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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 11:50:51 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.

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