Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Finally Moved My Blog

Well I finally got around to moving my blog. In the final analysis moving to a free blog service with a CAPTCHA feature was easier than upgrading and continuing to administer my own software, and I'm allowing anyone to post a comment, so I don't feel like I've lost anything by the move. I've already done most of the customization I'm going to do though I still need to figure out how to include a link back to the archive of my blog up until this point. Well that's enough of the boring technical details.

I did notice after I disabled comments on the old blog, that quite a bit of my motivation for blogging vanished. Obviously not every entry got much less deserved a comment, but the chance of eliciting some reaction was always exciting. Having spent much of the time allowed to me for blogging on setting up the blog I don't have anything earthshattering to write about, but I would like to point out an interesting article about the F-22 Raptor. The criticism is important just on it's own merit, but the comparison they make between the F-22 and the Me-262 “Stormbird” is fascinating.

New look, same whining


Anonymous john said...

I can comment again ... woot woot! Not sure what to say ... but nonetheless, I'm the first one to comment on the new blog ... something I can tell the grandkids. ;)

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

I, however, have new and improved whining to add to my comments.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I read the article, and I have a few problems with the things he said. First of all he really didn't have a lot of facts to back up his comments. For example the bit about needing to turn on the radar to find the opponent. He failed to mention that the Raptor uses a very advanced phase-arrayed radar that is much harder to locate than the radar's used in other aircraft. In a lot of the mock battles that have pitted F-15s against F-22's the F-22's have been able to "destroy" the F-15s without ever having been seen by the F-15s. He also failed to mention that the Air Force uses AWACS or airborne radars that allow fighters to engage enemy without the need of turning on their own radar.

He's right that stealthy doesn't mean you can't see it at all. All it means is that the range at which you can detect it is reduced. That doesn't mean however that stealth isn't an advantage. Besides the F-117 is first generation stealth whereas the F-22 is 3rd generation and they have made improvements.

He also didn't have anything to back up the claim that the F-22 isn't as maneuverable as the F-16 (which is not an air superiority fighter anyway.) The F-22 has thrust vectoring which means that it can change the angle of the exhaust up to 20 degrees. The F-22 can also pull more gees than the F-16. From all accounts I've heard that the F-22 is the most manuvearable fighter the Air Force has ever had.

Finally the whole issue of maintainability didn't have anything to back it up either. From the reports of the operational squadrons, the F-22 has nearly the same regeneration rates of the F-15s/F-16s and it has a lot better regeneration rate than what the F-15s/F-16s had at the same point in their implementation. They've made a lot of progress in their stealth technology. So they can reapply the stealth coating a lot easier.

So basically the guy didn't know what he was talking about, had no facts to back up what he said, and was simply making a very poor historical comparison that proved nothing but his own ignorance.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

Wow! I think I hit a nerve! :) I appreciate your insight, I did think that it was a little light on references, but I think the key point still remains. Is the F-22 better than 10 F-16's? Particularly in light of the fact that the cold war has ended?

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

First of all, that isn't a good comparison, the F-22 is not replacing the F-16, it's replacing the F-15. Which is one of the things that really irritated me about the article. The comments devoid of facts or even intelligent conjecture were merely humorous, but the misrepresentation of facts and skewed comparisons were what really annoyed me.

For example, they say that you could get 10 F-16s for the price of 1 F-22, and they probably base that off the price they gave of $361 million per plane. But that isn't what it actually cost to make an F-22. Basically they took the total price of the program, all the R&D, the testing, the investment in tooling, and facilities and then divided that by the number planes made (183 X 361 million ~ 65 billion). Which of course is skewed because they aren't making very many planes for the investment. Each consecutive plane costs less as the process is streamlined, so buying more aircraft would be considerably cheaper. Basically you put in all of that investment, buy the most expensive planes, and then stop short and don't advantage of that. I would be very surprised if the cost of making the additional 180 planes would be the same as buying 1800 F-16s. Especially since the F-16 isn't in production (at least to my knowledge and definitely not at that scale) so you would need to invest in facilities and tooling to make them. Then you have to pay for the extra cost of maintaining and flying that many aircraft, the extra manpower needed, etc. So they really didn't give the whole picture.

You're right, it is a debatable issue about whether the F-22 is worth it. If you just look at the current situation, it would be hard to argue that we need F-22's. But you can't be that short sighted. What about 10,15,20 years down the road? What threats will there be then. For example, China's economy is booming and they are spending more and more on their military, purchasing more and more advanced weapons. Hopefully it won't come to a conflict, but you still have the issue of Taiwan and progressively more limited resources. The military has to be prepared for current and future threats, and air superiority is definitely not an area you want to fall behind in.

3:41 PM  

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