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The Jets and The Sharks

By Kim Miller - Posted on 22 July 2009

Yesterday, the Senate voted 58 to 40 to no longer fund the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, in favor of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

First, let’s look at the difference between the two aircraft, both built by Lockheed Martin. This 2003 Popular Science article is a great place to start. It compares the two models.

The F-22 Raptor

  • Built for the United States Air Force
  • Built for air-to-air combat but capable of hitting ground targets
  • Price tag: $120 million

Compared to:

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

  • Built for the USAF, as well as the Navy and Marines
  • The version built for the Marine Corps has vertical lift capability
  • Price tag: $35 million

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the current Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen are among those who say that the F-22 is no longer needed, and are a costly burden. The F-22 has never been used in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.  The F-35 appears much more adaptable for the new age of warfare involving smaller wars and growing counter-insurgency.

Do these facts stop the Weekly Standard from misleading? No. Editor Michael Goldfarb says, “America is less safe now than it was an hour ago,” and cites Obama’s “weakness of defense” as the culprit.

Note: the Senate vote of 58 to 40 included 15 Republicans voting in favor of not funding the F-22.) I see this as yet another topic on which President Obama can be painted as something he’s not (in this case, weak on defense) when it’s politically useful for the Weekly Standard’s purpose.

Hehehe - someone's not on point.  Even Neal Boortz says this is the right way to go.

Sorry if it cost more in maintenance than you get for service - scrap it.



So, we are looking at going from $120 million to $35 million and many faught for the more expensive (and outdated) F-22? And we hear these same senators freaking out about the cost of health care? I guess they have more dedication to a weapons system than average Americans who need health care. Priorities, right? How can we possibly trust their sincerity? in both cases, they are trying to appease lobbyists, end of story. They have zero credibility (and these folks are on both sides of the aisle.)

Obama has long been against continuing to build these planes.  Those that want to keep it, do so for purely political purposes, it seems.  Here is a really good article from, of all places, Fox.

The F-22 Raptor: The Air Force doesn't want it. The Secretary of Defense doesn't want it. Security experts say we don't need it. And fiscal hawks say there are much less expensive and better alternatives. Yet the pork barrel spenders in Congress insist on putting the Raptor back in the Defense Budget.



When Fox is the voice of reason over the Weekly Standard, that's a sure sign that Mr. Kristol, et al have an agenda, and they'll stop at nothing to advance it.   They won't let those pesky things called "facts" get in their way. 


For people like Mr. Kristol, et al, profits outweigh facts any day. 

*dons tin foil hat*

I don't think Mr. Kristol's motive is profit.  I consider him one of the neo-cons who would like to pull the strings in the background. 

*removes tin foil hat*


Wait!  Put that tinfoil hat back on for a minute...and just why do you think they like to pull those strings?  The neo-cons have reasons for thinking war is wonderful. The military-industrial complex is a huge business enterprise.

Hmmm, I think I have more to say on this subject.  I'll go to the bottom of the page to do just that. ;-)

For the neocons, profit is secondary to international power. Why stump for an expanded military if not to expand influence?

It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

International influence and profit have one thing is common.  Power!
Speaking of Mr. Kristol. I just found out he'll be a guest on the Daily Show on Monday.

 Seems to me like the right decision was made! But Im curious, Does anybody know how many jobs will be lost as a result of this?

"Government doesn't solve problems, it subsidizes them" ~ Ronald Reagan

There are estimates in the link I cited.  But, the odds are that these jobs will be kept by building other planes for Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed is pretty close to me. HUGE parking lot area that I guess Taggert driving school got permission to use because I practiced parking at the very end of the lot near the road years ago and I believe they still do it. Anyway, I passed Lockheed everytime I had a class at the main campus.

  Im sure you are right. And if not, they could always get a job building the new jet. Im sure they will be hiring now that their orders will increase considerably. Maybe they can use experienced jet builders.

"Government doesn't solve problems, it subsidizes them" ~ Ronald Reagan

I have to admit, I LOVE F22 Raptors. Just an amazing piece of craftsmanship. It has the same technology as stealth fighters in it's sleek shape so it can avoid being detected by radar. Been my favorite plane for a few years. lol

Anyway, it seems obvious we don't need it in our current wars so I am in favor of halting it even though I did put my name on an online petition months and months ago to keep funding(mostly out of pure respect for it's superiority over any other military aircraft in the world). The cost saving is huge and I think they have enough already built for anything that they need them for. The right decision was made. 

I'm curious, what's your take on the F-35? I think the transition reminds me of the F-16 and F-18 projects, which were designed to replace the expensive F-15 and F-14 respectively.

It'll take time if Lockheed Martin decides to convert all their F-22 manufacturing chains to F-35s, but they can do it and save both money and jobs...


It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

I am really not familiar with it. Never peaked my interest like the raptor. More importantly, i'm not extremely knowledgable about either, just basics.

Before WWII, the United States didn't have any permanent military weapons manufacturers.  In his farewell address President Eisenhower warned America of what he could see looming on the horizan.   

"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. …Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. …We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more then 8,000 people….this is not a way of life at all in any true sense.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
President Eisenhower, Farewell Address – Jan. 17, 1961

The term military-industrial complex makes us think of large corporations who have lucrative contracts to build fighter jets, bombers, warships, subs, and all of the weapons of war. But this is only a small part of what Eisenhower warned against.  There are also the contracts that are given to private corporations that build our military bases. These companies are sometimes given more money in order to shipfood and supplies to our bases over seas. Then there are the corporations that we outsource large portions of our intelligence needs to. Some of these companies are foreign owned and thus owe allegiance not just to their share holders but potentially to other governments as well. And let's not forget the private military companies who we pay to help fight our wars (at a higher rate than we pay U.S. soldiers).

Our society has created a system that profits from war. (President Bush and his family are a big part of the oil industry.  Cheney went from being Sec of Defense under Bush 41,  to being CEO of Halliburton/KBR, then back to DC as VP.)  When one war ends, the military-industrial complex finds or creates a new one in order to perpetuate itself. 

No wonder those who worship at the military-industrial alter want to continue to make fighter planes that are no longer needed.

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