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Baddest USAF fighter gets none in Libya  (Source: Air Force Times)
B-2 bombers flew without their Raptor escorts

The U.S. Air Force is engaged in Libya right now and it is using mostly older aircraft like the F-15E to do the heavy fighting and ground attacks. The B-2 stealth bomber was employed though and in many hostile airspace operations the B-2 would have been accompanied by the F-22 Raptor, the most capable air superiority fighter in the USAF arsenal.

However, in Libyan operations the B-2's have apparently flown on a mission without the help from the F-22Air Force Times reports that the reason the F-22 wasn't sent along with three B-2 bombers that bombed targets in Libya was a combination of the lack of need and the limitations of the F-22.

A flight of three B-2 bombers left Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to make bombing runs in Libya on March 20. Generally, Air Force doctrine would have the B-2s fly with F-22s for protection from enemy fighters. The Air Force Times reports that USAF Maj. Eric Hilliard, spokesman for Africa Command said, "I see no indication that F-22s were used as an escort for the B-2 nor do I see anything that indicates the Raptor will be used in future missions over Libya."

Analyst Mark Gunzinger of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis on Washington said, "Frankly, they [F-22s] might not be needed. Libya’s defenses were not that robust to begin with and were rolled back quite handily."

Other than the F-22s not being needed, perhaps a more telling reason was that the limited capabilities of the Libyan air force have kept the vaunted fighter on the sidelines. Libya fields mostly older fighters and the F-22's performance and capabilities weren’t needed. The F-22 also has a very limited capability to communicate with other coalition aircraft operating in Libya by design. Radio emission from data links that would enable the Raptor to communicate with other fighters would also potentially give the position of the stealthy F-22 away.

Analyst Loren Thompson from the Lexington Institute said, "The designers of the F-22 had a dilemma, which is whether to have the connectivity that would allow versatility or to have the radio silence that would facilitate stealthiest. What they opted for was a limited set of tactical data links."

The F-22 as it is now can only communicate with other F-22's via a data links during flights. Other than the communications issue, the F-22 also has limited capability to hit ground targets. This is to be expected in an air superiority fighter. The F-22 is capable of carrying a pair of 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions guided by GPS. It’s can't carry the 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs that the F-15E Strike Eagle and other aircraft can use. The F-22 also lacks that ability to create synthetic aperture maps of the earth surface that are used to select ground targets.

There were plans to add the ability of the F-22 to use the Multifunction Advanced Data-link the F-35 will use, but the finding for that program was pulled last year. That capability would have come in the Increment 3.2 software update for the F-22 and would have also added the ability for the F-22 to target eight ground targets at once.

In 2009, the Senate also pulled funding for additional F-22 fighters.

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RE: Um, no
By Mudhen6 on 3/23/2011 12:58:54 PM , Rating: 3
I agree 100% with that. I mean, what the heck are we doing? Obama hasn't made his message clear and I think we deserve some answers.

I doubt we'd get those answers. Nobody knows who's in charge, what the end-game/exit-strategy is, or even the current mission objectives.

RE: Um, no
By Nfarce on 3/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: Um, no
By vol7ron on 3/23/2011 9:44:57 PM , Rating: 1
I'd like to hear more about this "political committee." Most politicians don't know anything about war. In fact, many give a dull-eyed gaze when you mention "honor" as if it's Old English - the kind of word/phrase that you recognize, but just don't know what it means.

If it's a few ex-military strategists, then I think they might have better ability to make decisions than just one person; especially one that didn't know much about it some short time ago.

That being said, it's important to note that we didn't lose the war of Vietnam. The whole dissonance over that fact has given the war a negative connotation. Sure, many of us died, but more of them died. Regardless of the fact that there's no win in death, the point is we were unprepared for that war. It was guerrilla warfare around a political movement - that alone says enough: "lack of preparation and an excuse to make a stink."

Back on subject, the F-22 is bad-ass. I rather save it for another time shortly in the future.

RE: Um, no
By Regected on 3/23/2011 10:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, we need as many tricks up our sleeves as we can get when the war with China starts.

RE: Um, no
By Azethoth on 3/24/2011 4:47:10 AM , Rating: 3
Wow people. Read some lips and use some imagination. We are there to implement a "No Move Zone" against the dictator's team. Yes there is a lot of "No Fly Zone" thrown around because that is popular from Iraq and Bosnia. However, "any means necessary" was also chucked in there which makes it "No Move Zone".

Expect anything that moves to be stomped on. Oh wait, no need to expect, just watch it on television. Expect this to keep going until the "rebels" spread out and control all of Libya except for Tripoli.

So thats one part of it. Now for the other part. "Khadaffy Duck has to Go". Or something like that is what the Commander in Chief said. So expect us to kick ass and take names till his dumb ass is done gone.

Now I know that Republicans running for president called for exactly this last week (I am looking at you Newt Gingrinch), but now that Obama is actually doing it you are all flip flopping to "omg no, we dare not invade Libya, we can never win". Man up ffs. USA! USA! USA!

This is so totally not like Vietnam its not even funny. It is though totally like opening stage Afghanistan where we just did air cover for some rag-tag tribes till they conquered the whole place.

If you need to angst about something, then try to worry that we don't fustercluck things after Daffy Duck is gone.

RE: Um, no
By Alexvrb on 3/25/2011 12:39:23 AM , Rating: 2
OK so after we've "contained" Gadhafi and his boys to Tripoli... what then? Do we leave and watch him roll out again? Do we waste Tripoli? Do we park our rears in Libya for the long haul?

If this was Bush, would you STILL be saying "Man up! This ain't Vietnam son!"? I don't think so. Worse yet, you compared this to Afghanistan. You know, one of the places the Democrats wanted us out before Obama was in office? The dissidents have become rather quiet on that front (and others).

How long until he dons the purple robes, I wonder?

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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