Pro or Con the F-22: Two Writers Square Off
(Source: defense-aerospace.com; posted Jan. 31, 2008)
PARIS --- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, based in the Texas city that is also home to the Lockheed Martin factory that produces F-16 F-22 fighters, published on successive Sundays two “Opinion” columns by critics and backers of the F-22 Raptor.

Below are the first few paragraphs of each piece, with direct links to the full articles on the Star-Telegram’s website.


The F-22: expensive, irrelevant and counterproductive

By Pierre Sprey, James Stevenson and Winslow Wheeler

(Jan. 27, 2008) On Dec. 12, the Air Force announced with considerable fanfare at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia that its F-22 fighter had reached "full operational capability." Air Combat Command commander Gen. John Corley called it a "key milestone."

Brimming with pride, a spokesman for the manufacturer, Lockheed, stated: "The F-22 is ready for world-wide operations" -- and then added, "... should it be called upon."

His afterthought makes the point: There are, of course, two wars going on, and the F-22 has yet to fly a single sortie over the skies of Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor has the Air Force announced any intention of sending the F-22 to either theater.

The Air Force is quite right to keep the F-22 as far as possible from either conflict. The airplane is irrelevant to both, and were it to appear in those skies, it almost certainly would set U.S. and allied forces back.

Click here to read the full story.


F-22 is still what the U.S. needs

By J. R. Labbe

(Jan. 20, 2008) Gordon England blinked.

The deputy defense secretary announced Thursday that the Pentagon will request funding for four additional F-22 Raptors next year, backtracking ever so slightly from earlier indications that he wanted to begin phasing out production of the fifth-generation fighter after this year.

This is good news, and not just for the more than 1,800 Lockheed Martin employees who build the plane's midfuselage at the company's Fort Worth plant. America needs this plane, not just in theaters of combat but patrolling the skies overhead.

England's announcement, although welcome, still falls short of what he really needs to say: "I agree with Congress and the Air Force. The F-22 is this nation's only fifth-generation fighter in full production. Ending the program at this stage would be a boneheaded move for both defense of the homeland and our ability to dominate the airspace over our global allies, interests and deployed troops."

OK, so no one expects England to say "boneheaded," but that's what he is being.

Click here to read the full story.

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