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"Keep F-22 Program Flying," my piece in Defense News

By Michael Fumento

Pres. Obama this week must decide whether to order the building of more F-22 Raptor fighters or let the production lines close. Yet as I write in Defense News, only 203 of the aircraft described by the think tank Air Power Australia as "the most capable multi-role combat aircraft in production today" have been built or ordered. That from the original request for 762.

The F-22 Raptor performs as impressively as it looks.

Why the hack job? Because we always plan the next war by the last or current one. F-22s are overkill for insurgents. But what folly to think we can simply abandon conventional fighting capabilities.

The Russians, Chinese, and many other nations already have many different fighters that fly circles around the 33-year-old F-15 Eagle that Raptor detractors insist we keep flying for decades more. Dogfighting aside, the latest Russian missile defense system - which will be exported everywhere including Iran - can even down ballistic missiles. The F-22 is the only fighter we have or will have, including the forthcoming F-35 Lightning II, that can effectively penetrate the Russian system. We need vastly more Raptors. Shut down the production lines and watch the U.S. become a second-rate air power.

February 22, 2009 07:40 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Military