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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Gates Goals Undercut Air Force Capabilities and Leaders

I haven't been highly critical of Gate's decision to try and cut several military programs. However this article starts to make some decent arguments against his proposed cuts.

http://lexingtoninstitute.org/1402.shtml
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Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D.
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Apr 21, 2009
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Air Force chief of staff Norton Schwartz faced biting criticism from his service's senior leaders in a video teleconference last week. They accused him of betraying the service's requirements process by siding with defense secretary Robert Gates in terminating key air power programs without rigorous analysis, and signaled that Schwartz's credibility is at risk among his Air Force peers. Doubts about Schwartz have been rife since Gates selected him to replace the less pliable T. Michael Moseley last summer, after Moseley clashed with Gates over the F-22 fighter and management of nuclear weapons. A look at Gates' plans for Air Force programs shows why Schwartz's tenure could resemble a controlled flight into terrain.

Airlifters. Gates wants to end production of the only long-range airlifter currently being built, the C-17, at 205 planes. That number is the low end of a fleet mix recommended in the 2005 Mobility Capability Study, adjusted to compensate for a later decision to forego putting new engines on most older C-5 transports. The C-17 and C-5 are the only long-range jet transports in the joint fleet, and under the Gates plan that fleet would be capped at about 315 planes. But a Government Accountability Office report found the 2005 study probably underestimated future mobility needs. Also, Gates is increasing the size of ground forces that would use airlifters by 92,000 personnel while expanding operations in Africa. Nonetheless, he decided to terminate C-17 without completing a new mobility study.

Fighters. Gates proposes to end the F-22 fighter program at 187 planes while sticking with plans to buy 2,443 less pricey F-35 Joint Strike Fighters -- about 1,800 of which would go to the Air Force. But the two planes were designed to operate together with the F-22 providing air dominance and the F-35 focusing on ground attacks. The F-35 lacks features such as vectored thrust and fuel-conserving supercruise, so it is not as capable in combating enemy defenses. Defense secretary William Cohen wrote ten years ago that, "The F-22 will enable the Joint Strike Fighter to carry out its primary strike mission. The JSF was not designed for the air superiority mission." Neither Gates nor Schwartz has explained how this division of labor can work while ending F-22 production far below stated requirements.

Bombers. The war-winning potential of long-range bombers was the original rationale for an independent air force, and today the U.S. Air Force is the only military organization in the world possessing a sizable fleet of heavy bombers. But secretary Gates said on April 6 that "we will not pursue a development program for a follow-on Air Force bomber until we have a better understanding of the need, the requirement and the technology." Money set aside for a future bomber has been taken for other purposes, leaving the service with a decrepit fleet of 160 cold war bombers. Only a handful of these planes -- the stealthy B-2s -- are likely to survive a prolonged encounter with modern air defenses.

Tankers. The Air Force has been trying since the decade began to modernize the aerial refueling tankers that make it possible for U.S. airlifters, fighters and bombers to operate in remote places like Afghanistan, and secretary Gates has stood by plans to develop a new tanker. That's good, because most of the planes in the aerial refueling fleet are approaching half a century of age. But even on tankers, it isn't so clear Gates knows what he's doing. He says he will lay his body "across the tracks" to prevent Congress from splitting production between two teams because it would cost too much -- ignoring the fact that a dual award would replace aging tankers much faster and avoid billions of dollars in upkeep for the current fleet. Is it any wonder General Schwartz is having a hard time explaining himself?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 01:37 PM
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Its like Carter all over again.

Who's gonna be Reagan??

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 02:26 PM
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Its like Carter all over again.

Who's gonna be Reagan??
I don't think we'll ever have another Reagan. Nobody has big enough balls anymore. If this turd keeps growing, someone will emerge from the ashes.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 05:16 PM
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Gates proposes to end the F-22 fighter program at 187 planes while sticking with plans to buy 2,443 less pricey F-35 Joint Strike Fighters -- about 1,800 of which would go to the Air Force
So much for the F-22\F-35 Hi-Low mix....

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 05:34 PM
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Just give me some C-130 J's. My planes are getting old.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 05:40 PM
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Of course we need to spend our money on paper for treaties, and G6 Summits, oh and meetings with socialist countries to negotiate. I guess that last one could be tied to money for treaties.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 12:37 AM
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Just give me some C-130 J's. My planes are getting old.
I heard the AF was going to retire all the E's. Damn, it's been almost 50 years, huh?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 12:40 AM
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I'm not any part of military planning, nor do I have access to the scheduling of the aircraft; but from what I've seen, those C-17s are getting their asses worked off out here! I'm sure they're working within their limitations, but it just seems like a lot.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 09:07 AM
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gates is a good guy, and a true conservative, so I am going to defend him.

first off the air forces budget was actually increased
second its obvious that drones are the wave of the future, all the capabilities of a manned aircraft, at a fraction of the price, so more money is going in that direction
as for the F22, its a fighter jet, its designed to shoot down enemy fighters, well not many countries have fighters, china and russia, and both those countries have all the intel they would ever need on the F22 thanks to all the leaks on the internet, so its already been compromised.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 09:23 AM
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I heard the AF was going to retire all the E's. Damn, it's been almost 50 years, huh?
Yeah I've seen E's with ungodly amount of hours. We have 25 year old H2's and after so many trips to the desert they are getting tired.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cannonball996 View Post
gates is a good guy, and a true conservative, so I am going to defend him.

first off the air forces budget was actually increased
second its obvious that drones are the wave of the future, all the capabilities of a manned aircraft, at a fraction of the price, so more money is going in that direction
as for the F22, its a fighter jet, its designed to shoot down enemy fighters, well not many countries have fighters, china and russia, and both those countries have all the intel they would ever need on the F22 thanks to all the leaks on the internet, so its already been compromised.
I'll agree that Gates is a good guy..

The argument isn't over spending, it is over allocation of those dollars.

The F22 is hardly compromised. Even if the Chinese and Russians got every bit of info on the F22 (they didn't) it would be years before they could put that information to good use. Even then our aircraft undergo modification every few years. Shortcomings are upgraded, new abilities are added.

India proved that even a 3rd world country can take on the US Air Force. With Mig 29s they managed to beat the USAF (they were using F-15s) in several head to head exercises with good tactics. Those practice engagements showed a lot of weaknesses in the USAF's abilities. The F22 easily overcame those issues.

The F35 isn't a dog fighter. It has limited internal Air to Air stowage. You can put more missiles on the wings but that compromises stealth. It doesn't have super cruise nor the range of the F22. It is going to make an OUTSTANDING attack fighter but it will never be a good air superiority fighter.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cannonball996 View Post
gates is a good guy, and a true conservative, so I am going to defend him.

first off the air forces budget was actually increased
second its obvious that drones are the wave of the future, all the capabilities of a manned aircraft, at a fraction of the price, so more money is going in that direction
as for the F22, its a fighter jet, its designed to shoot down enemy fighters, well not many countries have fighters, china and russia, and both those countries have all the intel they would ever need on the F22 thanks to all the leaks on the internet, so its already been compromised.
Please tell me your source saying that all the F22 intel has been compromised. If your resorting to that stream of news talking about the compromise of non-classified information about the F22, I would have to question your intelligence and logic in terms of that being "all the intel they would ever need on the F22".
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