F-22 Smears, Part II

Yet another trumped-up charge against the Air Force and the F-22 from the Washington Post has been exposed as a pure fabrication. The Post, in its influential—and largely inaccurate—July 10 hatchet job on the Raptor, quoted “several sources” as saying that an F-22 which crashed in March did so as part of “a bid to make the F-22 relevant to current conflicts by giving it a capability to conduct precision bombing raids, not just aerial dogfights.” The Post conjectured that a pilot’s life had been lost because of an Air Force desperation move to save the F-22 from termination. The real story: According to the Air Force accident investigation board that reported out on Friday, the F-22 in the incident was involved in testing loads and flutter on the side weapons bay and on a missile on a rail within it. Due to classification, the board could not identify the weapon in the side bay, but that rail is currently cleared for just one type of weapon—heat-seeking AIM-9 dogfight missiles. The flight profile involved three passes to create the proper G-loads and supersonic speeds necessary for the test, which was meant to evaluate the weapon bay doors and missile mounts. Maj. Gen. David Eidsaune, president of the accident board, said in an interview with Air Force Magazine Monday that any suggestion the aircraft was attempting some sort of close air support or bombing maneuver was “not correct.”