Wednesday, April 8, 2009

F-22 - An Obituary

Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force

"The Defense Department plans to end the F-22 Raptor fighter jet program that employs 2,000 workers in Marietta. The move is part of one of the most sweeping makeovers of defense spending in recent history." -Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Pentagon plans to ax F-22 project"

The F-22 is a magnificent aircraft capable of striking the enemy before the enemy can strike back. Carrying six missiles and internal guns for firepower, and a stealth build for avoidance, the F-22 makes up for it's size and cost with a level of survivabillity seldom seen in combat aircraft, along with some of the lightest maintenance requirements ever attained. At 44.5 feet of wingspan and 60 feet of length, it is one of the larger fighters ever built, and although not specifically mentioned, this large size no doubt leads to greater crumple and wound room to take damage. Although the F-22's max speed is only Mach 1.8, it's "supercruise" speed of Mach 1.5 can be sustained for long distances without engine damage or excessive fuel expenditure, as no afterburner is necessary. The only possible complaint one could have with this aircraft is that it can't land on a carrier.

A full report on the aircraft can be found here.

Technical Art courtesy of Wikimedia

Back in 1983, when the economy was at the weakest point it had been since 1942, Ronald Reagan spent massive, deemed unwise by some at the time, amounts of money on racing the Soviets for arms. He not only won the Cold War without firing a shot, but within a year, the economy recovered. Barrack Obama spends a similar amount of money on "Stimulus," and then says "we should not expect miracles." Meanwhile, he is ridding Atlanta of 2,000 jobs at Lockheed Martin Marietta, building one of the most incredible aircraft America has ever designed.

Perhaps saddest of all is that, in true Keynesian fashion, it would actually reduce expenditures for the Air Force in the long-run, especially if it replaced our fleet of F-16's, as it's much sturdier, hardier, more expensive but more reliable parts would make maintenance nearly "Plug and Play" (American Federation of Scientists.) It would also be, by a principle called common sense, safer to fly for this reason, saving money on training and saving the most valuable component of all, a human being.

Proletariat of the World, UNITE!

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