F-22 CONTROVERSY RECALLS "SCREAM OF EAGLES" DILEMMA
by Robert K. Wilcox
In the late 1960s, US flyers in
The decision also bears on the heart of the nation’s current economic crises. Just what should taxpayer dollars be used for? A transfer of wealth or the nation’s defense?
Here’s what happened in
Following the Korean War, with air to air missile technology advancing, military experts predicted close-in dogfighting was dead. Adversaries wouldn’t get near enough for turning fights. They’d be shooting missiles at each other from long distances - “beyond visual range” or “BVR”. The air force and navy eliminated dogfight training. The navy even dropped guns, a close-in weapon, from its newest fighter, the F-4 Phantom. But once the war commenced, the folly of such decisions became obvious.
Missiles didn’t work as advertised. Real-time battle revealed flaws in their designs. Crews weren’t trained well enough in their use. Worst, pilots realized they had to get close to determine if the target was friend or foe. To eyeball their target they were forced into a close-in turning fight where missiles, needing certain distances to track, were often out of envelope. In that situation, guns were required.
As a result, the
But now it looks like a similar error
brewing. The F-22 is our
latest and best fighter – a
new generation plane needed to match some of
startlingly good fighters
being fielded by our potential enemies. Our
frontline fighters, the F-15 Eagle, F-16
are old and vulnerable to
the new enemy machines, especially MiGs and
being produced in
In almost every war, we’ve entered unprepared. We tend to dismantle what we’ve learned, thinking peace will now prevail. And then jarringly – after a surprise attack or brazen aggression requiring response – we have to relearn again. Now, because we’ve had such mastery of the skies for so long, we’re again taking things for granted. Our emphasis has been on terrorism. Big land and sea battles have receded in our memory.
But the world is a volatile place.
nations with massive, conventional
There’s a truism amongst fighter pilots: a better fighter pilot in a lesser plane will always beat a lesser one in a better plane. It honors talent and training which US pilots thrive on. But fighter planes have advanced so much since the Eagle, Viper and Hornet appeared decades ago that even the best pilots in the aging warbirds the administration wants to rely on might have trouble with an enemy’s new or souped-up machine. Only continuing production of the Raptor assures that the truism remains. It is stealthier, faster, more agile and deadlier than anything else in the sky.
Yet the administration, to save money,
moving to cut the
production as a way to
have more taxpayer money to
pay for it’s
socialist agenda, including corporate bailouts for bad
business decisions, DMV-style health care and free
and mortgage rescue
payments for those who got in
who were responsible with their debt. Isn’t the first
duty of government – and some would argue almost the
only – defense of the
Even if you agree with
the socialist agenda, what
good does it do
can defeat us on the