RIP F-22 Raptor
So the Obama administration is killing the F-22 fighter, which probably should never have been allowed to see daylight. From Greg Schneider's prescient story in The Sun 10 years ago:
Now the program has put the Pentagon in a predicament. Even if the Air Force can overcome the past and keep the F-22 program perfect from here on out, affording it is going to be a major challenge for a military swamped with other needs -- including two other types of fighters, a new generation of ships and costly missile defense systems.
"Looking at current defense budgets, the money will not be there around 2006 or 2008 when you have the cost," said Rep. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican who won an award last year from the aerospace industry for advocating the F-22 and other warplanes in Congress.
The looming defense budget problem is a "train wreck" waiting to happen, Chambliss said. "There's no answer yet. One answer is to put more money in it. ... I don't know where it's going to come from, but we've simply got to put more money into defense."
Even President Clinton's plan to add $112 billion to defense spending over the next six years would not crack the problem of affording all the weapons the Pentagon has on order. And despite the promised "peace dividend" of the post-Cold War era, the nation already spends as much each year on the military as it did throughout the Cold War -- adjusted for inflation -- except for the peaks of Vietnam and the Reagan buildup.
Chambliss hasn't changed his support for the F-22, but he seems to be a lot less worried about budget deficits. Sez Chambliss:
“I am extremely disappointed in this decision by the Obama administration. America has maintained air dominance in every conflict since the Korean War, and now this administration is giving that advantage up and is willing to sacrifice the lives of American military men and women for the sake of domestic programs favored by President Obama,” said Chambliss, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"This is purely a budget-driven decision. When this administration is spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on everything from bailing out a failing auto industry to policymakers’ pet projects at the expense of protecting our military men and women, its priorities are apparent. This decision will likely have long-term repercussions, as we don’t know who our next enemy will be."