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March 01, 2005

*sigh*...

Just caught this on Countercolumn.

My response:

Oh, good lord.

Another guy with a hard-on for the fighter community. He would have sniped at the bomber guys if he thought they were getting all the money.

Look...I'm an attack pilot. I'll never be an ace--don't get any credit for ground kills, even though the return on investment is fairly high (kill 'em by the dozens, scores or hundreds vice one or two at a time). But I've never begrudged the fighter guys for wanting a better jet. The Raptor is, literally, an order of magnitude above anything in the air. Given the country's inability to take casualties that measure in the tens of thousands (theoretically at least--I'm so sure that's true, but let's say it is for argument's sake), being able to pursue an unfair fight is a good thing. The problem with the Raptor is Lockheed-Martin giving the American taxpayer the finger--it's more expensive than it has to be, as Eisenhower so presciently predicted.

The Army wants more lift. Fair enough. The airlifters want more lift. Fair enough.

Yeah, we have a paucity of strat and tac lift but compared to everybody else, we've got airlift coming out of our ears. Of course, that's a statistical slight of hand (if everybody else has zero, your one looks pretty good). I agree we need more lift but I'm not about to say it's the be-all/end-all project for the 21st century. Air is fast, but it's not good at carrying anywhere near what ships can carry. The statistics can be argued and there are good reasons for getting more...lots of good reasons. But to can the entire F/A-22 buy is sour grapes...and the way your reader puts it smacks of professional jealousy, if not downright unprofessional whining.

The guy's obviously had a beef since he found out the last g-suit he was gonna wear was during his last UPT T-38 ride (if, in fact he got one...I dunno if they even fly it anymore in the dual-track program). Let's be rational here. Is there anything out there that can touch the Raptor? No. But, um, I think that's the point. Would I have a heart attack if they bought even fewer F/A-22s and more C-17s? No. And, BTW, the Air Force is already looking at the follow-on lifter--AMX.

Besides, those F-15s that are going to escort his ass into less-than-totally-benign territory are getting old...real old. So, we can increase our capability in both arenas with balanced force recapitalization or we can chuck a whole future combat system that will save BOTH communities' crew lives.

John Jumper, CSAF, is no fool. He knows the value of lift. He knows the value of air refueling. He knows the value of TACPs, for that matter--rare in a four-star. But there are some things he's had to endure that he shouldn't have...like the tanker debacle. Does he think about lift...to paraphrase Team America, "F**k yeah!" Is he doing it to the degree the writer thinks he should? Apparently not. But I doubt it something JJ's going to lose sleep over.

I know Jumper personally. The man checked out in the Raptor because he could. He's the frickn' Chief of Staff--again, I refuse to begrudge anyone a good deal and, since his first duty day in the Pentagon after leaving Langley was 9/11/01 (yes, THAT 9/11), shoot--give him 10 rides in the damn thing.

Dude, you ain't flying fighters. Neither am I. Get over it.