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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Toward future dogfights

The recent Atlantic piece on the F-22 was intended, I think, to raise worries about what would happen if production of the futuristic fighter is not continued. It's a difficult call, balancing the exigencies of future wars against those of present ones. But as the Pentagon moves to shut the line down, I am unimpressed by this bit of reasoning from Fareed Zakaria:
The F-22 has a price tag of over $350 million per jet. The F-22 was built to fight enemy jets. But when was the last time a U.S. pilot was involved in a dogfight?
The paucity of recent dogfights, of course, is in part because no other nation wants to go up against a qualitatively superior plane such as the F-22. That calculus is likely to change as the F-22 becomes a dwindling resource. Unthinking extrapolation from past to future is poor punditry.

1 comment:

Dreylon said...

Just like our nuclear weapons the F-22 serves as a deterrent to the actions of certain countries going to war against us and our allies. By cutting production now we also leave ourselves relying more on older technological weapon systems. Systems which countries like Russia and China are closer to being able to match up against.

If another World War happens again and we end up matched up against Russia and China we will have to rely on the like of the EU and the last time I checked they weren't exactly spending much on defense. Unlike the Europeans if we start cutting weapon systems like the F-22 there isn't another ally that we can depend on to pull our ass out of the fire.