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DoD Budget Wars: Obama threatens F-22 budget veto
When it comes to air superiority fighters, the US is not in any danger of being overwhelmed by any other country. The US fights major wars as a part of NATO, so talking about one country at a time isn't the most relevant measure, but I'll do it anyway. The US has about 2600 air superiority fighter aircraft, including about 140 F-22s, while China has around 1700 (premiering around 130 Sukhoi SU-27 variants (4.5g)and 150 J-10 variants (4.5g)) and Russia has around 1600 (premiering around 500 Sukhoi SU-35, -30 and -27 variants, (4.5g)). The Russian and Chinese air forces often have serious logistical, maintenance, and operational issues, and both operate in fairly small military alliances. The US Air Force is confident that the F-22 will dominate not only the Sukhoi-27 variants (including SU-30/35 and J-11), but all other fighters currently being designed.
A DERA study in 1994 concluded that the F-22 was about as capable as ten SU-35s, and each SU-35 was as capable as about 3 F-16s. This would imply that 140 F-22s would probably win against 1400 SU-35s, which are the most advanced of the SU-27 variants. Of course, a lot of things have changed since the era of Hootie and the Blowfish, in technology and budgets.
"I will veto any bill that supports acquisition of F-22s beyond the 187 already funded by Congress." said Obama in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. John McCain, the ranking Republican Senator on the committee, has already voiced his opposition to ordering more F-22s.
The proposed bill funds $1.75 billion for more F-22s, and $439 million for new engines for the next mod of the F-22. $2 billion is small change for the DOD, but not for the Congressmen who want it spent in their districts. Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman ADM Mullen argue that with the current buildout plans, they're still on track to have twice the modern airpower of China in 2020. Each additional F-22 costs around $140 million, and so far the program has cost the US $65 billion over the years to develop, test, build, and retrofit since the program began in 1986.
The DoD needs as much savings as it can find these days, with two wars on going, and deployments in many other countries, not to mention the general budgetary chaos in Washington.
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