Top Pilot:Air Force Should Put Brakes on All-Stealth Arsenal

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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 02:33

Does anyone know about this Lt. Col. Christopher Niemi?

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/11 ... lth-force/

...Writing in the Air Force Research Institute’s Air & Space Power Journal, Lt. Col. Christopher Niemi, a former F-22 test pilot who later commanded a frontline squadron of the radar-evading jets, says the Air Force is making a big mistake by buying only the most expensive stealth fighters — namely, the F-22 and the newer F-35.

“An all-stealth Air Force fighter fleet deserves reconsideration,” Niemi asserts (.pdf). ”Stealth technology demands significant trade-offs in range, security, weapons carriage, sortie generation, and adaptability. Stealth provides no advantage in conflicts such as those in Afghanistan or Iraq (since 2003), and (despite its obvious utility) it cannot guarantee success in future struggles with a near-peer adversary.”

...It’s not too late to reverse the policy, the former F-22 squadron command argues. “The Air Force should reconsider its long-standing position that fifth-generation fighters are the only option.”

When a man who spent his career flying stealth fighters begins lobbying against them, maybe it’s time the Air Force pays attention.

I've also stated that the USAF's 1990s decision to purchase no more legacy fighters was a mistake, but I'm not so convinced that there's still time to "reverse the policy." One wonders if the guy isn't living four or more years in the past.
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g3143

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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 02:53

Its fun reading the comment at the bottom of the article, who needs generals when we have so many people who know so much about this topic.
Last edited by g3143 on 09 Nov 2012, 02:56, edited 2 times in total.
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megasun

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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 02:54

Not just fighters, there're plenty of other LO aircrafts in the plan, drones, bombers. And for them, there might not be so much to trade-off as fighters, stealth will be a feature of less burden.
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fiskerwad

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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 02:54

Here's the test, if the horn sounds, is the Col. going to take a legacy jet or a 5th gen to battle?
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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 03:02

Such decisions are made by people with multiple stars on their collars who have a bigger picture to consider. They too were Lt. Cols. at some point in their careers. Good for the guy to be able to express his convictions though.. Billy Mitchell would be smiling.
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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 03:06

g3143 wrote:Its fun reading the comment at the bottom of the article, who needs generals when we have so many people who know so much about this topic.

First off: the guy isn't a general. Second: an actual general has already called his idea "dumb" (read the article). Third: it wouldn't be the first time an otherwise experienced/reputable officer has said something "dumb" and was thankfully ignored by cooler, more-realistic heads.
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g3143

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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 03:07

Its also funny how many of these articles on the F-35 keep saying how it going to cost use 1 trillion dollars but forget to put that its based on 50 years of service.
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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 03:16

1st503rdsgt wrote:
g3143 wrote:Its fun reading the comment at the bottom of the article, who needs generals when we have so many people who know so much about this topic.

First off: the guy isn't a general. Second: an actual general has already called his idea "dumb" (read the article). Third: it wouldn't be the first time an otherwise experienced/reputable officer has said something "dumb" and was thankfully ignored by cooler, more-realistic heads.


I was referring the comment section of this and other articles on F-22/F-35.
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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 03:32

g3143 wrote:I was referring the comment section of this and other articles on F-22/F-35.

My bad. :oops:
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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 03:48

g3143 wrote:Its also funny how many of these articles on the F-35 keep saying how it going to cost use 1 trillion dollars but forget to put that its based on 50 years of service.


It's a pretty good indicator of bias. "trillion" sounds scarey so certain parties trot that out at every opportunity. That and/or they'll insert, "most expensive defense program in history". As if there wasn't a "most expensive defense program in history" before the F-35. Here's what AvWeek said:

"That idea does not sit well with the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, Ashton Carter, who says the Pentagon has no good alternative to the next-generation stealthy fighter, even though the cost to sustain the program into the future is an eye-popping $1 trillion, adjusted for inflation over its lifespan. That is less than the cost to sustain the F-22, about the same as the F-15, and more than either the F-16 or the F-18."

Since the F-35 is replacing the F-16 and the F-18 and the Harrier, adding the program costs together would be a more accurate comparision.
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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 03:51

If anything they need to work on a TFX option to that is affordable. They don't need another course change on F-35A at this point. They also need an affordable bomber in the next twenty years. Too many chiefs....
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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 04:01

I got a solution: Encourage the USAF top Generals to stay current with their flight status.
Gen. John Jumper flew the F-22 while a 4-star, and Gen Hostage does now too. There has been a few 1-star and 2-star officers who have bombed targets Afghanistan and Iraq.

My guess why the USAF appears to be only buying "all stealth" F-22/F-35 is that if they purchased a small number of F-15s or F-16s, they would cost more than previous full-rate purchases and would be expensive to support when the rest of the fleet retires.
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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 04:11

This has been making its way around the internet the last few days. Everything he has said has been said already and for years at that... Last horse crosses the finish line.

I did enjoy the part where he said the F-22 should have had more sensors/ data sharing, more air to ground capability, less air to air specialization, and dropped the thrust vectoring... Boy this sounds familiar...

This whole notion of "USAF doesn't have aircraft for COIN" has been done to absolute death. The USAF is without COIN aircraft not because of the F-22, and F-35... but Because the USAF Does not want COIN aircraft.

One of these days people are just going to have to accept that when you fight a long war in some piss ant country, that you don't need the entire US military to fight it, nor do you need to suddenly start tailoring all military developments to the conflict. The Navy doesn't need to develop "Land submarines" for afghanistan and iraq. Those conflicts are not really about developing newer and better weapons, they are about getting older/ok enough weapons and lots of em with tons of grunts to make it all happen and then the political will to stick it out. No amount of technology will win a guerrilla war. It can help, but its not nearly as important as it is in conventional wars. Some morons have reversed this: They think its time to get lots of newly built but last generation weapons that would apply to large conventional wars, which is where you want the high tech cutting edge stuff.

The "it won't even work in afghanistan or iraq" crowd needs to shut the hell up already, and let the grown ups handle this. I'm sorry for the rant but the "This won't work in iraqastan" line is when your credibility flat lines, and sure enough this guy said it.
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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 05:02

fiskerwad wrote:.. if the horn sounds, is the Col. going to take a legacy jet or a 5th gen to battle? fisk


The Colonel says. "Although stealth is a powerful enabler for offensive systems, its greatest advantage lies in its ability to dramatically increase aircraft survivability against radar-dependent threats." If this is all these "one trick ponies" can muster, then they should stay in the barn. but.....

The Colonel says, "Most importantly, the cost of F-22s and F-35s threatens to reduce the size of the Air Force’s fielded fighter fleet to dangerously small numbers, particularly in the current fiscal environment."

....and the truth comes out. It's not the stealth, it's the shrinking fleets. This concern is shared by many across the branches and around the world. There is a real worry that the equation for these high performance stealths can't balance the loss of numbers of the teens. As Fisk said, the 5th Gen may do well on it's own but only if there is enough of them. All are scared of the equation. We cut the number of the Raptors and many doubt we have the will to build all of the Lightnings.
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Unread post09 Nov 2012, 05:54

Salute!

Good point, sferrin about the $$$$.

Good point, F414 about the numbers and the 'stan.

Up to me, I would be worried about a major threat and not the pissant 'stan scenario. So we really need numbers, even if they are not super LO or can supercruise or.....

I do not advocate 1,000 Warthogs, but a 1,000 Vipers would fill the bill. As old as the Eagle is, it's still a decent A2A jet and we have all the infrastructure just as we have for the Viper. And BTW, with so many folks flying the Viper, we have an international infrastructure we could exploit for parts, motors, etc.

Gums opines....
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