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F-22 to fly again  (Source: USAF)
Raptor set to fly above 50,000 as restriction lifts

The grounding of the USAF F-22 Raptor fleet has dragged on for months as the investigation into what caused issues with the onboard oxygen generation system were investigated. At this point, there is still no clear answer on what gave multiple pilots hypoxia-like symptoms during flights. Affected pilots in several instances were found to have toxins in their blood.

Last week, reports indicated that USAF chief Gen. Norton Schwartz would be 
given options to grant flight status back to the F-22 fleet. Schwartz has approved a plan that will allow the 160 F-22 aircraft in the fleet to fly above 50,000 feet according to Defense News. The Raptor has a 60,000-foot ceiling.

The life support systems will be inspected daily on all of the aircraft, and all the systems will be extensively inspected before any of the jets take to the skies. The plan also calls for F-22 pilots to undergo physiological tests and to have additional protective equipment when they fly. Exactly what the extra equipment would be is unknown.

"We now have enough insight from recent studies and investigations that a return to flight is prudent and appropriate," Schwartz said. "We're managing the risks with our aircrews, and we're continuing to study the F-22's oxygen systems and collect data to improve its performance." 

As the F-22 fleet is preparing to return to the skies, the long-delayed and over budget F-35 fighter is again 
under pressure. USAF Secretary Michael Donley pledged support to the F-35 on September 19. However, with budget cuts coming and Washington looking for everything they can find to cut costs, Donley didn’t offer answers to what functionalities on the F-35 the USAF would be willing to lose to bring the cost of the fighters down.

Donley said that it would be difficult to eliminate core functionality from the program. "There are 12 core functions in the Air Force, there are none that we can just jettison," Donley said. "Each of those core functions is performing an important mission not just for the Air Force but the joint team."

Lockheed Martin says that as of now the F-35B STOVL version of the fighter is ahead on flight testing slightly and will be heading to sea trials in the first week of October if all goes as planned. The carrier-based F-35C will start sea trials next spring according to officials.



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What a waste of $$$ and time!
By gevorg on 9/20/2011 2:44:30 PM , Rating: -1
The future of air superiority is UAVs and thats where we need to pump billions, not some 1980s requirements fighter against a country that doesn't exist. We could have at least reduced the number of F22 orders to a small fleet and that would still be one heck of a air superiority power. The current fleet of F15/16/18 will do just fine for the next decade or so until UAVs are mastered to do anything. F22 will probably be the most expensive plane that got outdated shorty after entering service. Oh well, at least China and Russia are wasting their time with F22 equivalents too.
/rant




RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By 91TTZ on 9/20/2011 2:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The future of air superiority is UAVs and thats where we need to pump billions, not some 1980s requirements fighter against a country that doesn't exist.


Let's be honest here. In the 1980's the main producer of enemy aircraft was the Soviet Union, and now in the 2010's it's the same factories in the same place. It was Russia then and it's Russia now.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Iaiken on 9/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By 91TTZ on 9/20/2011 4:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
You've got to feed the military-industrial complex somehow...


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/20/2011 5:31:30 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The CIA said this was a "complete fiction" and they pointed to massive amounts of evidence that the Soviet Union would collapse on it's own is simply left alone.


You're completlely rewriting history. The collapse of the USSR was one of the biggest intelligence blunders of all time. It came completely without warning, the CIA didn't have a clue.

The USSR didn't "collapse on it's own" either. They forced themselves into an arms race they couldn't possibly sustain, then Reagan pushed them over the edge by refusing to fall for their "arms treaties" which were thinly veiled foreign aid demands.

At the famous Summit Meeting in Reykjavik Iceland in October 1986, Gorbachev practically begged Reagan to drop the SDI project. He offered to give in to all of the US demands on arms control in exchange for a promise to end "Star Wars". But Reagan refused. And I think that is when Gorbachev knew the "Cold War" was over and that the USSR had lost. At the time the US press described the summit as a "failure". They thought the purpose of the meeting was to reach an arms control agreement with the USSR.

Reagan saw things differently. To him the point of the meeting was to convince Gorbachev that the USSR was a lost cause.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/20/2011 5:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Soviet Union has been busy, they've been busy in terms of their level of effort; they've been busy in terms of the actual weapons they've been producing; they've been busy in terms of expanding production rates; they've been busy in terms of expanding their institutional capability to produce additional weapons at additional rates; they've been busy in terms of expanding their capability to increasingly improve the sophistication of those weapons. Year after year after year, they've been demonstrating that they have steadiness of purpose. They're purposeful about what they're doing.


And how is this a lie by the way? The Soviets had a massive blue water navy, a massive nuclear submarine fleet with ICBM missile boats, a massive standing army and air force. And we all know of their nuclear capability. The USSR engaged in a massive military buildup by any objective measure.

Why are you so anti-American dude? You're using hindsight and a few press clippings to indite men and women who dedicated their lives to keeping the free world safe. Just because the USSR didn't engage in open warfare doesn't change the fact that they certainly had the ability to.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Reclaimer77 on 9/20/2011 6:02:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
This more than anything has characterized my view of the war on terror that was to follow. The Taliban and Al Queda have become the perfect replacement for Rumsfeld's fictionalized Soviet Union. A network of intransigent evil that is bent on the destruction of America (and her allies), but more importantly, mysterious enough that they can easily be exaggerated or lied about.


Also as an American I really wanna just say fuck you for saying this. Could you have a little bit of sensitivity? A few weeks ago we were remembering the 10'th anniversary of 9-11, now you come on here using it as a springboard for your off-topic political ranting.

Since 911 there have been over five THOUSAND terrorists attacks by these people you claim are made up boogeymen. You don't think there's an organized network of terrorism? 911 was pulled off with military precision, planning, and execution. You think a few wacko's are doing all of this? 911 was a declaration of WAR you asshole.

Didn't we just violate a sovereign nations airspace to perform a military operation and assassinate Bin Laden under Obama? I guess Rumsfeld is responsible for that one too?


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Black1969ta on 9/20/2011 9:53:09 PM , Rating: 1
Are you really that much of a Drama Queen?

The Taliban and Al-Qaeda, not "Al Queda" were manufactured by the CIA in order to help take down the "Communist Threat" Only they underestimated the religion of the Middle East. They considered Iraq and Iran to be simple Children, and they just needed our money and exposure to western ways, then these "Children" would drop their old ways and adopt the ways and beliefs of the gloriously, pretentious westerners.

Turns out the religious leaders of the Middle East, are not easily swayed by the "almighty Dollar". Also turns out, that much like an American child though, when you spoil a child with money and no real direction, then suddenly have a change of heart and withdraw financial as a condition of following directions, The middle East responded just like an American Brat would, "violently"

And Us lazy Americans wonder why!

BTW I am from the American Midwest, but fall under the spell of the fallacy that Americans are any better than others.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By 91TTZ on 9/21/2011 10:08:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Taliban and Al-Qaeda, not "Al Queda" were manufactured by the CIA in order to help take down the "Communist Threat" Only they underestimated the religion of the Middle East.


Wrong.

The Taliban wasn't even founded until 1994, long after the communist USSR had dissolved. Also, we didn't "manufacture" any of the groups over there, but we did provide support to groups that were already fighting the USSR.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Iaiken on 9/20/2011 6:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And how is this a lie by the way?


It was a purposeful mischaracterization of both capabilities and the intentions of the Soviets in the 1970's.

As more documents from that era see the light of day, they show that as early as 1974 there were shortages of everything from food and medicine to materials and manufactured goods, there was abundant social disorder and brutal oppression. They show that the economy was already in the process of breaking down. They show that the military was in no way the cohesive, highly-integrated threat that the US claimed. They show that much of the military R&D had either slowed down or stopped altogether, defense projects were cancelled one after another. They also show that most of their military R&D was geared towards self defense because let's face it, the Soviet Union was just as afraid of the US as the US was of them.

These also happened to be in the CIA dockets that were given to Reagan and the official recommendation of the CIA was to let them fail on their own as it would frighten people away from communism.

Gorbachev didn't need Reagan to tell him that Soviet Communism was a failure. He had toured practically the entire country from one side to the other by 1980 and was firmly set as a reformist by time of his return to Moscow. What's more, he had had visited all of the Soviet satellites by 1984 and witnessed that the loss of these countries were a forgone conclusion. In 1986 he made his famous "We can't go on living like this" speech to the Communist Central Committee. Read the mans memoirs and you'll start to get a pretty good idea of how bad things were for them.

quote:
Why are you so anti-American dude?


I'm not, I'm anti-neo-con because they've proven themselves to be a pack of fanciful liars time and time again. One would think the American people would catch on, but unfortunately they are too afraid to read anything from the outside world in spite of the internet.

Soon we will start to see the actual CIA documents themselves and have the advantage of being able to compare those to that of the Soviets to see how they line up.

But again, hindsight is 20/20...


By Reclaimer77 on 9/20/2011 7:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As more documents from that era see the light of day, they show that as early as 1974 there were shortages of everything from food and medicine to materials and manufactured goods, there was abundant social disorder and brutal oppression.


This made them all the more desperate and dangerous, not automatically docile and pacifists. None of this would have stopped them from "pressing the button".

quote:
These also happened to be in the CIA dockets that were given to Reagan and the official recommendation of the CIA was to let them fail on their own as it would frighten people away from communism.


Last time I checked we didn't declare war on the USSR. One could easily make the argument that we DID let them fail.

And really Iaiken, since when was the CIA beyond reproach? This is the same CIA that convinced us all we needed to invade Iraq because they had WMD's. In fact, WOW, I can't believe they still have the report on their site...

https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-report...

"How quickly Iraq will obtain its first nuclear weapon depends on when it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material."


/facepalm

The CIA has been known to forge documents, make huge blunders, or just outright LIE about a situation. These documents you herald sound like a bunch of political ass-covering to me. Oh oh yeah that's right, we TOLD Reagan to just not match the USSR militarily umm yeah, it's Rumsfelds fault.

quote:
But again, hindsight is 20/20...


Yup and your arguments have a health dose of it...


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Manch on 9/21/2011 9:36:03 AM , Rating: 1
I bet you think mccarthyism is real too.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By 91TTZ on 9/21/2011 10:47:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
As more documents from that era see the light of day, they show that as early as 1974 there were shortages of everything from food and medicine to materials and manufactured goods, there was abundant social disorder and brutal oppression... They show that much of the military R&D had either slowed down or stopped altogether, defense projects were cancelled one after another. They also show that most of their military R&D was geared towards self defense because let's face it, the Soviet Union was just as afraid of the US as the US was of them.


Most of this is really misleading. The Soviets developed some of their most ambitious, most sophisticated projects during this time. The Mig-29, the Su-27, the Blackjack bomber, the Buran Space Shuttle, etc.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Noya on 9/20/2011 9:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The U.S. collapsed like a house of cards because it was a house of cards. It rotted away from within. The economy was rotten, the political process was rotten, they had developed a central government that was no longer believed by people outside of Washington, there was total cynicism throughout the U.S. system of governance, there was no real civil society.


I fixed it. Haha.

Good post though.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By MrTeal on 9/20/2011 3:07:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The current fleet of F15/16/18 will do just fine for the next decade or so until UAVs are mastered to do anything.


I'm a huge proponent of UAVs, but this isn't the case. UAV's absolutely will not be "mastered" in any time close to the next decade. Current UAVs are still flown by individuals, and will be for the foreseeable future. By the end of the next decade we might get it down to having one human controlling multiple UAVs in combat, but it will be a long time before a UAV has the ability to autonomously discriminate and fire on a target.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By FITCamaro on 9/20/2011 5:48:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We could have at least reduced the number of F22 orders to a small fleet and that would still be one heck of a air superiority power.


That's what they did. They were supposed to build over 700. Instead we're getting 182.

And our current fighters are falling apart. Fact is UAVs will be restricted to largely surveillance duty for the foreseeable future. Partly because of technology challenges. Partly because people like yourself don't like the idea of dehumanizing war.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By sorry dog on 9/21/2011 11:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
...and what they are probably going to do with the F35.

...but most of the F15,16, and 18's now have 20-30 year old frames that are approaching their 6000 max hour lifespan...which can only be extended by complete teardown, new wings, scoping structural components, and all this takes time and money.

The problem is that these type of people equate fighter planes to the old family car where if a part breaks you fix it and go about your business, where a better analogy would your driving an old race car at Indy at 200mph and if a part breaks your either out of the race or you hit the wall in ball of fire.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By inperfectdarkness on 9/20/2011 7:24:45 PM , Rating: 4
1. UAV technology is nowhere near operational readiness for air-air combat. that situation is unlikely to change within the next 10 years.

2. Drone technology (pilotless) is even further away.

3. The legacy f18's are practically falling out of the sky. 15's and 16's are already exceeding their airframe design hours. postponing procurement of air-superiority fighters until technology for unmanned ones is viable will leave us without a viable capability for several intervening years.

4. Until drones come online, UAV's will require communications links to function effectively. These usually focus on satellite links. If satellite communications are compromised by the enemy, we would be left without air-air capabilities.

5. f-22 is in no way shape or form outdated. armchair pundits seem to be convinced otherwise; but those of us whose job it is to actually go toe-toe with hostile forces know better. and i'm content to let everyone continue to think the f-22 is an outdated POS. they'll be in for a NASTY, NASTY surprise--and they won't even see it coming.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Noya on 9/20/2011 9:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
5. f-22 is in no way shape or form outdated. armchair pundits seem to be convinced otherwise; but those of us whose job it is to actually go toe-toe with hostile forces know better. and i'm content to let everyone continue to think the f-22 is an outdated POS. they'll be in for a NASTY, NASTY surprise--and they won't even see it coming.


I'm not going to say the Raptor is out-dated, but isn't it still lacking a helmet targeting system?

And as I've read and heard on shows, the counter measure to "stealth" aircraft is always going to be cheaper than the aircraft. And isn't the F-35 radar more powerful than the Raptors?


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By sorry dog on 9/21/2011 11:06:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not going to say the Raptor is out-dated, but isn't it still lacking a helmet targeting system? And as I've read and heard on shows, the counter measure to "stealth" aircraft is always going to be cheaper than the aircraft. And isn't the F-35 radar more powerful than the Raptors?


...the funding for updating the Raptor's has been budgeted and cut several times.

...and the f35 avionics have the benefit of being designed a decade after the f22's so I would hope that it's radar is better. I mean the F22 was designed in the 80's and won the contract 20 years ago in 1991.


RE: What a waste of $$$ and time!
By Calin on 9/21/2011 2:28:29 AM , Rating: 2
And fighter UAV/drone technology probably won't work completely right for the first generation anyway, and probably even second generation will be supplemented by piloted planes.

And F-22 might be 20 years old (based on its project inception), but if this is the case, any other fighter available in quantities is 30 or 40 years old. The Chinese J-20 has ONE built (by what everybody knows), the russian PAK-FA also has only a few built.
So yes, you Americans are using a 20-years old fighter against everybody's 40-years old fighters


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