When Secretary of Defense Robert Gates went to Chicago last summer to make the case for killing the F-22 — the world’s premier air supremacy fighter and the only “fifth generation fighter” currently in production anywhere — he argued that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would be a more cost-effective alternative. Though the JSF “has had development problems to be sure,” Gates said, “It is a versatile aircraft, less than half the total cost of the F-22, and can be produced in quantity with all the advantages produced by economies of scale – some 500 will be bought over the next five years.”
[…]But the oddest thing about Gates’s speech last summer was his assertion that competitors to the United States, specifically China, would be unable to produce their own fifth-gen fighters any time soon. “Consider that by 2020, the United States is projected to have nearly 2,500 manned combat aircraft of all kinds,” Gates said, while “China, by contrast, is projected to have no fifth generation aircraft by 2020.”
[…]We know now that Gates’s estimate of U.S. procurement last summer was bogus. We will be nowhere near 2,500 fifth-gen aircraft (F-35s and F-22s) by 2020. And now Gates has conceded that China will, in fact, have produced a fifth-generation stealth fighter by 2020. How many will they have produced? How many will we have produced? We can only be sure of two things: Gates doesn’t know, and he killed the F-22 based on a faulty assumption that the number of Chinese stealth fighters in 2020 would be zero.
I am a HUGE fan of the F-22 and I hate the F-35.
And what about this article from Investors Business Daily?
From the Battle of Midway to President Reagan’s 600-ship fleet that helped win the Cold War, naval supremacy has been critical to the protection and survival of our nation.
Which is why we find the recent remarks of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the Navy League at the Sea-Air-Space expo so disturbing. He seems to think naval supremacy is a luxury we can’t afford and that, like every other aspect of our military, an already shrunken U.S. Navy needs to downsize.
“As we learned last year, you don’t necessarily need a billion-dollar guided missile destroyer to chase down and deal with a bunch of teenage pirates wielding AK-47s and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades),” Gates quipped.
We are not laughing.
Pubescent pirates aren’t the only threat we face. Last month, a Chinese naval task force from the East Sea Fleet — including the imposing Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers, frigates and submarines — passed through the Miyako Strait near Okinawa, a move that sent shock waves through Japan.
Sovermenny vessels are DDGs not DDs. That means that they have guided-missile capability via the SS-N-22 surface-to-surface platform. That missile has a range of 160 nautical miles, flies at Mach 3, and is fairly dangerous. Fire enough of them and one is bound to get through. What if these weapons were sold to our enemies and used to menace commercial and civilian shipping? It’s the next level of piracy.
We need more carrier battle groups, not less. Carrier battle groups are the most visible way of projecting American power abroad in theaters where we face dangerous repressive regimes like North Korea and Iran. It’s good that countries like India are stepping up by building two new conventionally-powered aircraft carriers and support vessels, but we have to pull our own weight, too.