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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Why the US revived discontinued the F-22


The U.S. Congress is considering resuming production of the F-22 Raptor, developed in the last century. It is believed that it will better meet the threats than “computer with wings” – criticized by many F-35. As these threats become personalized primarily aircraft of Russian design.

In the framework of the US air superiority American lawmakers are proposing to step back and re-run the pipeline, from which descended a fifth-generation fighter F-22 Raptor. Recall that this machine has the properties of “stealth”, made its first flight in 1997, was launched in the series, but discontinued in 2009. According to Defense Aerospace, over the years it was made only 187 aircraft, although planned 749, and the air fighter command of the U.S. expected to receive at least 381 aircraft.

“It turned out that the Russian multi-purpose fighters “su” and their Chinese copies as a means of waging air combat can very effectively counter still quite “raw” F-35″

To return to the past had, as, in the opinion already referred to the relevant resource, “was the apparent inability of the F-35 to face the new fighters being developed by other States.” In the opinion of Congress, because of “growing threats to U.S. superiority in the air due to the reduction of adversaries of the United States the technological gap between them and America, as well as the growing needs of U.S. allies and partners in a highly effective multi-purpose aircraft in order to adequately respond to an expanding and increasing global security threats”. The inhabitants of Capitol hill believe that it is necessary to make at least another 194 aircraft F-22 to bring the number up to just 381 units requested air fighter command.

A great sacrifice

The basis for the development of the F-35 was based on the principle “present in the sacrifice of the future”. In 1990-ies and early 2000-s United States regarded Russia as a strategic partner and not believed that China is able to create military equipment, approaching its characteristics to the American. Strategists at the Pentagon believed that it is not necessary to spend your time and energy to create fighters that are able to provide superiority over the Russian “su” and based on these Chinese machines, but instead should focus on the development of a multipurpose aircraft, reminiscent of the technique of “Star wars”. So there was a plan to create F-35, is a computer with wings.

But, as it turned out, the computer is “buggy” and does not justify the hopes that were pinned on him. It does not matter if the era of “strategic partnership” with Russia continued. Computer with wings in the future and armed with a laser weapon, is the right tendency in the development of fighter aircraft. But the “honeymoon” in relations between Moscow and Washington was over, and it turned out that the Russian multi-purpose fighters “su” and their Chinese copies as a means of waging air combat can very effectively counter the more “raw” F-35. More maneuverable fighter F-22 with the task of combating the “su” cope better than F-35.

Money can’t buy happiness

One of the reasons why the American government made a choice in favor of the F-35 was its price. F-22 is too expensive. In 2010, the price of one machine of this type was 150 million dollars, the F-35 was supposed to be much cheaper – in the range of 30-40 million. However, in 2013, the price has ranged from 98 to 116 million dollars depending on the modification. Next year the cost of one F-35, according to the Defense resource Update has reached astronomical figures: from 181 million for the easiest option for the air force to nearly 300 million in the version for the Navy. However, according to the estimates of the other American Internet resource, Business Insider, the price of one aircraft of type F-35 is on average $ 160 million. In any case, the F-35 turned out to be more expensive than the F-22.

Now about self-sufficiency. F-35 purchase Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey. Perhaps the F-22 would see more and more customers, but in 1997 the government decided not to export the Raptor outside the US. According to The Diplomat, “the unspoken cause of this prohibition was the fear that Israel, having access to the technology F-22, will give them to Russia or to China”, as well as the USA for political reasons could not discriminate against Israel, by excluding it from the list of recipients of the most modern technologies, they introduced a General prohibition on exports of F-22″. As a result, all the burden in the purchase of Raptor rests on the shoulders of the us budget. Talk of the need for the lifting of the ban on export F-22 to allies and partners the United States conducted in 2007, however no decision was taken.

Interestingly, these US allies in the middle East, like Qatar and Kuwait, with significant funds, and therefore able to buy F-35, however, preferred to buy “classic” time-tested American multi-purpose fighters. Qatar, according to Reuters, buy 36 aircraft F-15E Strike Eagle, and Kuwait – 24 aircraft type F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Even before Saudi Arabia decided to purchase 84 F-15SA.

However, not all countries prefer a new “time-tested old”. South Korea initially inclined to buy the F-15, changed its decision in favor of 40 units of the F-35.

Mystery Raptor

It is clear that in addressing the fighters “su” and their Chinese twins who are derived by Alexander Pokryshkina in the Second world war the formula “height – speed – maneuver – fire”, United States and its allies rely on classic multi-purpose fighter aircraft type F-15, F/A-18 and F-22. But the question remains: why the U.S. feared getting Raptor technologies in potentially hostile hands, and therefore imposed a total ban on the export F-22, but at the same time, apparently had no similar concerns about the more modern F-35? There are two possible answers to this question.

First – the US was not afraid of the technology transfer, F-35 Russia or China for the reason that none of these countries do not have manufacturing capabilities and facilities for copying and mass reproduction. While technology F-22 closer to the designers and the manufacturers of Moscow and Beijing.

The second is in the design and production of Raptor use technology that give it a special flying qualities that provide advantages over potential adversaries, and Washington fears the penetration of these technologies “in the wrong hands” even more than the computer filling the F-35. Remember that some technologies used more than half a century ago to create ultrafast and high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft SR-71 Blackbird are still classified.

Maybe, though, that it’s much easier and it is an ordinary unwieldy American state machine, which took the decision not to export the F-22, and to cancel it, you need to make as many approvals and perform as many bureaucratic procedures that it is better to leave everything as is. In any case, one thing is clear: the U.S. and the West in General in the conquest of domination in the air decided to move the focus from computers to cruise the classic wings.

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