Flightline Friday: Raptors make first European deployment September 4, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
Amazingly, even though the F-22 Raptor has been in service for a solid decade, Europe’s relatively low priority has meant that the F-22 had never deployed there until recently. Due to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ disastrous decision (one of many) to cap F-22 production at 187 aircraft in favor of the supposedly much less expensive F-35 (guess what?! It’s not only a lot less capable, it’s not any less expensive, either!), the Air Force has a critical shortfall in numbers of air superiority aircraft. It is keeping a very small number (3 squadrons, at present) of F-15s in active duty while maintaining many more in the Guard and Reserve than planned years ago. So at present the entire active duty air superiority force possessed by USAF numbers maybe 200 aircraft, since a fair number of Raptors have to be assigned to training and other non-combat duties. That’s pathetic. That’s fewer than deployed to Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and that’s the entire Air Force. Even with their own massive problems, China is going to clean our clocks someday.
No, I have no idea what they spend the $100 billion a year budget on, either. Personnel costs eat up a huge amount of that (and, I think, are ultimately unsustainable at present rates of pay, though military members would probably slap me for saying that), but more and more its just O&M, they claim…….operations and maintenance. Older aircraft are more expensive to maintain, and we’ve been waging at least some kind of warfare somewhere almost continually for 25 years. But it is still incredible that 100 freaking billion dollars every year buys so little.
Anyway, four F-22s and associated support arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany earlier this week. They then promptly forward deployed to Lask Air Base in Poland for a brief demonstration along with F-16s assigned to beef up NATO defenses in Eastern Europe. It was the first time the F-22 had made an appearance in either country. The increased presence in Eastern Europe is of course in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and numerous threats, including of nuclear attack, made towards the US and Western European nations. In addition to the deployment of a small “presence force” in terms of air assets, similar deployments of ground assets are also occurring. The Marines, for instance, just deployed what amounts to a calvary troop to eastern Bulgaria, including four M1A1 tanks, a half dozen LAV-25 light armored vehicles, and associated trucks and HMMVWs.
But I know what you want……..airplane pr0n:
F-23 still would have been better.