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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 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.

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

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