The United States Air Force should invest further into the F-22 rather than the F-35
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A little background:
The United States Air Force began contracts for the development of the F-22 Raptor ~ 1990. The aircraft entered service in 2005 as the first and only fifth-generation fighter operational. Despite cost and development struggles, the USAF has maintained a fleet of about 187 Raptors since project termination in 2008. Reasons cited for termination consisted of high production costs and "Lack of relevant adversaries". Since then the F-22 fleet has been updated and upgraded, but not expanded.
The F-35 Lighting project is a more recent project. Just like the F-22, the F-35 is primarily developed by Lockheed Martin. The United States, NATO, and many other western nations have already placed large orders for the Lightning. When the F-35 becomes operational, it will be the second operational fifth-generation fighter. Arguments for the development of this aircraft include, but are not limited to:
-Advanced stealth technology
-Diverse missions due to STOL capabilities
-Strike and CAS capabilities
-State of the art avionics and air to air defenses
The F-22 is a better investment and should be further developed rather than the F-35 Lighting II.
Claim #1: The F-22 and other AF jets can accomplish anything the F-35 can
Most advocates for the F-35 and opposition to the F-22 state that the F-22 is not diverse enough and cannot perform the strike missions that the F-35 can. They are mistaken. It is true, the F-22's primary role is as an air superiority fighter. But the stealth characteristics of the Raptor provide diverse strike mission capability that the F-35 could never provide. All aspect stealth and supersonic supercruise mean that the F-22 can enter enemy airspace unnoticed, deploy either a 250 lb JDAM, a 250 lb Small Diameter Bomb, or even a 1000 lb JDAM, and use rear stealth to quickly leave enemy territory before recognized as a threat. This has been demonstrated by the recent strikes against the Islamic State. Were the Air Force to spend a little time and money, the Raptor's weapon bays could be altered to take a variety of AGM's to increase CAS capability. Additional strike and CAS could be covered by the A-10 or B-1. (that's a whole separate debate.) The F-35 has no special abilities unique to itself.
Claim #2: The F-35 lacks sufficient air to air capabilities
Since 1944, the United States has prided itself in owning the skies of any battlefield. Owning the skies is impossible when our primary fighter cannot always defeat enemy aircraft. The days of fighting terror will come to an end soon. The US will face enemies that have their own air capabilities (I.E. Russia, China, Iran). The US needs a fighter that can avoid radar detection, fly faster, out maneuver, out range, and out shoot any enemy plane. The F-35 as a primary fighter cannot fulfill this role. In fact, the F-35 will be rendered completely useless without proper protection from planes like the F-22.
Claim #3: The F-22 is no more expensive than the F-35
Previously, advocates of the F-35 have cited the high production and flight costs of the F-22 as a reason to choose the F-35. Due to setbacks and inflation of production, the F-35 is now as expensive to build and create as the F-22. The US needs an advanced fighter force. Both the F-35 and the F-22 are expensive. This should be a non factor in deciding which to fund.
(Last one is a blog, however it is properly cited.)
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