I want to play devil's advocate

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

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Unread post21 Sep 2012, 01:20

So let me state at the outset that I'm a big fan of the Raptor. To me, it is one of the most fascinating pieces of technology ever invented. Sometimes, it looks like something that was invented by an alien civilization far more advanced than our own.

That being said, here's my best argument against it:
1) It's super expensive- the cost numbers being thrown around vary to some extent but we can safely agree that it is the single most expensive fighter aircraft out there. Ironically it's little brother, the F-35, might end up overtaking it!

2) It's ridiculously high maintenance- it's had all sorts of problems. There have been numbers thrown around that it has a very high rate of mission-terminating systems failures compared to other fighter jets. We all know about the oxygen system scandal. It is also extremely expensive to maintain.

3) It's not a good aircraft for the real world- because of reason 1), we can field 188 of them. And because of 2) how many of them will actually be mission-ready in a time of war? In the event of a war, a lot of them won't even see action because they'll be out of commission. The ones that do see action will be outnumbered. There's no point in having the most advanced technology if you can't even use it reliably!

4) It's not THAT much better than other aircraft today- Only a fool would deny that the F-22 is the most sophisticated fighter jet ever built. But is it really worth it when you can have many of the capabilities at a much lower cost? Typhoons, Super Hornets etc. offer pretty advanced avionics with AESA radars, high tech data-linking and pretty low RCS (although not LO). In a one on one battle, the Raptor would probably win. But what if the Chinese could procure 400-500 aircraft of the caliber of the SH, Typhoon etc.? Could half the number of Raptors really take out such a force? That stealth tech better really be all it's advertised to be....

So those are the arguments that I tend to hear on the "nay" side. Rebuttal?
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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post21 Sep 2012, 01:34

-Actual flyaway costs are tolerable, most development money has already been spent.

-Maintenance problems and failures are common in any new design, a severe problem for the F-22 given its small numbers and lack of opportunity to improve. How many of the first 188 F-16s, F-15s, or F/A-18s stayed active for their entire service lives?

-188 fighters is still more than what most air forces have. Moans about being outnumbered overwhelmed have proven unwarranted since the 1980s.

-Typhoons are already known to cost as much as the F-22 (has been discussed on this very forum).
Last edited by 1st503rdsgt on 21 Sep 2012, 02:28, edited 1 time in total.
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count_to_10

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Unread post21 Sep 2012, 01:42

Though the Raptor does seem to have a number of teething problems, all available evidence indicates that they will be able to take 4.5 gen fighters at four-to-one odds without difficulty.
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neurotech

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Unread post21 Sep 2012, 02:21

1st503rdsgt wrote:-Actual flyaway costs are tolerable, most development money has already been spent.

-Maintenance problems and failures are common in any new design, a severe problem for the F-22 given its small numbers and lack of opportunity to improve. How any of the first 188 F-16s, F-15s, or F/A-18s stayed active for their entire service lives?

-188 fighters is still more than what most air forces have. Moans about being outnumbered overwhelmed have proven unwarranted since the 1980s.

-Typhoons are already known to cost as much as the F-22 (has been discussed on this very forum).

The Flyaway cost of a F-22 at peak production was around $120-130m from memory, which is not much more than a new F-15E//SG/K ($90-100m)

The marines still fly F/A-18As in some squadrons. The F/A-18Bs are still used for training in both Navy and Marines. These jets usually don't have as many traps on them, because the marines do somewhat frequent land-based deployments. Also the F/A-18Bs are not usually combat deployed on the carrier, nor do instructors ride along for nuggets getting their first F/A-18 traps on the carrier. Some of these jets are in the first 188 F/A-18s.

The Israeli F-16 Block 5/10 jets are still being flown, according to some reports. The Belgian and Dutch F-16 Block 5/10 jets are also being flown.
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jacarlsen

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Unread post21 Sep 2012, 08:17

Norway still flies F-16 block 1 aircraft. Modified to MLU 5 standard, Falcon STAR, "good as new". The early problems are resolved and the aircraft performs just as good as it should.
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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post21 Sep 2012, 09:07

I never said "which of the early blocks are still flying;" I said which of the first 188 made it though their full service lives.
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Unread post21 Sep 2012, 10:15

Some of the Israeli aircraft are Ex-USAF F-16As in 78-00xx or 78-01xx are still reported as in service, these were part of the first 188 jets made, and except for a few months, have been in service the whole time.
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Unread post21 Sep 2012, 10:48

That being said, here's my best argument against it:
1) It's super expensive, the cost numbers being thrown around vary to some extent

They don't vary at all, just various media outlets quote the program cost. Program Unit Cost is around $320m , URF cost is $127m for a 2007 raptor.

3) It's not a good aircraft for the real world- because of reason 1), we can field 188 of them. And because of 2) how many of them will actually be mission-ready in a time of war?

The F-22 is not merely a fighter. Its capabilities makes it a force multiplier for legacy aircraft. 3 x F-15's with F-22 support is far > 4 x F-15's.

4) It's not THAT much better than other aircraft today

Yes it is, for numerous reasons.
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Unread post22 Sep 2012, 02:36

The validity of some of these arguments depends on when they are or were made. They mostly make sense only as arguments against ever developing the type in the first place, or for canceling the competition or testing program somewhere along the way before production. But the time for that kind of argument was years ago. Now that they're built and in service, the question isn't whether or not to get them; it's whether or not to use them. And simply dropping such a huge asset that we've already got would just be silly. There isn't even anything to discuss about it anymore.
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Unread post22 Sep 2012, 04:35

icemaverick wrote:1) It's super expensive- the cost numbers being thrown around vary to some extent but we can safely agree that it is the single most expensive fighter aircraft out there. Ironically it's little brother, the F-35, might end up overtaking it!
Economies of scale. The more an item is produced, the less it eventually costs to make. Had Congress authorized the initial requested airframe count (700+; with likely follow-on orders), the total outlay would've been spread over a broader inventory and the per unit flyaway costs would have been much less. It prolly would have kept decreasing as manufacturing processes became leaner, the build learning curve flattened out, supply chains firmed up, etc. So when I read something blatantly over-stating the flyaway cost of Weapon System X, 99 out of 100 times the author knows exactly squat about how the procurement process works and what happens to such a large buy over time.
2) It's ridiculously high maintenance- it's had all sorts of problems. There have been numbers thrown around that it has a very high rate of mission-terminating systems failures compared to other fighter jets. We all know about the oxygen system scandal. It is also extremely expensive to maintain.
Well without seeing specific numbers, to have a Gen 5 jet have about the same MC rates as some of the older jets it's replacing tells ya something. The Raptor is still considered new. And any new system will have it's teething pains. No weapon system is gonna have a 100% MC rate. But as the Raptor matures, so will the maintenance troops and procedures that support it. And the more they get to know its quirks, the more they'll find ways to get the MC rates as high as possible when it counts.

Oh...and the hypoxia issue was traced to a problem with the anti-G garment. But I'll have to hold a firm opinion until the garment fixes are fielded and see if any further hypoxia-type incidents are reported.

3) It's not a good aircraft for the real world- because of reason 1), we can (only) field 188 of them. And because of 2) how many of them will actually be mission-ready in a time of war? In the event of a war, a lot of them won't even see action because they'll be out of commission. The ones that do see action will be outnumbered. There's no point in having the most advanced technology if you can't even use it reliably!
Blame Congress. Even tho the jet is most assuredly a force multiplier, just 180 or so seems inadequate for a 1 or 2 theater war. And that may be where the F-35 comes in once enough are fielded. A contingent of Raptor's supported by a slew of F-35s.

Remember too that, with the exception of a fangs-out war with China, you probably...PROBABLY...won't see the kinds of situations anymore where the entire fleet of one type of jet is sent to combat. With any luck, we'll have some partners going in with us that can add their aircraft to the mix.

4) It's not THAT much better than other aircraft today- Only a fool would deny that the F-22 is the most sophisticated fighter jet ever built. But is it really worth it when you can have many of the capabilities at a much lower cost? Typhoons, Super Hornets etc. offer pretty advanced avionics with AESA radars, high tech data-linking and pretty low RCS (although not LO). In a one on one battle, the Raptor would probably win. But what if the Chinese could procure 400-500 aircraft of the caliber of the SH, Typhoon etc.? Could half the number of Raptors really take out such a force? That stealth tech better really be all it's advertised to be....
And from what's been released publically about the flag meets the Raptor has played in, it is...in Spades. And that's with the jet handcuffed in some fashion. AFAIK, none of the alternate jets you mention have ever had a case where they got off a kill shot before the target knew they were even there. None. The Raptor has demonstrated that multiple times. What's publically known about the Raptor's performance (and the tactics which the drivers use to employ it) pails compared to what's not known. And I for one wanna keep it that way. :wink:
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batu731

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Unread post24 Sep 2012, 06:37

icemaverick wrote:So let me state at the outset that I'm a big fan of the Raptor. To me, it is one of the most fascinating pieces of technology ever invented. Sometimes, it looks like something that was invented by an alien civilization far more advanced than our own.

That being said, here's my best argument against it:
1) It's super expensive- the cost numbers being thrown around vary to some extent but we can safely agree that it is the single most expensive fighter aircraft out there. Ironically it's little brother, the F-35, might end up overtaking it!

2) It's ridiculously high maintenance- it's had all sorts of problems. There have been numbers thrown around that it has a very high rate of mission-terminating systems failures compared to other fighter jets. We all know about the oxygen system scandal. It is also extremely expensive to maintain.

3) It's not a good aircraft for the real world- because of reason 1), we can field 188 of them. And because of 2) how many of them will actually be mission-ready in a time of war? In the event of a war, a lot of them won't even see action because they'll be out of commission. The ones that do see action will be outnumbered. There's no point in having the most advanced technology if you can't even use it reliably!

4) It's not THAT much better than other aircraft today- Only a fool would deny that the F-22 is the most sophisticated fighter jet ever built. But is it really worth it when you can have many of the capabilities at a much lower cost? Typhoons, Super Hornets etc. offer pretty advanced avionics with AESA radars, high tech data-linking and pretty low RCS (although not LO). In a one on one battle, the Raptor would probably win. But what if the Chinese could procure 400-500 aircraft of the caliber of the SH, Typhoon etc.? Could half the number of Raptors really take out such a force? That stealth tech better really be all it's advertised to be....

So those are the arguments that I tend to hear on the "nay" side. Rebuttal?


seriously, its cliche

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