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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 Brassbullet on 2/26/2007 1:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
No offense, but are you French? It seems that the rivalry (especially for aircraft) is much higher between US and France than US and UK, even though France and BAe often cooperate on aircraft (case in point: Concorde).

Myself I admit, am not a huge fan of Airbus and given a choice would prefer a Boeing. However, the pro-Boeing mentality doesn't even factor into the Concorde equation.

I would have loved to ride on a Concorde, but the huge price tag and limited use killed it. Right now, its just not worth it to fly that fast. Heck, even the US military rarely breaks Mach 1 because of the huge fuel cost (let alone cruising at Mach 2.06).

Europe wasn't the only one to fail with a SST. Russia built its blantant Concorde rip-off that arguably was superior to the Concorde. However, its hard to have a succesful product when one crashes and burns in front of an audience.

I was saddened when the Concorde took its last flight and that 'Speedbird' no longer could be such a plane, but the market has spoken in regards to the current form of the SST, and one would be a fool not to listen.

By jabber on 2/28/2007 6:36:07 AM , Rating: 2
What really killed Concorde in my opinion? Two factors.

1. A lot of its repeat customers unfortunately died in 9/11.

2. It wasnt fast enough. Now dont take that the wrong way, let me explain. After 9/11 a lot of companies stopped or reduced international travel. They invested instead in video conferencing kit (sales went through the roof after 9/11) and finally realised that no aircraft could keep up with the live video datastreams, lower cost and convenience.

I still think we should have kept a couple running for state use (our Airforce 1 if you like). Would have loved to see the PrimeMinister say to GBush "Race you back across the Atlantic!"

Kiss my vapour trails!

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