Dear «Raptor»


Fighter F-22 was not even on the U.S. Pockets

The United States has never been seen in the desire to at least a small degree to share military technology secrets even with its allies. In some cases, this created all sorts of certain tasks, especially when high-level political decision-makers to show the latest military or any other system of its partners.

When in June 1991, after starring in the Gulf War, the newest fighter-bombers, F-117A U.S. administration had decided to show some of them at the international aerospace show in the Paris suburb of Le Bourget, around the aircraft at the cost of 106.2 million dollars around the perimeter of the compact was put protection of the Marines, not to approach novelty closer than 10 meters.

Accompanying a group of journalists of French President Francois Mitterrand and Defense Minister Pierre Joxe during their bypass the Exhibition, I witnessed how when you try to touch the French Minister of radar trim F-117A is one of the U.S. Marines rushed to Joxe, caught his hand and warned its contact with the new for as long absorbing materials. This moment was captured by photographer French aerospace weekly «Er Space», which at that time was on the roof of a nearby pavilion and South American fighter shot from above. The following week edition of «Er Cosmos» made this picture on the front cover of its own more than one room.

The most advanced

The following global aerospace interiors Americans ages stated and showed their new combat aircraft. However, only air. Demonstration of such aircraft as a strategic bomber B-2 «Spirit» or unobtrusive fighter F-22 «Raptor» fly by, for example, over the territories salons in Farnborough or Dubai, on ground static display was banned even if clock software for enhanced protection. Because the current U.S. plans to make of «Raptor» export product and offer it to a number of allied countries is strikingly different from the trends of recent years. This is largely due to the very highest price this low-profile fighter designed to fight for an advantage in the air, and even the desire to make certain extent funds expended on it.

F-22 «Raptor», according to the South American specialists, the current time is more advanced fighter fifth generation to fight for an advantage in the air, also has the ability to strike ground targets with the use of precision instruments (WTO). The aircraft has little visibility in different spectra electric range sverhkreyserskuyu flight speed, higher maneuverability using thrust vectoring, integrated avionics and synthesizing information from on-board and external sensors.

The F-22 was created for the substitution of obsolete fighters to fight for an advantage in the air F-15, while the other South American machine fifth generation F-35 «Lightning II» — to substitute F-16 fighters and attack aircraft A-10. As pointed out by U.S. military experts, the degree of stealth, also according to their ability of air combat F-22 is superior to the F-35, which is considered as a supplement to the «Raptor» and is a dual-purpose fighter how to perform strike operations using the WTO, and for conducting air battlefield. If the base USAF fighter fleet consisted of the previous generation languid and light fighter F-15/F-16, now this park is based on the latest pair of planes — F-22/F-35A.

But because of the highest prices «Raptor» U.S. Air Force failed to translate initial plans need to achieve the amount of these aircraft fleet. If in 1991 the number of plans for the F-22 production was 648 units, then as we implement programs from aircraft purchased by constantly declining and by 2010 was 175 units.

According to a recent report prepared by the Congressional Research Service U.S. fighter programmke fifth generation F-22 «Raptor» (Air Force F-22 Fighter Program), the total purchase price 179 aircraft under the applets on 31 December 2010 includes expenditure on R & D, procurement and military construction costs — 67.3 billion dollars. This amount includes expenditure on R & D (about 32.4 billion dollars), the funds for the purchase of the aircraft itself (about 34.2 billion), as 676.6 million dollars on military construction. Costs per aircraft on programmke acquisition system implements F-22 of the 179 units, including the costs for the construction of experimental aircraft, totaled 369.5 million dollars. The average purchase price of each of the 179 machines — $ 185.7 million dollars.

How should the report, to be purchased by the F-22 program there began in fiscal year 1999 and lasted until 2009 fiscal year. Just bought 195 fighters, including 177 production aircraft, 16 testing machines and two prototype aircraft made in step development. As part of the 2010 budget money, the U.S. government has offered complete purchase the F-22 when it was released 187 fighters, and Congress approved this decision.

Finishing and 195 th in a row F-22 Air Force delivered May 3, 2012-th, then the assembly line F-22 fighters in the town of Marietta (Ga.) was stopped, and the equipment and tooling in the amount of 30 thousand different components are preserved and transferred for storage. The company «Lockheed Martin» and «documented» to store the entire assembly process F-22 with any manufacturing operation was videotaped, so that in case of resumption of normal production of these fighters could quickly prepare workers.

Having spent a great deal on the formation of the F-22 fleet, which numbered more than three times less than the amount initially planned, the U.S. Air Force must spend huge amounts of money to maintain the readiness of these fighters, and conduct upgrades throughout its life.

Moreover, since 2010 the operation of the F-22 appeared very nasty problem. Namely, after the catastrophe, the F-22 in November 2010, the U.S. Air Force in Alaska registered at least the last 25 occurrences of hypoxia in these fighter pilots during the execution of flight missions. Namely, for the end of 2011 with 10 thousand sorties F-22 noted 11 cases (about 0.1 percent) of the onset of symptoms of hypoxia in pilots, with 6 of them took place in February and March 2012. By the way, the U.S. Navy had similar difficulties with flight crews deck fighters F-18, as from 2002 to 2009 came 64 incident, two of which resulted in a fatal ending.

After much research and multiple bans fly the F-22 fleet were identified some potential prerequisites for the hypoxia, namely, carbon filters in the system generating oxygen and pressure vests pilots. Only after the respective completions Park F-22 was again commissioned, although quite hypoxia problem hitherto unsolved.

The cost of upgrading

South American administration under the military budget in 2013 fiscal year requested 283.9 million dollars for the modernization of the armament of fighters and 36.7 million dollars to equip the centers of aviation logistics necessary funds for maintenance F-22.

In addition, under the same military budget for 2013 were requested funds in the amount of 140.1 million dollars on research and development to create better software (Increment 3.2B) for F-22 fighters and 371.7 million dollars on R & D fighter F-22A.

The program of modernization are in service with the F-22 was approved in 2003. It is divided into four sectors and provides for consistent building abilities shock aircraft to attack ground targets, also ability to collect disk imaging, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Namely, after the implementation of the first sector (Increment 2) planes in the option «Block 20» will be able to use at supersonic speeds direct attack munitions JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition), also improved medium-range missiles AMRAAM.

In the second sector (Increment 3.1), which began in November 2011, will be expanded ability AFAR radar APG-77 for mapping the underlying surface and the introduction of JDAM munitions with autonomous target designation from airborne sensors. Modernization will allow F-22A fighter aircraft to carry and use eight bomblets type SDB (Small diameter bomb).

Third sector modernization (Increments 3.2A and 3.2B) aims to improve the software to improve the electrical protection F-22A, combat identification and communication lines «Link-16.» Its implementation will make better use of SDB bombs and targeting using methods geolocation, enhance the ability of the automatic warning ability collision with the ground and ensure the application of improved missiles «air-» AIM-120D and AIM-9X.

As for the fourth sector (Increment 3.2B), then it will continue to build the framework of combat capabilities of the aircraft achieved in the implementation of the previous step modernization.

Completely natural that all these works require considerable funds. Estimated cerebral control of financial management in the U.S. Congress to modernize its fleet applets price F-22 to the true time doubled — from 5.4 to 11.7 billion dollars, and the timing of its implementation prolonged from 2010 to 2017. Implementation of programs from upgrading the F-22 fleet is increasingly crucial due to the delayed implementation of programs from other fighter fifth generation — F-35, also increase its purchase price, uniformly approaching prices «Raptor.»

Plus the cost of operation

In addition, together with the modernization of the coming prospects need to maintain operation of a very complex system of arms, which is the F-22. If the purchase of the park F-22A took nearly 70 billion dollars, then to maintain the operation of the park over the estimated life of the Air Force to do almost 160 billion dollars. In the next few years the Air Force will need to more than 100 million dollars to repair the F-22A to ensure their flights over eight thousand flight hours, embedded in the design of the aircraft. In the past two years, BBC spent on contracts for «Lockheed Martin» to maintain operational readiness of F-22A fleet almost 1.4 billion dollars.

Congress also cause concern about reliability and maintainability of the park operated by the F-22. In fiscal year 2012 the Air Force had spent about 803.4 million dollars upgrading and technological support for these fighters. But the degree of readiness «Raptor» is at a low level. Namely, in 2009 it amounted to only 60 percent in the current time is unlikely to exceed this level.

All the above calculations do not add money optimism not only the Air Force Command, and military-political management United States, which is in principle ready to see their current positions, albeit with certain criteria, the issue of export F-22. South American legislators have allowed U.S. Department of Defense to conduct research and design, aimed at the development of promising export version of the fighter while protecting hidden and «sensitive» disk imaging concerning its design and production technology.

In the midst of potential customers export version of the F-22 U.S. considers, for example, Japan, which has a fighter fleet including about 200 F-15 and about 90 older F-4. To substitute Park F-4 Land of the Rising Sun 40-50 must purchase new fighters within applets for substitution fighter fleet, which received the designation FX, while programm substitution of F-15 bears the title FXX.

But despite the fact that the United States encouraged the country to Japan to buy the F-35 aircraft «Lightning II», and not the F-22, specifically the Japanese military prefer «Raptor.» Although in December 2011, Japan adopted a decision to purchase the F-35, she is ready to return to the question of acquiring the F-22 in this case, if Congress will remove the ban on the export of these fighters. By the way, the South American side informed the government of the country of the rising sun, in the case of renewal of serial production F-22 to implement the export applets will need about 900 million dollars just to restore the assembly strip operated by the 1040 supplier companies from 44 countries.

Nicholas Beginners, editor agency ARMS-TASS


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