Did you hear that the Obama administration is cutting the F-22 Raptor program?
First, let’s talk about the simple economics. The F-22 Raptor program was started in 1981 with the goal of creating the next air superiority fighter to replace the F-15. In 2004, the first 51 Raptors were delivered. The cost of development for this program was approximately $60 Billion. Now, that’s a lot of money, but it was also spread out over 23 years. So the annual development cost was not that awful. These planes cost approximately $360 Million each. That’s a lot of money, but again, you have to look at what it replaces.
The F-16, our primary fighter since 1973, costs about $36 Million each. The development of the F-16 began in 1965.
The cost of fighters is actually tied to the number of planes the military ultimately orders. Remember, development of these planes is done by private companies. The incentive to invest billions into development is that there will be a payoff… sometimes 20 years after initial investment. The military initially planned to order 650 planes. The ultimately ordered 187. Thus, we can deduce that the F-22 would have cost roughly $105 Million each, had the military followed through with their plans.
Now let’s talk about the F-22 and why it’s worth three times the cost of an F-16, and why we’re fools for ending the program.
The F-16 is equal to the task of dogfighting with existing enemy fighters. It can maneuver just as well or better than anything else out there. The concept of the F-22 was air superiority. And superior it is indeed.
The F-22 has some amazing characteristics (and I can only speak to those that are not still closely guarded secrets). The F-22 uses directional thrust nozzles to maneuver rather than flaps. This means the plane can do turns and rolls that would tear apart any other fighter. It’s constructed using advanced polymers that are both super strong and contribute to its integrated stealth technology. That’s right, it has stealth technology built in.
It also has the most advanced avionics in the world, as well as the most sophisticated weapons systems ever developed.
A human would not be capable of flying this plane without the help of advanced computing systems. The design is inherently less stable in the air than a typical plane (due to the shape for stealth and the propulsion system). The computers make thousands of adjustments to course and other flight dynamics every second the plane is in flight.
What does this all add up to? Listen to this and I shall enlighten you.
Lockheed Martin sent up an F-22 to dogfight (simulated of course) an F-16. Seven seconds into the exercise, the F-22 shot down the F-16. This was such a silly exercise they decided to up the ante. They sent up two F-16s to fight the F-22. Less than a minute later, both F-16s were shot down. Finally they sent up as many as eight F-16s, and the F-22 took out all of them each and every time. Guess how many times the F-22 lost the fight… zero.
Ultimately in 2006, the military did a full-scale simulated “war” using F-16s and F-22s. They sent up 108 F-16s and 12 F-22s. The F-22s took out all 108 F-16s with no losses. Over the next days, the F-22 had 241 kills.
So we’ve spent $60 billion developing a fighter that can individually wipe out at least 8 enemy planes AT ONCE, and now we’re going to scuttle the program, thanks to the bumbling idiot we have elected to President and CEO of America.
Personally, I like the concept of peace through superior firepower. Do you think that our enemies are going to stop developing next-generation fighters?