Why are we replacing F-22 production with F-35 plans?

Anything goes, as long as it is about the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

How many F-22s should we have?

199 or less
4
10%
200-299
15
38%
300-399
10
25%
400-499
1
3%
500+
10
25%
 
Total votes : 40

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eleanordriver

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Unread post06 Jul 2009, 09:17

The F-22 needs to be produced in larger numbers, as most AF officials agree. Therefore, reducing the number of F-22s and replacing those orders with F-35s is a bad decision, especially since they serve different roles. The F-22s are air superiority fighters with attack capability, similar to the F-15A/C. The AF wants to replace aging aircraft before someone else gets killed, so they need F-22s to replace the oldest F-15s. The F-15s that would be replaced later on would be the F-15C, which the F-22 should also replace, because the F-35 is not made for the same air superiority role. This assumes that the AF needs a similar number of air superiority fighters or ratio of air superiority fighters to multi-role fighters.

When attempting the air superiority role, the F-35 seems to be a lower level fighter than the F-22; lower thrust, lack of thrust vectoring, reportedly higher RCS from the front and much higher RCS from the side, larger IR signature, especially at high speed cruise (F-22 supercruise), and a similar fuel capacity, despite the F-35 consumption; needing afterburners at high speed. For air-to-ground operations, the F-35 has the capability to hold a greater number of weapons, although this advantage means that the extra weapons would be carried externally, increasing RCS.

As far as costs are concerned, we shouldn't worry about the cost of R&D that has already been done when comparing the two aircraft. The R&D cost for the F-22 has been used to further the F-35 program. This money has also already been spent, making it a non-issue. The issue is how much more money each of the aircraft will cost to produce from where we are now.

The F-35 is 80-90 million per aircraft at the current production number estimates. The F-22 is 141 million per aircraft at the current production. Increasing the number of F-22s will reduce the cost of each new F-22, but increase the cost of all the F-35s for each F-35 that it replaces. This works for the F-35 as well, each F-22 that is replaced by the F-35 increases the cost of additional F-22s. Simply increasing the number of aircraft built costs more overall, but increases AF capability. The point I'm trying to make is that we really don't save money by replacing F-22s with F-35s, because the difference increases the cost of the F-22s produced. If we increase the number of F-22s produced to meet AF needs, we will not spend much if any more money.

Here are my problems with the current idea of deployment:

Air Force - The F-35 should not replace F-22s for an air superiority role. It may have been possible to modify the F-22 to take the weapons/payload that the F-35 will, I have seen that it already has 4 external hardpoints, used for air-to-air missiles and fuel These and the weapons systems/software could have been changed to allow for an air-to-ground mission. The advantage of a stealth fighter in attack configuration is reduced with external weapons, for many of these missions an F-16 or F-15E could do the job (ie. attacking guys with AK-47s).

Marines - The F-35B (vertical lift) is capable of vertical landing and takeoff with less than max gross weight. This means that a carrier or runway is required, or payload must be limited. The role of this aircraft will probably be supporting ground troops 90% of the time, meaning external weapons or gun pod would be desired. The aircraft will have to operate somewhere that conventional aircraft could have and have a higher RCS, due to the external payload. A higher RCS means that the stealthy angular design and coatings are somewhat wasted, and the cost and performance loss due to these technologies may not be worth it. The salt water and otherwise dirty conditions (even just at low altitude) would decrease the life cycle of the engines, meaning that they would be more likely to fail. A multi-engine aircraft would have the redundancy that could save aircraft and lives. If the V-22 can run two turboprops at the same speed, the shaft to the lift fan can be linked to both as well.

Navy - Much of the same, the aircraft they use should have two engines. They have requested this for decades, with their most sucessful aircraft, such as the F-4, F-14, and F-18 having two engines. The salt water corrodes these aircraft too quickly, which could be an issue for the maintainability of radar absorbant coatings as well.

Basically, the specialization of an aircraft for each service should be 100% of that aircraft.

This a discussion that should be had in an F-22 thread, because the decisions being made don't seem to suit the requirements of the Air Force.
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Unread post06 Jul 2009, 11:57

Good post but this issue has came up many times on the 22 thread. The reason why the 35 is being "replaced" as you say is because of one man: Gates. He is not putting the F-35 in an air superior role like the F-22 he is buying more F-35's and fewer F-22's because he does not see the value of the F-22 in the wars we are currently fighting. He does not see the need for an air domance fighter in a ground only war. Unfortunaly that is where he is wrong. Gates (whom this guy personally loathes more than the VP) is thinking too much of the now and not of the later. He is canceling much of the DOD's future combat weapon systems such as the ABL, FCS, and NLOSC because we are fighting a very low tech enemy but not all of our enemies are low tech. We are consistly being hacked at the Pentagon by an "unknown" outside source *cough China*, being threated with retaleation by North Korea and having our allies threated with nuclear destruction yet this is not a concern for Gates because it is not actually happening right now. He sees the F-22 as unproven as do most people who are not involved working with the plane as I once was but now I see what its actually capable of and it is really an amazing plane for what it is designed for: air domance. However Gates does not understand why we need an aircraft with such a limited role. Heck I'm not going to lie the F-22 was not meant for air to ground. It can do it but it really shines in the air to air role. He doesn't understand why we don't deploy it to the Middle East but that is because we don't need air cover there and everyone whould crap their pants and accuse us of planning to conduct an invasion if we brought the plane there. Long story short we are short handing ourselves of air domance because we're not in an air to air war we're in an air to ground war (for now) and until we have planes to shoot out of the sky Gates will not see the true value of the F-22.
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Unread post06 Jul 2009, 18:36

F-22 could be very usefull even in current ground only wars - just check how much it takes to get air support on target after it was requested. with supercruise F-22 that time could be significantly reduced - in current wars, its more important to react quicly, than react with lots of ordnance... It is better to hit the target in 10 minutes with one or two SDB, than hit the target 50 minutes later with 2x2000lb bombs.....
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Unread post06 Jul 2009, 22:48

jam2009 wrote:F-22 could be very usefull even in current ground only wars - just check how much it takes to get air support on target after it was requested. with supercruise F-22 that time could be significantly reduced - in current wars, its more important to react quicly, than react with lots of ordnance... It is better to hit the target in 10 minutes with one or two SDB, than hit the target 50 minutes later with 2x2000lb bombs.....



This is the epitome of not understanding the mission requirements. By this standard it would be cheaper to put GPS guidance on an extended ranged MLRS rocket! Oh...wait a minute, we do just that! Or, you could take a cheaper platform like an A-10/F-16/F/A-18E/F or a UAS and LOITER above the battle space at a fraction of the F-22's cost, and because you are ALREADY PRESENT, immediately respond to calls for fire.

You don't put a 150+ million dollar fighter that doesn't have the appropriate sensors to make PID, would consume very limited tanking assets, require the establishment of a separate in theater logistics support infrastructure and basing security requirements to do a job we already have platforms for that can do it better and cheaper.

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Unread post06 Jul 2009, 23:39

The F-22 can't even carry the SDB yet. It won't be able to until the 3.1 upgrade is done. This also means not all of the Raptor's will even have the ability to carry the SDB, since they are not all upgradable to the 3.1 standard.
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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 00:09

Whether it's air to ground missions or export orders the desire to keep the Raptor in production without regard to demand or appropriateness is simply amazing. I wonder if the F-35 lobby were to assert that it could super cruise and if they put a TVC nozzle on it would that calm people. People have bought into the F-22 marketing hype hook line and sinker...

-DA
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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 00:11

The F-35 will do just nicely for air dominance as well.
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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 00:22

It seems like that fact is lost on people in spite of the fact that the USN(not to mention tier 1 allies) will be relying on F-35s for exactly that...

-DA
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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 08:02

The concensus is that the F-22 will serve as a much better air superiority fighter. This is from all levels of the AF and Lockheed themselves. If it isn't going to cost much more and allow us to have better, more diverse capabilities, why not use the F-22. How is the F-35 really an appropriate design for the Marines or Navy? It may be more capable than what they have now, but that doesn't mean it's suited for those roles. (see original post)

We're going to have a mass produced fighter to save costs, but if they get grounded, we will have almost no fighters.(2028 or so)
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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 15:13

DarthAmerica wrote:Or, you could take a cheaper platform like an A-10/F-16/F/A-18E/F or a UAS and LOITER above the battle space at a fraction of the F-22's cost, and because you are ALREADY PRESENT, immediately respond to calls for fire.

-DA


No doubt this is one of the missions where an UAV excels. However let's not forget the quick response, deep strike role, which is something that UAVs cannot currently do due to their lack of speed.

Much has been made about the deployment of the 27th FS F-22s to Kadena, Japan. Given the limited numbers of F-22s deployed, I see it in this theater as more of a replacement for the F-117 deployments to Gunsan, South Korea. The F-22 allows us to deploy high value, high security deep strike assets further away from the front lines without sacrificing response time due to it's high speed and supercruise capability. At the same time, there is less of a political impact due to the distance of the deployment (realize that the North Koreans didn't protest the F-22 deployment the way they did the F-117 deployments?). How much is such a capability worth to the United States? Can we afford not to have it?

More to the point, can only 187 Raptors, at an average availability rate of about 60-70% so far (i.e. about 120-140 combat ready) fulfil the roles of 750 F-15s and 50+ F-117s?
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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 18:59

eleanordriver wrote:The concensus is that the F-22 will serve as a much better air superiority fighter. This is from all levels of the AF and Lockheed themselves. If it isn't going to cost much more and allow us to have better, more diverse capabilities, why not use the F-22. How is the F-35 really an appropriate design for the Marines or Navy? It may be more capable than what they have now, but that doesn't mean it's suited for those roles. (see original post)

We're going to have a mass produced fighter to save costs, but if they get grounded, we will have almost no fighters.(2028 or so)



The F-22 is no doubt the better air to air fighter. That is not the issue. The issue is you have two fighters. Are they both good enough to meet the REQUIREMENT/THREATS. For both the answer is yes. At that point the decision is which platform fits into the system better and offers other benefits beyond sheer air to air performance. Which platform has better through life support options. Which fighter is more sustainable logistically speaking. The answer is the F-35.

Now we are fortunate because those 187 F-22's are available and can be used to enhance even further the capabilities the F-35 will offer in the most extreme situations. Those F-22's are also available as a silver bullet force to be deployed as needed to deal with specific circumstances. But it is not necessary anymore to procure them in greater numbers to do this. The F-35 is appropriate for the USN and USMC because it will give them a capability that used to be exclusive to the USAF F-117 fleet and then some. Now all of the fixed wing air arms of the DoD will have a supersonic stealth fighter capable of fighting with very little support against the toughest defense. If a USN Amphibious Carrier with AV-8 suddenly had to respond to crisis and the enemy had even a squadron of fighters and SAMs near the battlespace. Those AV-8 would need a lot of support to operate there and not suffer high loss rates. When the USMC gets the F-35B, that calculus changes. The F-35B would be able to fly further, evade/destroy the SAMS and outclass any fighter threats. Moreover, because of PBL and improved maint, the F-35Bs would have higher sortie rates. In the event that other nations in the region DO NOT OFFER THE USAF BASING. The F-35B's or USN F-35C's could still operate from the decks of USN carriers while the F-22 would need to drag tankers over unreasonably long distances that would stretch both man and machine and limit the numbers of F-22's that could actually get into the fight because tanking assets are limited resources. ie you can only take as many Raptors as you can provide fuel and/or ramp space for. Finally, the F-35B and F-35C share a lot of commonality with the USAF and allied F-35A/B's. So warstocks and logistics support would be more plentiful.

None of this is a knock on the F-22. But it is not an uber fighter and has limitations inherent to it's design and CONOPS. To slaughter migs and S-300's you have to actually get to the fight. This is not always possible with the F-22. Moreover, the F-22 has issues with regard to spiral development. Because of manufacturing defeats, there are 3 different F-22 configurations in the fleet. That means your trains are potentially split 3 ways. It means when some new weapon like the JDRADM comes out, some of the F-22's may not be compatible with it because the hardware and software necessary to support the weapon are not present in all of the F-22's. So, is it a great plane? Yes. Is it necessary? Yes. Is it more critical to the future of DoD air operations than the F-35? No. Should it be procured at the expense of other USAF priorities like a SOJ, Tankers or the F-35 in numbers beyond 187? No. Have the threats that defined the original requirement for F-22's changed? Yes.

Those are the facts. Get over the emotional connection to this plane. Things will work out and SecDef Gates is doing the right thing.

-DA
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Unread post08 Jul 2009, 00:19

Here's the Cardinal Rule of aircraft procurement, and we would do better to remember it well : The purchase cost of an aircraft is much less than it's total life cycle cost over time. That is, what you plunk down to purchase the airframe pales in comparison to what you're going to pay in fuel, spare parts, labor, etc.

The real advantage of the F-35 is not that it can fly higher or faster, or is significantly more stealthy, but is that will be enormously cheaper to own and operate than the F-22. It could cost double what F-22 does to purchase and still be a better deal down the road in 30 years, which is really what matters.

This is connected to reliability- Mission Capable Rates and all that. It does not matter how absolutely bone-chillingly lethal your aircraft is if it's sitting on the runway waiting to be fixed. This is the reason the theoretically less capable Super Hornet replaced the beloved Tomcat. For a given number of maintenance hours, you have more airplanes, which translates into a more lethal force. Replace "maintenance hours" with "money" and you have how procurement is really looked at.

For a given amount of money, you can have a greater number of F-35's operational, which often absolutely compensates for the lack of certain capabilities that the F-22 has. In a battle, you can have more eyes, more missiles, and be in more places. Article on F-35 maintenance system.

The F-35's RCS is truly an unknown. Much has been made of the "cheap" stealth materials, but it's been said that RCS boils down to four things: "Shape, Shape, Shape, and Materials." The advances in computing power lead my to believe that the F-35's RCS is going to be fairly close to the F-22's. Add in similar advances in EW, and the F-35 is going to be very survivable for a while yet. As for IR, it's also up in the air. The F-22 might have a slightly higher signature due to friction heating (if super cruising), plus it's physically a bigger airplane, with two engines. Note: I do not know if the F-22 dumps waste heat into fuel like the F-35, does anybody?

Stand off weapons and superior avionics and sensors neutralize much of the F-22's kinematic advantage for ground attack. There is nothing currently even in the prototype stage that can touch either the F-22 or F-35 in air-to-air. One area where the F-35 will beat the F-22 is in the arena of sensors, since the F-35 already has DAS, the 360 degree IRST system. It also has much more capable targeting systems, with a built-in laser designator (IIRC) and comes with much better networking gear, whereas the F-22 needs to be upgraded if you want it to talk to anything other than another F-22. Of course there are no doubt there will always be some missions that the F-22 will be significantly better at than the F-35, which is the reason for having 187- hence the “Silver Bullet” concept.

The upgrade issue is complex since there's not really a set-in-stone list of upgrades for either aircraft, or final timetables. We are still waiting on those cheek arrays, after all. Article on the F-22 upgrade situation.

Air Force - The F-35 should not replace F-22s for an air superiority role. It may have been possible to modify the F-22 to take the weapons/payload that the F-35 will, I have seen that it already has 4 external hardpoints, used for air-to-air missiles and fuel These and the weapons systems/software could have been changed to allow for an air-to-ground mission. The advantage of a stealth fighter in attack configuration is reduced with external weapons, for many of these missions an F-16 or F-15E could do the job (ie. attacking guys with AK-47s).


The F-35 will supplement the F-22 for air-to-air, and the F-22 has some air-to-ground capability, though it's waiting on critical upgrades. Basically, it can carry two 1000 lb bombs, vs the two 2000lb bombs of the F-35 (both internal). Both can carry 8 SDB's internally, but it's iffy how many F-22's will be able to target them independently (see article above). The missions where you need stealth are going to be done with internal weapons, and the missions where you don't need stealth, you can go either way, since it doesn't matter.

Marines - The F-35B (vertical lift) is capable of vertical landing and takeoff with less than max gross weight. This means that a carrier or runway is required, or payload must be limited. The role of this aircraft will probably be supporting ground troops 90% of the time, meaning external weapons or gun pod would be desired. The aircraft will have to operate somewhere that conventional aircraft could have and have a higher RCS, due to the external payload. A higher RCS means that the stealthy angular design and coatings are somewhat wasted, and the cost and performance loss due to these technologies may not be worth it. The salt water and otherwise dirty conditions (even just at low altitude) would decrease the life cycle of the engines, meaning that they would be more likely to fail. A multi-engine aircraft would have the redundancy that could save aircraft and lives. If the V-22 can run two turboprops at the same speed, the shaft to the lift fan can be linked to both as well.


Vertical takeoff- Even harriers rarely, if ever, take off vertically. It's much more efficient to have a rolling takeoff, and always has been. Why do you need external weapons? It gives you a choice whether to go stealthy or not, depending on the mission requirements, and the extra stealth is not all that more expensive since it's mostly the shaping. It won't be like operating an F-117. Engines have been becoming more and more reliable, to the point where the reduced fuel efficiency and higher maintenance cost of two engines is more of an issue than increased accident risk.
The Marines seem to have gotten by with the AV-8B for some time with one engine, I don't think it's much of an issue. The V-22 is not a good example for pretty much anything, considering its history.
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Unread post08 Jul 2009, 01:50

DarthAmerica wrote:
The F-22 is no doubt the better air to air fighter. That is not the issue. The issue is you have two fighters. Are they both good enough to meet the REQUIREMENT/THREATS. For both the answer is yes. At that point the decision is which platform fits into the system better and offers other benefits beyond sheer air to air performance. Which platform has better through life support options. Which fighter is more sustainable logistically speaking. The answer is the F-35.

Now we are fortunate because those 187 F-22's are available and can be used to enhance even further the capabilities the F-35 will offer in the most extreme situations. Those F-22's are also available as a silver bullet force to be deployed as needed to deal with specific circumstances. But it is not necessary anymore to procure them in greater numbers to do this. The F-35 is appropriate for the USN and USMC because it will give them a capability that used to be exclusive to the USAF F-117 fleet and then some. Now all of the fixed wing air arms of the DoD will have a supersonic stealth fighter capable of fighting with very little support against the toughest defense. If a USN Amphibious Carrier with AV-8 suddenly had to respond to crisis and the enemy had even a squadron of fighters and SAMs near the battlespace. Those AV-8 would need a lot of support to operate there and not suffer high loss rates. When the USMC gets the F-35B, that calculus changes. The F-35B would be able to fly further, evade/destroy the SAMS and outclass any fighter threats. Moreover, because of PBL and improved maint, the F-35Bs would have higher sortie rates. In the event that other nations in the region DO NOT OFFER THE USAF BASING. The F-35B's or USN F-35C's could still operate from the decks of USN carriers while the F-22 would need to drag tankers over unreasonably long distances that would stretch both man and machine and limit the numbers of F-22's that could actually get into the fight because tanking assets are limited resources. ie you can only take as many Raptors as you can provide fuel and/or ramp space for. Finally, the F-35B and F-35C share a lot of commonality with the USAF and allied F-35A/B's. So warstocks and logistics support would be more plentiful.

None of this is a knock on the F-22. But it is not an uber fighter and has limitations inherent to it's design and CONOPS. To slaughter migs and S-300's you have to actually get to the fight. This is not always possible with the F-22. Moreover, the F-22 has issues with regard to spiral development. Because of manufacturing defeats, there are 3 different F-22 configurations in the fleet. That means your trains are potentially split 3 ways. It means when some new weapon like the JDRADM comes out, some of the F-22's may not be compatible with it because the hardware and software necessary to support the weapon are not present in all of the F-22's. So, is it a great plane? Yes. Is it necessary? Yes. Is it more critical to the future of DoD air operations than the F-35? No. Should it be procured at the expense of other USAF priorities like a SOJ, Tankers or the F-35 in numbers beyond 187? No. Have the threats that defined the original requirement for F-22's changed? Yes.

Those are the facts. Get over the emotional connection to this plane. Things will work out and SecDef Gates is doing the right thing.



The F-35 hasn't been tested enough to say that it can meet any requirements. It hasn't proven that it is difficult to track like the F-22 has. Secretary Gates would have us shut down the production line before we are sure that the F-35 would work as designed. These are dangerous and possibly expensive assumptions. At supersonic speeds, where the F-35 afterburner would be required, the F-22 is far more efficient. If even a few aircraft are lost due to FOD or corrosion, the cost of operation increases. If a pilot dies...

The problems I stated with the F-35 address the need for aircraft designed for each force specifically. The Air Force could have just used a modified F-22 (Strike Raptor?), the Navy got what they wanted, but should probably have 2 engines for safety. The air-to-ground capability of F-35 internal weapons isn't so much better than an F-22 that it warrants a new aircraft. The commonality of parts that all of them have is somewhere around 23%, higher between only 2 variants. This doesn't seem all that great for cost reduction. Also, if one of these parts are defective, we have 2000 aircraft sitting on runways, ships and landing areas that can't be flown, with less than 200 remaining fighters to cover those regions. I know the F-22 is great, but is it really able to replace 10 F-35s? If so, it's worth the cost.

The continued production of the F-22 will not hinder F-35 development, will allow the option of producing more later on if the F-35 is a dud, and allow the aircraft to evolve into a more powerful machine.
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Unread post08 Jul 2009, 02:28

Prinz_Eugn wrote:
The F-35 will supplement the F-22 for air-to-air, and the F-22 has some air-to-ground capability, though it's waiting on critical upgrades. Basically, it can carry two 1000 lb bombs, vs the two 2000lb bombs of the F-35 (both internal). Both can carry 8 SDB's internally, but it's iffy how many F-22's will be able to target them independently (see article above). The missions where you need stealth are going to be done with internal weapons, and the missions where you don't need stealth, you can go either way, since it doesn't matter.

Vertical takeoff- Even harriers rarely, if ever, take off vertically. It's much more efficient to have a rolling takeoff, and always has been. Why do you need external weapons? It gives you a choice whether to go stealthy or not, depending on the mission requirements, and the extra stealth is not all that more expensive since it's mostly the shaping. It won't be like operating an F-117. Engines have been becoming more and more reliable, to the point where the reduced fuel efficiency and higher maintenance cost of two engines is more of an issue than increased accident risk.
The Marines seem to have gotten by with the AV-8B for some time with one engine, I don't think it's much of an issue. The V-22 is not a good example for pretty much anything, considering its history.


IF the F-35 is cheaper to operate than the F-22 by a significant margin and is more reliable, it may be better to have an F-35 than if we modified the F-22 for a strike role. The F-35 would only be slightly better for an attack role than an F-22. Any criticisms about the F-22's air-to-ground attack ability are miniscule in comparison to the overall incomplete status of the F-35.

The Marines will want to support their ground troops, requiring a gun pod or several external weapons, due to the limited internal payload of the F-35. I don't see any information supporting the increase in fuel efficiency of the F-35 over the F-22. The risk of sucking up a goose or eating a screwdriver will always be present. The V-22 is a good example of technology, engineering mistakes that are unrelated and on earlier models are irrelevant.

The fact that we will lose the capability of 2000 aircraft if an F-15C longeron incident occurs makes a more diverse fleet worth the relatively minimal cost increase of some more F-22s for the Air Force.

As it stands, the money has been spent on the R&D of these aircraft and the point I am making is that there should be more F-22s produced for the Air Force, especially since the F-35 hasn't even proven itself in domestic testing. Whether or not the F-35 is a good aircraft is not within my knowledge, but we shouldn't take away our ability to produce more F-22 at current costs. It is fairly obvious that the F-35 will be produced, but trading a hundred AF F-35s for even 75-100 F-22s would be worth it even if only to diversify our fleet and gain a few more capable fighters.
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Unread post08 Jul 2009, 02:34

Why are we allowing the F-35 to be produced in other countries? The cost of our aircraft will decrease further if Lockheed produces them all here. If we are going to share our tech, we as a country should get something for that. Otherwise, the only one getting anything from the sales is Lockheed.
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