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Breaking:Senate Votes to Kill F-22 Fighter

July 21, 2009

Updates down below.

This is great news and perhaps a turning point, at long last, away from Cold War strategies and inefficient weapon’s procurement. From Wired’s Danger Room:

The Senate has voted to stop production of the controversial F-22 Raptor stealth jet in what could prove to be the key victory in the Pentagon’s attempt to radically overhaul its arsenal…White House and the Pentagon were aided in their push by Sen. John McCain, who, minutes before the Senate’s decision, called it “a crucial vote on whether we can prevail over the Military Industrial Congressional Complex or not.”

And from the President:

“As Commander-in-Chief, I will do whatever it takes to defend the American people,” Obama said, right after the vote. “But I reject the notion that we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on outdated and unnecessary defense projects to keep this nation secure…. And that’s why I’m grateful that the Senate just voted against an additional $1.75 billion to buy F-22 fighter jets that military experts and members of both parties say we do not need.”

Update-Via Defense Tech “Gates’ reputation as a man willing to take tough decisions and to stick with them gained greatly and won enhanced credibility with the vote. He will be difficult to defeat on any major program decision he takes for the forseaable future.”

More-Following the F-22 on Twitter!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Joe permalink
    July 22, 2009 3:36 pm


    I’ve read some on the UAV’s and see your logic in wanting us to trend that direction. What’s not to love about high capabilities plus lower cost? However, as you and many of your other blogging visitors note, change comes slowly to anything centered in Washington, especially that 5-sided polygon of note.

  2. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 22, 2009 3:06 pm

    Thanks Joe. It is an amazing result, probably 20 years overdue. I am thinking we won’t get as many F-35s as the military wants, given the increasing capabilities of the UAV.

  3. Joe permalink
    July 22, 2009 2:57 pm

    Overall I’m glad the F-22 is – apparently – going to be axed. A wonderous plane but with not a clear role for it to fulfill. There is an argument that can be made for keeping it versus the F-35, but given the multi-national market for the F-35 it doesn’t stand a chance.

    Still, in future years (esp after the 2010 QDR) it will be interesting to see if there is a commitment to fund “new thinking” or simply a dedication to cutting out all of the old thinking…and replacing it with nothing.

  4. Heretic permalink
    July 22, 2009 9:51 am

    Obama is a hard left guy

    … compared to Ghengis Khan or “Tricky” Dick Cheney … but not when measured against the current electorate of the USA (ie. the voters).

    To lefties like Obama, offensive weapons like the F-22 are bad because they tempt a too militaristic culture (ie America).

    And here I thought that weapons like the F-22 were “bad” for precisely the reasons enumerated on repeated occasions … they’re gold plated answers to problems we don’t have. Meanwhile, the problems that we DO HAVE get short shrift and need to “make do” with whatever’s left over after buying wunderweapons extraordinaire.

    I mean, for the price of a single F-22 … which would be a hangar queen of the first order in Afghanistan’s harsh environment … we could afford to buy, train, equip and maintain an entire fleet of Super Tucanos, which would be getting used every single day of the “war” being fought.

    It’s not a matter of offensive vs defensive weapons.
    It’s not a matter of left vs right (as much as you’d like to believe it to be jim).
    It’s not even a matter of hawk vs dove (as much as you’d like to believe it to be jim).

    It’s about smart vs dumb in the matter of choices.
    It’s about smart vs dumb in the matter of priorities.

    It’s about smart vs dumb in the kind of kit we buy for the kinds of wars we actually end up fighting on a pretty consistent basis for the last 50+ years.

  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 22, 2009 6:12 am

    I can see the hypocrisy here:cutting defense while turning the rest of government into a quagmire awash in pork with the likelihood of massive corruption. What ever his motives or reasoning for trimming these Cold War era projects I am behind him 100%. As I mentioned in another post, as great as the F-22 is as a weapon, the capabilities we lose by thinking we are invincible and don’t have to send our troops into the mud (like the nuke deterrent in the 1950s, more on that tomorrow) isn’t worth the price.

    As way back as 1950 Korea we knew our high tech wonder weapons weren’t going to save us, so it was always relearning the same lessons over and over at great costs to our soldiers’ lives. We may have learned these lessons too late in Vietnam but I think we are just in time with Iraq and Afghanistan. And it kills me that the flyers get these sort of weapons that are completely useless for fighting in backwater theaters like the Middle East, or at least wasted there.

    We probably don’t need these planes at all, considering the caliber of our foes, who are looking to wear us down with asymmetric tactics, not in a fair fight. 3 decades of spending on this plane while our more useful F-15s, F-16s, and A-10s are worn out from overwork. What a horrific waste!

    But I’d rather us have them than anyone else.

  6. jim permalink
    July 21, 2009 10:52 pm

    This may or may not be a wise strategic decision, but the rationale given – that we just don’t have any money — is bs. Obama has showered trillions on his cronies and pet projects, he’s massively increased government spending in every category — except defense. A few more billion is chump change.

    There’s a sound argument to be made that 187 F-22s are enough given the threat we face. But that wasn’t the argument Obama made.

    Obama is a hard left guy who wants to cut defense spending to fund his goals of “social justice”. To lefties like Obama, offensive weapons like the F-22 are bad because they tempt a too militaristic culture (ie America).

    I also don’t believe Obama would do “whatever it takes” to defend America. If the nightmare scenario occurred and Iran gave nukes to terrorists and we lost an American city … there’s no way Obama would nuke Iran in retaliation. No way. Deterrence doesn’t work if the other side isn’t afraid of you.

  7. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 21, 2009 7:57 pm

    Or you could write “Over cost + behind schedule + out of control : why is the (fill in the blank) still alive ?”

    Plenty of candidates out there!

  8. Heretic permalink
    July 21, 2009 5:35 pm

    Over cost + behind schedule + out of control : why is the LCS program still alive ?

    I believe you meant to say … EFV …

  9. Scott B. permalink
    July 21, 2009 5:21 pm

    From DefenseNews :

    “More important than not spending $1.75 billion more on F-22s, McCain said, is the signal the Senate would send that it is not going to continue buying weapons that are over cost, behind schedule and *out off control*”

    Over cost + behind schedule + out of control : why is the LCS program still alive ?

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