jump to navigation

Flightline Friday: Raptors make first European deployment September 4, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
trackback

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:

Three F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft fly over Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 28, 2015 as part of the inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe. Four F-22s from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., along with a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft and more than 50 support Airmen were part of the deployment. This effort is part of the European Reassurance Initiative and will serve to assure allies of the Air Force’s commitment to European security and stability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Warren/Released)

Three F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft fly over Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 28, 2015 as part of the inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe. Four F-22s from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., along with a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft and more than 50 support Airmen were part of the deployment. This effort is part of the European Reassurance Initiative and will serve to assure allies of the Air Force’s commitment to European security and stability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Warren/Released)

Four F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft taxi after landing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 28, 2015 as part of the inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe. The F-22s are deployed from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., as part of the European Reassurance Initiative and will conduct air training with other Europe-based aircraft while demonstrating U.S. commitment to NATO allies and the security of Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Warren/Released)

Four F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft taxi after landing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 28, 2015 as part of the inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Warren/Released)

Members of the 95th Fighter Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.,marshal U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter aircrafts near hardened aircraft shelters,Aug. 28, 2015, on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The 95th FS deployed to Spangdahlem as part of the European Reassurance Initiative, which is intended to increase the capability, readiness and responsiveness of NATO forces in part by funding rotational force presence in Eastern Europe. This training deployment is also part of ensuring the 5th generation fighters can deploy to European bases and other NATO installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano/Released)

Members of the 95th Fighter Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.,marshal U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter aircrafts near hardened aircraft shelters,Aug. 28, 2015, on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano/Released)

An F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft pilot assigned to the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., prepares to exit an F-22 at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 28, 2015. The U.S. Air Force deployed four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III and more than 50 Airmen to Spangdahlem in support of the first F-22 European training deployment. The inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, a $1 billion pledge announced by President Obama in March 2014.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman/Released)

An F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft pilot assigned to the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., prepares to exit an F-22 at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor taxis on the flightline at Lask Air Base, Poland, Aug. 31, 2015. The deployment represents the inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe and is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, which is intended to increase the capability, readiness and responsiveness of NATO forces in part by funding rotational force presence in Eastern Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor taxis on the flightline at Lask Air Base, Poland, Aug. 31, 2015. The deployment represents the inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe and is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, which is intended to increase the capability, readiness and responsiveness of NATO forces in part by funding rotational force presence in Eastern Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden/Released)

F-23 still would have been better.

Comments

1. Woody - September 4, 2015

I had heard only a few years ago that the USAF was getting out of the “air plane” business and concentrating on cyber warfare. Just something that came to my mind as you indicated the declining number of planes in their arsenal.


Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: