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  1. #1
    ramnj's Avatar
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    F-22A Raptor...Who's Yo Daddy???

    TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The Air Force's new F-22A Raptor is such a dominant fighter jet that in mock dogfights its pilots typically take on six F-15 Eagles at once.
    Despite the favorable odds, the F-15s, still one of the world's most capable fighters, are no contest for the fastest radar-evading stealth jet ever built.
    "The F-15 pilots, they are the world's best pilots," said Lt. Col.
    David Krumm, an F-22A instructor pilot. "When you take them flying against anyone else in the world, they are going to wipe the floor with them. It's a startling moment for them to come down here and get waylaid."
    The F-22A officially became ready for combat this month with a squadron of 12 Raptors on standby for worldwide deployment at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
    Those who know the Raptor best say it represents a major leap in U.S.
    warfighting abilities. At this Florida Panhandle base, where all Raptor pilots are trained, instructors say the jet's stealth, speed and ability to electronically scan the battlefield from the air are far superior to any other fighter.
    "This is what's next," Krumm said. "The stuff that we have is great and it's capable, but this is what's next."
    The Raptor, originally designed for air-to-air combat, was expanded to include a ground attack role. Pilots dropped bombs from Raptors for the first time last weekend in training exercises at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
    One of the challenges is finding pilots for the single-seat Raptors, formerly designated F/A-22 to emphasize its ground attack role. The Air Force looks for experienced pilots with a background in fighters and bomb dropping, said Col. Matthew Molloy.
    Raptor pilots are former F-15 pilots who have flown a two-seat version, the F-15E Strike Eagle, and also have ground attack experience. The F-16 Fighting Falcon is the Air Force's only other jet that flies both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.
    Eventually, the Air Force plans to take students straight out of pilot training into the Raptor program, Molloy said.
    Critics say the Raptor is too expensive at a time when the U.S.
    already dominates the skies, and that it was designed for a high-tech enemy that no longer exists - the Soviet Union.
    The Air Force puts the Raptor's price tag at $160 million per plane, but outside experts estimate they cost more than $350 million each when research and development expenses are added. So far, the Air Force has
    56 Raptors, including training and test fighters, at Tyndall, Langley, Nellis and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The current budget plans call for about 180 Raptors, but the Air Force wants more. Tyndall has the largest contingent at 23.
    Military leaders say the plane will ensure American air dominance for years to come.
    "In any air-to-air fight out there, it is a hopeless mismatch," Krumm said. "What we are more concerned with are countries that want to deny us air space by purchasing surface-to-air missiles and that kind of stuff. Those are very lethal to the way the U.S. deploys."
    The Raptor is designed to be especially proficient at taking out such ground-launched missiles because of its speed and stealth. That's something military leaders say could be needed in a fight against potential enemies including Iran or North Korea.
    "We want to kick the door down so the air space is clear for any
    (aircraft) you want to go in," Krumm said. "Someone could come in flying a Cessna 172 with a pistol if you wanted after we're done."
    The Raptor's dogfighting capability adds a new dimension to the Air Force's fleet of stealth aircraft. Krumm compared the earlier F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit to cockroaches.
    "They want to sneak in, drop their bombs, and sneak out again. They have absolutely no wish for a fight," he said. "They don't have air-to-air missiles, they cannot maneuver that well or anything else.
    Our airplane is entirely offensive. Not only am I stealthy, but I'll also hunt you down and kill you if you get in my way."
    And then there is the Raptor's super cruise capability that lets it fly at supersonic speed without using fuel-guzzling afterburners as required by other fighters.
    "That saves us a lot of gas and opens up a whole host of things when you start talking about dropping bombs," Krumm said. "You can imagine if you are 60,000 feet doing mach 1.9 (about 1,400 mph) and these bombs are flying out of your airplane, the swath of hell you can produce going through a country saying 'I'll take that target, and that target'."
    Twelve Raptors will head to Alaska in June for their first routine peacetime exercise deployment.
    In the meantime, the instructors at Tyndall's 325th Fighter Wing will continue looking for the Air Force's top pilots to fly the world's best fighter jet.
    "Langley rapidly needs pilots and we are trying to produce pilots to keep up with the production of the airplanes," Molloy said.
    Krumm said one issue is that the plane is single-seater, which means only the most experienced fighter pilots, capable of flying such a high-tech plane solo, will be selected until the program becomes more routine.
    "When you strap on $160 million of taxpayer money, it's by yourself with me nervously flying alongside you going 'Please don't screw up, please don't screw up,'" Krumm said.


  2. #2

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    The Raptor is one BAD plane. I used to go to Edwards AFB all the time where they were putting the Raptor throught flight tests and it looks nasty. When the F-35 (JSF) comes out, the two of those planes will be a deadly pair.

    http://jsf.mil/

  3. #3
    Hydrotoys's Avatar
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    Even outsourced our frontline fighters too. Hmmmm.

  4. #4
    ramnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hydrotoys
    Even outsourced our frontline fighters too. Hmmmm.
    Seems like that's how everything is nowadays

    But we still kick a$$

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by hydrotoys
    Even outsourced our frontline fighters too. Hmmmm.

    Yeah, its a multinational program,... but it is the largest DOD acqusistion program ever (or was at its time of award).

  6. #6
    MR. SCOVILLE UNIT SUCKMYWAKE's Avatar
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    i still like the smashmouth a-10 warthog.

  7. #7
    ....back from the dead.... J-ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patmcf79
    Quote Originally Posted by hydrotoys
    Even outsourced our frontline fighters too. Hmmmm.

    Yeah, its a multinational program,... but it is the largest DOD acqusistion
    program ever (or was at its time of award).
    Now the record is held by the F-35.


    Hmmm... I wonder what that guy Anapg77's handle stands for?

  8. #8
    waverider's Avatar
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    I helped to design the hydraulic gun drive on that thing...im now working on a hydraulic pump and reservoir module for the Apache fly-by-wire system...I even have a engine driven hydraulic pump i designed for the F-35...

  9. #9
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    wOw

  10. #10
    R.I.P. 11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patmcf79
    The Raptor is one BAD plane.
    No it's not, it's THE bad plane

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