning.

Re:There is a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910943)

That's why the US have nuclear weapons, not to use them but to deter others from using such weapons agains them.

I'm not sure that's the best of examples. After all, the US are basically the ONLY country that has actually used nuclear weapons on civilians. So... no... the "we have nuclear weapons not to use them" claim is not as obvious and clear as it might seem to you.

It does work for everyone else, though (including countries like Iran). When you have a country, such as the US, that has shown in the past (more than once) that:

1) they are not very likely to respect your country's sovereignty, if it conflicts with whatever it is they don't like;

2) are willing to deploy nuclear weapons on people;

it becomes obvious why countries which have ideologies not aligned with US's (and/or are simply unwilling to take US's coercion), like Iran et al., are doing whatever is within their power to find some "deterrent".

Re:There is a point (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 2 years ago | (#39911249)

"That's why the US have nuclear weapons, not to use them but to deter others from using such weapons agains them."

Looks funny, then, that it is USA the only country that in fact used them.

No purpose? You sure about that? (2)

mykos (1627575) | about 2 years ago | (#39910527)

There is no purpose, no mission in Afghanistan or Iraq, unless you believe that al Qaeda is going to have a fleet of aircraft

But there are companies with lucrative military contracts in Iraq, so it has a purpose for someone.

Re:No purpose? You sure about that? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39910573)

What I don't get is this: They could make equal money building out a fleet of say, 1000 F16 / F18 Superwhaterver BlockZ aircraft. Scary enough and potent enough to deal with any adversary in the next several decades. Cheap enough for generic use.

Something else is going on, maybe military penis size or something.

Re:No purpose? You sure about that? (5, Funny)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 2 years ago | (#39910707)

What I don't get is this: They could make equal money building out a fleet of say, 1000 F16 / F18 Superwhaterver BlockZ aircraft. Scary enough and potent enough to deal with any adversary in the next several decades. Cheap enough for generic use.

But this is the F22. It's 4 louder than the F18!

Something else is going on, maybe military penis size or something.

A little known fact: the famed pacifist Gandhi had the biggest cock in all of India. He'd swim in the Ganges, and people would think that an anaconda was following him. Which was kind of weird, since anacondas live in South America. Then Gandhi and Martin Luther King would stand on opposite sides of the river and have a swordfight.

Re:No purpose? You sure about that? (4, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39910771)

The military also learned that dead people lose wars. Wars will all be won, so long as the public is behind them. But dead people undermine public support. So a more expensive aircraft with a 1% better survival rate isn't worth the money, but will get built and deployed because it will help the "war effort" They should just rename the defense department back to the original and more fitting name. Everything it does is to start and win wars, not to prevent them and save people. Only the "loss" of Vietnam (a political loss, not a military one, the military could have held the south indefinately, like Korea, if only the public hadn't stopped supporting it, and the dead people helped undermine it, though more die in car crashes than the Vietnam war and nobody cares, so people are insane and fickle).

So the expensive equipment is better for the War effort, even if 1000 F16s and A-10s would kill more enemies in a shorter period of time for less money, because A-10s get shot down because they go low and slow. And it's not successes that win wars anymore, but lack of losses.

Re:No purpose? You sure about that? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#39910923)

I suspect it's largely psychological/political - they want to keep funding the R&D to develop the next-gen aircraft technologies so that we maintain our superiority. But once you've spent tons and tons of money developing the tech and building the first plane you're then in the position where this one plane cost hundreds of billions to create, whereas the the next will only cost tens. If you build a fleet you may spend twice as much, but at least you have a whole fleet of planes to show for it and the amortized cost per plane looks less ridiculous. It "feels" like less of a waste, even if the planes will never be used and you could have gotten most the real benefit by just building the first plane.

General Hostage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910611)

Does Gen. Mike Hostage have a Major Asshole serving under him by any chance?

Air Superiority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910613)

The F22 was made for air superiority. The "A" designator was added later due to the fact that the need for air superiority has diminished. I think it is wrong to say that there is no need for an air superiority fighter. We may still contend with China and we may still contend with Russia. The F22 may see action yet in the middle east or the DPRK.

If you want to eliminate an expensive weapons system who's need has diminished, look under water. That's where the real money is. There are all kinds of aircraft for the F22 to kill. There aren't many naval vessels for subs to target.

Al Qaeda is not the only mission objective of the US military.

Re:Air Superiority (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910641)

The sub fleet has been scaled back as well but subs are much more versatile than the F-22s will ever be.

Headline seems a bit grandiose. (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#39910629)

Sen. John McCain says that the jets, which the Air Force call the future of American air dominance, are a waste of their $79 billion price tag and serve no role in today's combat environment.

If the Libyans had acquired Eurofighters, rafales or if the syrians had any decent russian aircraft he'd be singing a different tune. Yes NATO has air assets that can handle SU27's and Mig 29's, but you end up in a shooting war with eretria, or sudan or syria and they manage to down even one US aircraft people will be wondering wtf there wasn't something better available.

The problem with *all* military spending is that you're trying to guess future needs and have something that can cope with an unknown problem. It's not like the US was stupid enough to only buy f22's (at the astronomical price that would have entailed). The US Air force has something like 2400 'fighters' of which about 200 are F22's. That's not counting the Navy. For what they do that seems like a fairly reasonable allotment of 'might need for air superiority role' for the next 20 years or so. One can argue specifics on stealth, performance or total numbers, but it doesn't seem like the F22 purchase was wildly out of place by US standards. As with any piece of equipment it's possible there is something wrong with a system (in this case the oxygen system), but that could be a maintenance issue, a replacement part issue a design issue, or any number of other things. Whenever you buy any piece of equipment (including a car) you take the chance that something on it will be defective.

Re:Headline seems a bit grandiose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910663)

What the hell has happened to Slashdot? This is the only article Iv'e seen with rational comments. Not just yours, buta whole lot. I don't get it.

Re:Headline seems a bit grandiose. (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39910713)

The BIG problem with the F22 and F35 is the military is putting the cart before the horse. They design an aircraft that has never flown and pushes the technical envelope in dozens of different ways and then try to come in on a budget. They NEVER, EVER get even close to budget. Never.

Why they think it will be different this time I don't know.

What they SHOULD be doing is giving the advanced designs over to the various skunk works. Let them come up with the tech. When it's mature enough for production, then put it in line of battle machinery. Not before. Yes, that means you have to fund R&D better, but that's what you're doing anyway, just doing a half assed job of it. The advantage there is you aren't hosed if one of the high tech gizmos doesn't turn out the way you want it - you just design the device around another tech. Once you freeze the design, it's much harder to change.

Possible Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910645)

Its obvious they cannot find the source of this issue, so its not a fault with the aircraft. Its most likely this:

For the article:

"Low frequency radio waves cannot be shielded against, at least not in the form factor of an aircraft. The technology can quite comfortably reproduce the symptoms of a wide range of illnesses, from mental illnesses to heart attacks. Most disturbingly for pilots, is the ability to electrically induce a fake form of vertigo and motor function discombobulation similar to the effects of rapid decompression."
http://deepthought.newsvine.com/_news/2011/02/14/6052952-the-end-of-the-airforce

Don't SAY THAT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910647)

If those damned aliens have an internet connection, how do you think they will react? More so when we cancel that shit. All hell will break loose man!

The bleeding edge (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39910709)

The F22 is a remarkable aircraft. It has some problems but they all did. It takes decades to work out all the bugs.

Is the F22 meaningless because it's foe doesn't exist. Not really. It's silly to think we don't need air superiority fighters simply because of the war on terror. Don't try to fight the last war. That's over. We need tools for the NEXT war which might well include more technologically savvy enemies.

That said, I think the real problem the F22 is that it isn't a drone. Generally, the future of all combat aircraft especially frontline aircraft should be towards autonomous flight. Not only are they more expendable, they're cheaper. And pesky issues like no oxygen go away since there's no pilot. Think of them like reusable AA missiles. You deploy a few if you think there is a chance of air attack and they intercept anything that wants to play. Or if you want to send it on a mission... same thing...

I'm not saying we can replace humans in all seats YET. But a control plane... possibly one of the refueling planes hundreds of miles from the target might have a small control crew that can pilot such a craft remotely.

I don't know... the F22 is amazing. Truly amazing aircraft. But it requires a pilot and that might be a problem.

Re:The bleeding edge (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39910757)

The Shuttle was Truly Amazing (the most complex device ever devised by man). But it wasn't a good idea because it was too expensive and too complicated.

Sometimes you just want to meet your military objectives, not amaze your friends and enemies.

Re:The bleeding edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910773)

Then they have to autonomously fight their enemy too. You can't have a freakin 2000 ms roundtrip in a dog fight that is why we have humans in fighters.

Re:The bleeding edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910999)

I think this is silly. It's a future where wars are basically a question of who can spit out war machines the fastest. It's gonna make for expensive wars that can only be won by killing lots and lots of civilians to slow the enemy's war machine production.

We either have to give up on war or we have to go back to wars that had strict rules where most death was limited to engagements between two armies.

Re:The bleeding edge (1, Offtopic)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 2 years ago | (#39911151)

HTML5 is a remarkable protocol. It has some problems but they all did. It takes decades to work out all the bugs.

Is HTML5 meaningless because the web it was designed for doesn't exist. Not really. It's silly to think we don't need to redefine web page syntax simply because of the introduction of css. Don't try to fight the last war. That's over. We need tools for the NEXT war which might well include more technologically inept web developers.

That said, I think the real problem with HTML5 is that it isn't an iPhone app. Generally, the future of all web based software especially on the client-side should be towards portable devices. Not only are they more expendable, they're cheaper. And pesky issues like no keyboard go away since there's no content. Think of them like downloadable shareware apps. You deploy a few if you think there is a chance that people might take passing interest and they intercept anyone that wants to play. Or if you want people to actually use it on a daily basis... same thing...

I'm not saying we can replace rich client and user in PC seats YET. But a tabet... possibly one of the next screenless iPhones, a hundred meters from the iPhone might have a small control software suite that can enhance such apps remotely.

I don't know... HTML5 is amazing. Truly amazing protocol. But it requires content, and that might be a problem.

You will look fondly on $79 billion (5, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#39910809)

When the near trillion dollar price tag for the F-35 comes due. Already nearly 5 years behind schedule, with hundreds of billions in cost overruns and no end in sight. 7 project ending design flaws uncovered in the last Quick Look Review. And the model being built for the Marines, they don't even want it. The Naval version is melting carrier decks and the Air Force version doesn't fly well. Plus most of the Tier 1 nations that are supposed to buy it in return for building components for it, are starting to bail out and contracting with rapid upgrades of the soon to be discontinued F-16 or purchasing the Eurofighter or Dassault Rafale.

And the really sad thing is that their early competition, the Boeing F-32 was widely acknowledged to be a better cheaper more efficient and elegant AND more advanced plane but it was not selected because, and I quote, the Air Force didn't think it looked aggressive enough, compounded with weak VTOL characteristics that now, it's clear, aren't going to work out for the F-35 either because it's SO efficient that it melts runways, which is why the Marines don't want it.

Threat isn't the point (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#39910817)

The point in having an aircraft like the F-22 is that countries like North Korea or Syria or Iran know that they have absolutely no chance against it. Pick a fight and your air force is gone. Period.

The Vietnam Analogy (4, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#39910847)

During the decades before the Vietnam war, everyone was also convinced that conventional air combat was a thing of the past. We even designed our air forces and training regimens around the contemporaneous concept of high-tech air warfare. In Vietnam, however, it turned out that actual combat ended up being more of the same from previous wars. But, our pilots and planes weren't equipped to fight this way, so our pilots found themselves getting their butts handed to them. The Navy, which was less invested in the high-tech warfare concept, was the first to clue in and start training their pilots appropriately and going old school by putting "antiquated" anti-aircraft cannons back into or under their jets.

The point is that the military has been burned at least once badly by the idea that our high-tech trinkets will fundamentally change warfare. While the military will continue to adopt new technology, until there's a shooting war that *proves* the F-22 is an obsolete concept, they won't abandon traditional tactics.

BTW, the F-22 still serves a vital role. You can't use our last two counter-insurgencies to imply that air superiority aircraft aren't needed anymore.

I would bring my own oxygene to fly that thing (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about 2 years ago | (#39910877)

But I don't buy that the oxygene supply is a problem. I'ts been standard equipment in fighters since WW2. Why should it suddenly be a problem on the F22.
There must be some other explanation.
It would make sense if certain pilots didn't like to exploit all the g forces that the F22 can produce in dog fights.
And the effect that it can have on the lower part of your atonomy, as many F16 pilots already know about.

Re:I would bring my own oxygene to fly that thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911039)

It's a problem on the F-22 because rather than take along an oxygen tank, the F-22 tries to siphon oxygen away from the turbine via OBOGS.

So when OBOGS stops working, the pilot can't breathe. Brillant! Nothing like replacing a simple, effective system with something way more complicated and fragile for basically no reason!

Re:I would bring my own oxygene to fly that thing (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#39911131)

My guess would be, they decided to build it from scratch based on what sounded like a great and revolutionary idea.

Short sighted much? (4, Informative)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 2 years ago | (#39911051)

McCain might be right, but his statement sounds frighteningly a lot like when they believed in wars after WW2 that dogfighting aircraft were no longer needed, and then had to make an about-face when the MiG fighters had no American competition in Korea. For a short time in Korea, we had WW2 propeller driven Mustangs fighting against MiG jets. There were even some pilots from WW2 flying, and supposedly helped advise the design of modern jet fighters and dogfighting techniques to counter the MiG.

Kill the Raptor. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911241)

The Drone is the future. It's a waste to keep putting people in a piece of equipment that pushes the limits of Human control while in the cockpit. The drone allows designers to create a plane that our BODIES could never hold up to but our brains could (maybe). It's all SciFi thinking we will be able to fly advanced aircraft from now on.Cockpit Jockey's will be engineered out. It's all being geared towards automation if it hasn't already happened. Eventually all Operations will be Automated. Strategic Planners know this and are beefing up Cyber Command. Same with the NAS. Air Traffic separation will be Automated as well. No need for a Controller except for REAL Emergencies. Bring on NextGen!

this says something (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 2 years ago | (#39911247)

I think it says something when even fighter pilots think something's too dangerous.

also, that's a good rule for guys in general: don't do stupid stuff out of a sense of machismo.

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