Thursday, December 30, 2004

Iraq War Costs Fighter Jet

A sign that the war in Iraq has gone too far, the pentagon is planning cuts to the F/A-22 Raptor fighter jet program. There is no doubt that at about $256.8 million each, the F/A-22 is the most expensive fighter jet ever; there is also no doubt that it will put the United States Air Force twenty years ahead of the rest of the world in fighter jet technology. Initial estimates are for the program to potentially be scaled back to 160 aircraft from current program production of 277. Oddly enough, the pentagon actually admitted that the cost of the war in Iraq was a factor in cutting this program.

While it is easy to get caught up in defending the United States from terrorism, history has shown that major conflicts will continue to erupt between traditional enemies and even pit old allies against each other. The fighter to be replaced by the F/A-22 is the F-15, a fighter designed in the 1960’s that hasn’t seen a major update since the mid 1980’s. While the F-15 is a proven fighter, I’d much rather see US airspace protected by technology that has matured in the twenty-first century. Fighters like the Russian MiG-35 (in development) and the European EF-2000, are designed to be better than the F-15 in every way, and with the numbers that the EF-2000 are being produced, I don’t think that cutting the F/A-22 program is in the best interests of national security.

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