Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More on F-22s

The F 22 air superiority fighter is a plane without a modern world mission what with winning the cold war and all. The Air Forces wants lots more despite the fact they they are of no use in either Iraq or Afghanistan. "The reality is, we are fighting two wars ... and the F-22 has not performed a single mission in either theater," Gates said in an appearance before a Senate committee last week.

Matthew Yglesias makes a good point,
In the Air Force's defense, I would say that both the point about the aging of the F-15s and the point about the number of F-22s currently on order looking a bit small have some merit to them. But this is an entirely self-generated problem. Instead of finding a cost-effective solution to the problem of aging F-15s -- like building new, somewhat upgraded F-15s -- the Air Force decided to design an impractically expensive new air superiority fighter. Having done so, the country now can't afford these planes in the quantity the Air Force deems desirable. It'd be as if the NYPD first insisted that in the future it would only buy cars from Lexus and then wound up puzzled as to why they didn't have enough cars.
What hostile or potentially hostile power has a plane that an F-15, 16 or 18 couldn't handle? And we are building the modern F-35 joint strike fighter (with ground attack and air superiority capability) with several allies all of whom want to buy them. The f-35 is half the cost of the F-22. No one wants the F-22 but the USAF.

While every other advanced nation or soon to be advanced nation in the world is investing in modern infrastructure, we can't aford to do that because we spend absurdly disproportionately on military defense.

2005 US military spending (excluding Iraq / Afghanistan) compared to the rest of the world.


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