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Six Lockheed F-22 Raptors have Y2K-esque glitch of their own over the Pacific

Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor is the most advanced fighter in the world with its stealth capabilities, advanced radar, state of the art weapons systems and ultra-efficient turbofans which allow the F-22 to "supercruise" at supersonic speeds without an afterburner. The Raptor has gone up against the best that the US Air Force and Navy has to offer taking out F-15s, F-16s and F/A-18 Super Hornets during simulated war games in Alaska. The Raptor-led "Blue Air" team was able to rack up an impressive 241-to-2 kill ratio during the exercise against the "Red Air" threat -- the two kills on the blue team were from the 30-year old F-15 teammates and not the new Raptors.

But while the simulated war games were a somewhat easy feat for the Raptor, something more mundane was able to cripple six aircraft on a 12 to 15 hours flight from Hawaii to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The U.S. Air Force's mighty Raptor was felled by the International Date Line (IDL).

When the group of Raptors crossed over the IDL, multiple computer systems crashed on the planes. Everything from fuel subsystems, to navigation and partial communications were completely taken offline. Numerous attempts were made to "reboot" the systems to no avail.

Luckily for the Raptors, there were no weather issues that day so visibility was not a problem. Also, the Raptors had their refueling tankers as guide dogs to "carry" them back to safety. "They needed help. Had they gotten separated from their tankers or had the weather been bad, they had no attitude reference. They had no communications or navigation," said Retired Air Force Major General Don Shepperd. "They would have turned around and probably could have found the Hawaiian Islands. But if the weather had been bad on approach, there could have been real trouble.”

"The tankers brought them back to Hawaii. This could have been real serious. It certainly could have been real serious if the weather had been bad," Shepperd continued. "It turned out OK. It was fixed in 48 hours. It was a computer glitch in the millions of lines of code, somebody made an error in a couple lines of the code and everything goes."

Luckily for the pilots behind the controls of the Raptors, they were not involved in a combat situation. Had they been, it could have been a disastrous folly by the U.S. Air Force to have to admit that their aircraft which cost $125+ million USD apiece were knocked out of the sky due to a few lines of computer code. "And luckily this time we found out about it before combat. We got it fixed with tiger teams in about 48 hours and the airplanes were flying again, completed their deployment. But this could have been real serious in combat," said Shepperd.

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RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By kelmon on 2/26/2007 11:14:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm no expert here (so feel free to correct) but I was under the impression that the US already had air superiority with its current jets. Is there anyone else making fighters anymore that is likely to represent a threat or are they just building these things to keep the industry going?

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By cochy on 2/26/2007 11:33:31 AM , Rating: 5
No you're right. No point in innovating further. The Air Force should just sit and stagnate until it realizes that it's falling behind. Thankfully for Americans you're not in charge of spending.

The F-22 is a step in the direction where the Air Force wants to be, that is unmanned fighter aircraft.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By The Sword 88 on 2/26/2007 8:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
No way, in combat a computer cannot fight like a person; having the pilot with his decision making and instincts in the cockpit is hugely important.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Zelvek on 2/26/2007 11:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
Ever heard of remote control? The Idea for everything now is to make it RC no dieing soldiers means continued support on the home front.

By taikonaut on 2/28/2007 4:42:11 AM , Rating: 2
remote control can be easily jammed using yesterday's technology.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Brassbullet on 2/27/2007 12:35:18 AM , Rating: 2
And why not do you say? Ever flown a combat flight simulator? Ever gotten shot down by the AI?

A computer with software can beat even the best at chess, and modern air combat is very much like chess.

Besides, first generation unmanned fighters will be piloted by people in mobile command centers a hundred miles from combat. Who knows, maybe the flight software will even support the Xbox 360 controller.

By 0serg on 2/28/2007 1:11:37 PM , Rating: 3
Wireless network bandwidth is limited, especially when it is jammed. You can remotely control 1, 2, 5, may be 10 aircrafts in "real-time mode" simultaneously, but no more. This is not enough, i think, even for relatively "small" military operation. To make things even worse, you`ll get about 0.2-0.5 seconds lag in aircraft control. Of course, all this doesn`t matter if you just fly and launch dozens of AMRAAMs, but this is safe for pilot too, so you get nothing from RC.

Wireless network bandwidth is limited, especially when it is jammed. You can remotely control 1, 2, 5, may be 10 aircrafts in "real-time mode" simultaneously, but no more. This is not enough, i think, even for relatively "small" military operation. To make things even worse, you`ll get about 0.2-0.5 seconds lag in aircraft control. Of course, all this doesn`t matter if you just fly and launch dozens of AMRAAMs, but this is safe for pilot too, so you get nothing from RC.

When it comes to AI, you forget, that computer game AI do not need to solve "recognition problem". This thing do not have to try to understand where a hell the plane is when GPS fails and what all these radar signals are about. It already knows everything about whats happening around. Unfortunately, piloting REAL plane in REAL conditions is not like solving mathematical task. It needs real AI, and this problem have being solved for more than 20 years now - and still far from completion.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By TomZ on 2/26/2007 11:35:07 AM , Rating: 2
I think the point is that we don't just have to "achieve" air superiority, we have to "maintain" air superiority. The enemy cannot be assumed to be standing still technologically. In addition, even if you have air superiority, it still makes sense to increase capabilities to further decrease risk of losing life and assets. This requires ongoing R&D spending.

Finally, keeping the industry going is also a good thing, economically.

By VooDooAddict on 3/5/2007 7:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
Finally, keeping the industry going is also a good thing, economically.

Not only that, but keeping the industry going is important to be ready to produce in large quantities if needed. Setting up the facilities to create an aircraft like this need to be done in advance of when it's actually needed. If you start R&D after the start of a conflict then by the time you can ramp up production there high likelihood that it won't be as effective. Or worse it will simply be too late.

Don't get me wrong there are plenty of things we waste military dollars on ... I just don't feel aircraft development is one of them. Would people rather we keep dumping taxpayer $$ into old designs and replacement parts?
(Don't get me started on the "waste")

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Kougar on 2/26/2007 11:42:08 AM , Rating: 1
Even assuming the US was the only major military power that was designing modern day jets (And we certainly are not), it is rather hard to claim air superiority when you sell off or trade several squadrons to various countries. Quite a few nations fly our own aircraft these days, and I specifically mean F-16s, F-18s, and F-14/15s. We've been selling the F-16 since the mid-80's. We are even currently selling them to both Pakistan and India, obviously a wise choice right there.

While I don't know about the wiki's source for this, it even claims Taiwan has already inquired about purchasing F-35s from us.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By stromgald on 2/26/2007 11:50:51 AM , Rating: 1
The military aircraft being exported by US companies are dumbed down. They generally wouldn't stand much of a chance against the ones used for US military branches.

We've had a long history of selling fighters to other countires. F-16s went to Japan, F-15s have been sold to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Korea. There's probably more that I can't recall off the top of my head.

For the F-35, IIRC it is being adopted by a few of our allies including the UK, Canada, Austalia, and Norway. Both the UK and Norway gave up on waiting for the Eurofighter from EADS and jumped on the F-35 bandwagon. I wouldn't be surprised if Taiwan was on that list.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Kougar on 2/26/2007 11:57:56 AM , Rating: 2
Not all of them are dumbed town. I know that in the past we've given our top model (at the time) F-16's to Isreal alone. And really, anything that is dumbed down would be easy to replace after the fact via some means... software especially I'd imagine.

Going by the wiki, Taiwan wasn't on the list for the obvious reasons, or I should say singular reason! If we were indeed handing F-35s to Taiwan then it's probably one of the absolute most closely guarded secrets, as China would most definitely not sit back over it and allow "a rogue island territory off their coast" to hold air supriority over their territory, let alone their entire landmass.

By cochy on 2/26/2007 12:04:44 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be tough to hide an airforce? Is there a black market for these things?

PS. Lots of Ooops errors when trying to post.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Araemo on 2/26/2007 2:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'm fairly sure that even the F-16s we sold Israel were not 100% US-spec. "Dumbed down" may not be at all accurate, but missing lots of classified US tech, sure. Does israel have comparable tech(possibly developed through cooperation with the US) that they can install? Probably.

That's one thing to remember, even though we have a tendency to strip out code and devices when we sell airframes to other countries, it would be silly to assume that they have no capability of building their own systems to make up for what we won't sell them. (It might take them an extra 1-5-10 years, but that is more of an intelligence question that changes over time, than a general 'dumbed down F-16s' question. ;) )

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Scabies on 2/26/2007 2:34:35 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, you would be surprised about Israeli technology. Keep in mind they are in a constant struggle for their lives and their soverignity, so they have war time R&D going on constantly. In fact, some of our fun toys (I think some of our ECM derivatives) are fruits of Israeli design, if I remember correctly.
So dumbed down probably just means "customizeable" to them.

By Chillin1248 on 2/26/2007 3:56:06 PM , Rating: 5
Israel typically "upgrades/modifies" all incoming US or foreign equipment to meet their [Israel's] needs. Here are several examples:

F4-2000 (Kurnass 2000): which was a F-4E turned upside-down and inside-out:

LAVI: was to be built with US supplies (assembled into plane in Israel):

And then we have the F-15s and F-16s in Israel refitted with Israeli electronics. We have the Kfir C1 and C2 that were copies and modifications of the Mirage 5. Hell even our M4A1s are modified in small ways from the US standard; such as having M16A3 carrying handles or sometimes M16A1 handles. Sometimes they have 20-1 twist in the barrel othertimes less.

Basicly what it comes down to is that Israel modifies the weapons it recieves for best efficiency in the enviroments it fights in. After all, I doubt we are doing Jungle combat anytime soon.


RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Felofasofa on 2/26/2007 6:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
That "constant struggle" also makes them the largest consumer of recreational drugs per capita in the world. Pot and ecstacy are huge in Israel.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Scabies on 2/26/07, Rating: 0
By Zelvek on 2/27/2007 12:08:31 AM , Rating: 2
his point has so validity to it in times of increased stress alcohol consumption and drug use do go up. And it's not like he is calling all Israelis druggies just that there is a larger percentage of drug use.

By Dianoda on 2/26/2007 6:57:56 PM , Rating: 3
F35's to Taiwan will never happen. Politics demands that it doesn't happen. If Taiwan was truly an independent state, maybe, but Taiwan's political staus is too similar to Hong Kong's for this to every happen. Kougar put this quite well, there is no way PRC would allow an independently governed territory of it's own state to have air supriority, especially one that seeks true independence from the mainland as much as Taiwan.

Also, this would almost certainly damage the relations between the two most powerful countries in the world. Which is something niether country really wants.

By cochy on 2/26/2007 12:02:09 PM , Rating: 4
Oh and I bet the F-22 have backdoors programmed into them just in case they become hostiles ;)

By Brassbullet on 2/26/2007 1:31:58 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, the US generally gives its BEST fighters to other nations, especially Israel and Japan.

With the exception of maybe the F-15s based at Elemendorf in Alaska (just in case the Russkies try to invade I guess), the best 4th generation fighters in the world are in Israel.

This makes sense as countries in more unstable regions are far more likely to use such weapons than the US. In fact, the majority of the F-15's 101+ to 0 kill ratio can be attributed to Israeli owned and flown airframes.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By stromgald on 2/26/2007 11:45:23 AM , Rating: 3
Everything from the SAAB Griffon from Sweeden, the French Rafale C, Eurofighter, to a handful of Soviet aircraft (Su-30 and its variants, Su-47, MIG-35/1.44) are newer and equal if not better than the US F-15.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Brassbullet on 2/26/2007 1:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
Although individualy some of those planes might have some superior qualities (although I wouldn't be so quick to put the Griffon or even the Rafale on that list), it is the implementation that matters. A lot of those planes you mentioned don't even exist per se, and it would be tough to counter US Air Force F-15s in terms of the support they have (although Israli F-15 drivers would probably kick our ass).

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Frallan on 2/26/2007 1:38:41 PM , Rating: 1
Hmm interesting - you might wanne explaint to the Swedish Air Force pilots that the plane thay have been flying for the last 5 or so years doesn't exist... And as for how good they are - in a low to medium rated crisis id say the probably would go about 1-1 to 1-2 with JSFs... The SAAB engineers beet the american to the ball with somwhere between 5 and 10 years as well as about 1 to 10 maintenance costs. A F15 or a F16 doesnt stand a chance against the JAS-Griffon. As for the others i dont know. but the Griffon most certainly exists and its one hell of a plane.

By MrTeal on 2/26/2007 1:57:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think he was saying that he wouldn't put the Gripen and Rafale on a list of planes better than the F-15, and that the Su-47 and MiG 1.44 aren't available. Even the Typhoon has very few units finished production.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By Brassbullet on 2/26/2007 2:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm, I didn't say that none of the planes on that list were in existance, just that many weren't. The Gripen certainly exists, although is starting to show age even for a new aircraft.

As far as going 1-1 against a JSF, it BETTER go at least 1-1 against a JSF. The JSF is basically a POS plane that adds some (partially) new abilites. It is a Swiss Army Knife of fighter jets intended for basically every 'allied' nation and would get beaten by almost any modern air superiority fighter.

By Frallan on 2/26/2007 2:38:18 PM , Rating: 2
A swiss army kniofe - jet fighter LoL :) Well so is the the "Gripen" JAS acctually stands for:

Jakt - Air superioity
Attack - Attacking Ground or Sea target
Spaning - Surveilance

And yes its getting older but still its very availeble. SAAB and BA has been selling i for some time. What is a bit funny tho is the mail competitors for the contracts are the F-15s and F-16s that the USF is selling selling at cut-throat rates.

RE: Why do we need such high-tech planes?
By stromgald on 2/26/2007 4:09:08 PM , Rating: 3
Please define what you mean by "modern". Other than an F-22 and a few Russian planes, I don't think many aircraft can stand up to a F-35.

Although a couple of those five planes I mentioned aren't in production, they're all newer and potentially more advanced than the F-15, which was desinged back in the late 60s and first flown in the early 70s. The US has upgraded avionics and other important components, but for the overall airframe design, the designers of the Rafale C (1991) and Gripen (1988) have had about 15-20 years to catch up you the F-15's level of technology.

The Gripen and Rafale are newer, and clearly on the same level of technology as the F-15. That means with the similar pilots and equal amounts of experience in each aircraft, I think a Rafale C or Gripen would be a pretty even match with the F-15. Even just doesn't cut it when you're trying to achieve air superiority.

By Brassbullet on 2/27/2007 1:00:13 AM , Rating: 3
By modern I mean 4th Generation. 4th gen plans generally thought to be better air superiority fighters than a JSF are:

F-14 (interceptor)
F-18 Super Hornet

MiG-29 (interceptor)
MiG-31 (recon and interceptor)


As well as most EU planes.

Again this list is an opinion formed from my contact with people that will have to be working with the JSF. These people may be biased (especially the ex F-14 drivers among them) but nonetheless were based on the specs and design philosophy of the aircraft at the time.

As far as the F-15 being too old, I'd argue that for an energy fighter, the F-15 is still unmatched (its only rival being the Su-27), even better than an F-22. Energy fighters have grown out of fashion, however, as the threat from high speed, high altitude bombers has disappeared to memories.

Stealth and extreme manuverability at high AoA are in vogue, and that is what the 'new' airframes deliver.

By Scabies on 2/26/2007 2:41:45 PM , Rating: 4
as well as about 1 to 10 maintenance costs.

US F-15 uses Sidewinder for 3290 DMG.
US F-15 fells FR Rafale.
Get 1200xp
Get 400g
Get "Secret Key"

I think another thing to look at is fighter PILOTS. It might always be a "mine are better than yours" kind of thing, but you cant leave the argument as to whose what is better if you look at only the hardware.

By Chernobyl68 on 2/26/2007 1:40:44 PM , Rating: 3
You're right. Comparing a fresh off the production line fighter to a plane that's been kicking a$$ for 20+ years now is a fair comparison.

By afkrotch on 2/26/2007 7:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, other countries are making new fighters that take air superiority away from the US. Russia has the S-37 and European countries have the Eurofighter Typhoon. Both of which can easily take out old generation fighters.

The F/A-22 and F-35 are needed. Both are needed. The F/A-22 with it's stealth is meant to roll in first and destroy any targets that would inhibit control of airspace. The F-35 will then come in and destroy anything else and provide air cover for ground forces.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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