Defending the Raptor, Again:

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) last week questioned whether the Air Force has put “excessive focus on high technology to meet threats that are years away, without having planned and prepared for … the war that we’re fighting today.” He was talking mainly about the F-22A Raptor, asserting that “right now, no F-22 is going to be able to fight a terrorist and deliver munitions on target like the F-15 Strike Eagle can, [and] that is a capable, fully affordable, existing aircraft that can be produced.” Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne responded that USAF must have the fifth-generation, stealthy aircraft, like the F-22 and F-35, to be prepared for the brand new surface-to-air missiles “the Russians have been selling Tehran,” and the “pretty good integrated air-defense systems” the North Koreans have bought, and don’t forget, “the Chinese have fortified the entire Strait of Taiwan.” Wynne also noted that the Russians and Chinese are marketing fifth-generation airplanes, including a Tornado look-alike and “an extraordinarily capable Sukhoi,” adding that while neither can match the F-22 or F-35, USAF leaders are “afraid that they do have some capabilities that may exceed some of our aging F-15s and F-16s.”