Sunday, February 8, 2009

Save the F-22 Raptor ? Yes, But for the Right Reasons

Two USAF F-22A Raptors of the 27th Fighter Squadron (Langley AFB, Virginia). form-up on a KC-10 Extender tanker aircraft while en route to Hill AFB, Utah. (USAF Photo: TSgt. Ben Bloker).

As per usual modus operandi, El Jefe spooled up the Drudge Report this morning and was greeted by a banner ad exhorting readers to help save the F-22 Raptor, because American jobs were depending on it.
The F-22A, presently entering USAF front-line service, is indubitably the finest fighter plane in the world, and is primarily intended to replace the several variants of the F-15 Eagle in the air superiority (fighter vs. fighter) role. The F-35, another new aircraft, is the projected replacement for the F-16. The original requirement was for 750 F-22's, but this has gradually been whittled-down to about 130.
I'm all for the F-22 and the F-35, and if I were El Jefe of America, rather than the Kingdom of Chaos, I'd be spending money on building 600 or so more F-22's and a fleet of F-35's them rather than on "community development block grants," university building projects and the various and sundry other Left-wing nostrums contained in the stimulus nightmare pending before Congress.
Actually I'd put the Navy destroyer, submarine and carrier building programs ahead of the F-22's. But that's beside the point. The banner-ad in Drudge irritated me a little because of the reasons it sought support for the aircraft program. We don't need to build F-22's as some sort of jobs program. We need them to maintain the combat power of the US Air Force and of the United States as opposed to other countries. End of story.
Prince Bismarck once said that people should never witness the making of sausages or legislation. I suppose such pandering for votes is all part of the usual course of business in a republic. Sort of like naming aircraft carriers for living politicians (a policy with which I've indicated some irritation in the past). If playing-up jobs will get the pro-F-22 vote of Congressperson Emptyhead from the State of Ultraleft, than I'm definitely for it. Repulsive to watch, however.


hank_F_M said...

El Jefe

Right on.

With the F-22 we will own the air space over and around any battle. Which means we have freedom to pick what we want to do and how to do it.

If the enemy owns the air space we do what the enemy let’s us do. Read some German operational histories of the fighting in France in 1944-45. It ain’t pretty.

You forgot to mention some good Abrams Tanks.

El Jefe Maximo said...


Funny you mention the Germans in France in 1944. I was thinking some about that recently: it's pretty much a case-study in how conditions of warfare can change so rapidly that even the most experienced participants fail to note it.

I'm talking of course about the big debate in early 44 the Germans had on the use of their Panzer reserves. One faction (mainly associated with the Panzer Group West commander Geyr von Schweppenburg, and with the Oberbefehlshaber West, von Rundstedt) -- wanted to use the Panzers as the Germans had in Russia and elsewhere -- as mobile reserves to be committed when it became apparent where the main allied effort was.

The other faction (associated with Field Marshal Rommel and others with experience fighting the western Allies in Africa and Italy) wanted to use them right up by the beaches to start with.

The debate was never resolved, and the Germans tried to do a little of both, and the airpower you mentioned (time after time) ruined the Panzer columns before they could be committed.

It's clear, as Geyr von Schweppenburg admitted later, that Rommel was right, at least as right as could be under the conditions the Germans labored under: (the Rundstedt faction had some arguing points, including the power of allied naval gunfire and the need to guess the invasion beaches pretty precisely). But the interesting thing is how rapidly the conditions changed: the rapid degree to which the mobile warfare which Panzer officers like Geyr von Schweppenburg became impracticable to the Germans -- mostly because of the air power issue, but also because allied infantry units had access to so much artillery.

Rommel's faction had officers more familiar with the tactics of the western allies, Rundstedt's group was more composed of people who had spent time in Russia. Also, the principals on the Rundstedt side of the argument tended to be a little older...maybe less flexible?

Somewhat of a digression from the original post, but your comment on the Germans tied into some recent reading of mine.

hank_F_M said...

El Jefe

I saw this picture and thought you would like it.

El Jefe’s Imperial Guards. Well almost.

Duff and Nonsense

El Jefe Maximo said...


Splendid pic! Those men look like they're supposed to be Chasseurs à Cheval of Napoléon I's Imperial Guard.

A most splendid regiment, although I would argue that they had great PR in 19th Century terms. Myself, I think the Grenadiers à Cheval were the best of the Guard cavalry; others would argue for some of the lancer regiments. In any case, all guys I'd like on my side.