Opinion

We Cannot Afford to Lose the F-22

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor

The Senate will vote today against increasing F-22 Fighter production for U.S. use. The F-22 and the strength of American defense is the ultimate issue.The F-22 Raptor is the best fighter aircraft in the world and will ensure U.S. air dominance if produced in sufficient numbers.
 
The Secretary of Defense was quoted recently in an Associate Press story, "What I have not heard is substantive reason for adding more aircraft in terms of our strategic needs," Gates said Monday while reiterating his opposition to the purchase.
 
Secretary Gates has completely negated the views of  the Commander of Air Combat Command. -- Nothing can kill an enemy's aircraft anywhere, any time, other than another fighter jet.
 
A lot of opinions, suspicious data, and even briefing charts offered as definitive "studies" have been entered into the debate but the number one warrior entrusted by Congress with responsibly for achieving U.S. air dominance anywhere, any time is General Corley, Commander USAF Air Combat Command.
 
In a letter to Senator Saxby Chambliss, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Corley states, "In my opinion a fleet of 187 F-22s puts execution of our current national military strategy at high risk in the near to mid-term."
 
The F-35 is, yet again, slipping on schedule and although touted by the administration the F-35 is not a world class fighter and substitute for the F-22. The first combat ready F-35 will not even come off the production line before the F-22 line is closed. Air dominance is actually fragile and can slip away quickly. The F-35 does not have the same capabilities against the modern surface to air missile systems and fighters as the F-22. It needs the F-22 to provide top cover!
 
If the F-22 is stopped at 187 this will be the first time since before World War II that America will not have the most  modern production line open for fighter aircraft. The industrial-base impact on this fifth generation fighter will be devastating. The F-22 is the most capable fighter ever produced and the only one best able to survive against the modern surface to air missile systems such as the S-300 and adversary fighters such as the Chinese SU-30MM.
 
Our nation can not afford that risk.

 

Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney (USAF, ret.) is a FOX News contributor.

General McInerney is the founder of Government Reform Through Technology, a consulting firm that works with high-tech companies. GRTT conducts business with federal, state, city and local governments to help them introduce advanced technology into the public sector.