Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Here's Why...

When the disarmament fans start griping about the cost of our piddling 185 Raptors and the waste of money on anything close to the programmed buy of F-35, one of the arguments they love to trot out is that there is no need for an air dominance fighter. For that matter there is no need for a modern 21st century tactical fighter force at all. All future wars are going to be Special Ops against fanatical jihadi terrorists in backwaters of the world.
This is the reason we need to modernize our force in sufficient numbers to maintain air superiority. The rate at which Tu-50 has moved from one-off prototype to production ready jet shouldn't be astonishing.

Putin to Watch as Stealth Pair Dances at Moscow Air Show

Don't doubt for a minute that the weapons system of this jet is a bit crude compared to F-22 and F-35. But that slight degrade in capability can easily be overcome by fielding a thousand of them to handle our guys at roughly ten-to-one.

They've done that in the past and it is core to their procurement doctrine. Mass trumps finesse in their book.


immagikman said...

What???? You expect the troglodytes to learn from history? How silly of you Ed.

WV: noless No less than total disarmament will appease the left.

The Flying Barrister said...


Care to talk about the physical features of that jet?

I looked it up on youtube when I saw the article earlier today.

1. There appears to be a pair of canard above the intakes and in roughly the same plane as the leading edge of the wing. Does it appear that way to you?

2. What are those foils in front of the vertical stabilizers?

3. What does Sukhoi place in the structure between the engine nozzles? They used that type of form before.

4. The foreward section of the fuselage looks a heck of a lot like the F-22. The verticles are slanted out like the 22 as well.

5. The F-22 and some Sukhois, like the 27 and 35, have impressive lower speed handling characteristics and the thrust vectoring adds a new fold. But the G's would be onerous to intolerable at higher speeds wouldn't they? Can they be done at traditional dogfighting speeds? Is that maneuverability relevant when there is look, fire, and forget capability?

6. At $100 million an issue, the jet will still be high. But I understand that the last round of F-15S birds built for the Saudis were in the $95 million range. We are a long way from the days of a $12 MM F-16.

The Flying Barrister said...

I meant to add that overall, the bird looks a lot like the F-22, just like the later Migs and Sukhois looked a lot similar to the F-15.

The Russians were always better at stealing technology than developing, and then copying and expounding on it. I wonder how much the Russians and Chinese have managed to steal from Lockheed, Northrup Grumman, and Boeing to use in their fighters. The Russsians had their shot at some technology when we lost that F117 in the Blakan theater back in 99.

Don Davis said...

Quantity has a quality all it own


On this one I agree with you completely ED, Clinton did a great job giving Bush the tools he needed to fight Al-queda. Unfortunately Bush, Gates and Rumsfeld (remember these are Bush era cuts)have failed to heed the old saw about the Generals being prepared to fight the last war and not the next. And I suspect we will pay for it in the next one


hitman said...

Let's all go buy a bunch of stuff at Walmart, so the peace loving Chinese will be able to afford some of these too.

Ed Skinner said...

Don't neglect the Chinese J-20. If they're showin' that, what're they holdin' back?

Ed Rasimus said...


The Russians and Chinese have always been adept at co-opting planforms but not doing so well with technology. They tend to brute-force rather than finesse. Cast-iron is so much more readily workable than titanium or carbon-fiber. A bigger radar is easier than data fusion from off-platform sources.

It is almost a mantra that simple equals stealth. The more flapping, moving, jutting maneuver gadgets you bolt on, the less stealthy you are. Canards and double-tandem vertical tail planes are great for airshow dazzle maneuvers like Cobras, but not so great for Romulan cloaking.

Ed Rasimus said...


I'm seeing a bit of revisionist history here. Clinton inherited the collapse of the Soviet Union. That allowed him to massively down-size the military, reducing the AF by half the tactical fighter wings, the Army by half the maneuver divisions and the Navy by 200 ships. Rewrite that as Clinton bequeathed George W. the perfect force for al-Qaeda. Amazing.

Then Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld succumbing to generals preparing for the last war...Really? It isn't the executive branch that signs procurement authorizations. It was Congress that slashed and burned through R&D for next-gen weapons. Take the 850 jet Raptor contract, stretch it, cut the total buy, do it again and again for 20 years and then bitch about how much the per-jet cost is.

I suppose next you are going to describe the defense preparations for the next 20 years possible conflicts of the current administration. I can hardly wait. I'm really liking the retirement slash proposal. A bloody 401(k)!!!!

The Flying Barrister said...

Is that post by Don Davis serious?

Ed's response above did not even touch on what the Clintonistas did to the civil intelligence apparatus. The entry classes at CIA for covert offices slowed down to a trickle and a freightrain load of experienced officers departed in those two terms. There was a hell of a drain of talent and capability.

Of course, according to the Daily Kos, Democrat Underground, and Huffington Post, the libs were right on and it was all Bush's fault.

Anonymous said...

Ed, the defeats of the Taliban in AFghanistan abd the invasion of Iraq were AMAZING Feats of Military prowess all done with the Military Bush inherited from the Clintion administration

As for the the F-22 why don't you post in detail the timeline of cuts in the F-22 program. Date when each cut was nade and President, SecDef and party in power in congress.

And before you say "do your own damn research" we did that once before. The results were not pretty for you when I did. So its your turn to do the research


Anonymous said...

@Flying Barrister

Some might wish to blame the intel community for 9-11

I choose to think like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor Al-queda came up with a good military plan and executed it well. As a military plan it will probably go down as biggest bang for buck of all tme. However like the Japanese the end result was not in favor of AQ


Ed Rasimus said...

Leadfoot, I don't recall ever telling you to do your own damn research. But I will tell you I was involved in ATF Dem/Val phase at Northrop in 1987. That program was for acquisition of 850 aircraft and an initial operational capability by 1995. That means the program decline spanned Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama. During that time majorities of both parties controlled the legislature where the total buy cuts were made.

Your citation of the military success in Iraq and Afghanistan are exactly what you cited as problematic. "Using the last war as the basis for force sizing and future defense."

The fact remains that the US needs a modern high-tech AF to face future threats. Tu-50 is such a threat. A fleet of 185 jets means you take 50 out for training, 25 out for weapons development and that leaves you four squadrons for world-wide operation of which one quarter are in maintenance at all times. It isn't cost effective unless your air force is defending Guatamala.

Don Davis said...

When someome posted XX (i don't recall the actual) Ugly facts about Israel on r.a.m. you called BS and I said prove it. You then said something to the effect of "do your own damn research". So I did and you were pretty surprised at the truthfulness of those ugly facts. (Note when a dumass like me whups one of the smartest guys on the planet you don't forget it, which is why I tune in)

As to the F-22 cuts you'll find the real decline started with Bush. Yes clinton delayed it but in 1987 we had the USSR and in 93 we didn't. Delay made sense. For the most part it's Rumsfeld who is to blame for gutting conventional forces not Obama

I don't agree with force sizing. I'd like 450 F-22's and a rebuild of the F-15 fleet along with other improvements to our conventional forces. But it isn't going to happen.

BTW it's PAK FA or Sukhoi T-50, it's not a Tupolev product


Ed Rasimus said...

Not your best effort:

"When someome posted XX (i don't recall the actual) Ugly facts about Israel on r.a.m. you called BS and I said prove it. You then said something to the effect of "do your own damn research". So I did and you were pretty surprised at the truthfulness of those ugly facts."

So, someone posted something sometime somewhere and you assert that I said something and you further assert that you then refuted what you assert I said about what you assert someone said but you don't remember what it was.

Guilty as charged. The prosecution rests.

Anna said...

Wow Ed, they did come out of the woodwork on this one.

Maybe a simple analogy will help in the comprehension.

Lets say there is an electronic widget for the XFB-25 made in Texas. With a planned production run of 1,200 airplanes over 10 years TI can deliver the widget for $1,500 each. But a peace dividend is declared and production is slashed to just 600 planes. Now the R&D costs have to be borne by fewer airplanes so the widget cost rises. This effect encompasses every part of the XFB-25. So the per unit price for each plane rises 30% lets say. Now Congress screams like a cheap whore over the new price so they slash production further to only 400 planes and the price rises again. Do a few more rounds of this and you get the $2billion B-2 Spirit. Or worse the program cancelled outright without a plane built.

Meanwhile Russia builds hundreds of almost stealthy fighters. So does the PRC. And the US is stuck with hardly any force multiplying F-22s.

Don Davis said...

So Ed you said something about revisionist history, Right?

So when were the cuts to the F-22 made. President, Secdef congress and date. I can produce the evidence that the number was 183 on November 10, 2007. Gee who was President on that day? Wasn't Obama was it?

Ed Rasimus said...


I've said repeatedly here, but that doesn't fit your point, that the contract number was reduced repeatedly under every intervening administration from 1988 onward.

Here's the history:

The United States Air Force originally planned to order 750 ATFs at a cost of $26.2 billion,[30] with production beginning in 1994; however, the 1990 Major Aircraft Review led by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney altered the plan to 648 aircraft beginning in 1996. The goal changed again in 1994, when it became 438 aircraft entering service in 2003 or 2004, but a 1997 Department of Defense report put the purchase at 339.[30] In 2003, the Air Force said that the existing congressional cost cap limited the purchase to 277. By 2006, the Pentagon said it will buy 183 aircraft, which would save $15 billion but raise the cost of each aircraft, this was implemented in the form of a multi-year procurement plan, which allowed for further orders later. The total cost of the program by 2006 was $62 billion.[23]

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ed,

We’ll starts todays lesson on procurement numbers by looking ta what happened during the 1990 Major Aircraft with the C-17 which was reduced from 220 aircraft to 120. The present day number of C-17’s is approaching 233. The lesson from the C-17 procuremnent story is this:

Program numbers are relatively meaningless until the decision is made to terminate the program.

The decision to terminate F-22 at 187 was made in 2006. Republican President (Bush), Republican SecDef (Rumsfeld), republican congress, democratic senate.
Yes Obama could have reversed course but why should he when politicians far to his right have already made a decision to terminate as well as his Republican SecDef making the same recommendation as Rumsfeld?.

Ed, the unnecessary war in Iraq has drained our national treasury forcing these decision made by REPUBLICANS

But hey it was nice hanging wasn’t it?

Me I’d put up with Saddam and have 450 F-22’s. You chose differently.


Anonymous said...

One other thing, Russia would like to build 1000 with 200 to the Russian Air Force, 200 to the Indian Air Force and 600 for export with Vietnam and South Korea as the target customers. It's extremely unlikely the F-22 is going to be outnumbered by anyone's Air Force 5th Gen fighters.