The Washington Post’s putative exposé of the F-22 and all its shortcomings, printed on its front page Friday (and picked up as gospel by various wires and blogs over the weekend), was riddled with inaccuracies, according to the Air Force, Lockheed Martin, and our own investigation. The Post said only 55 percent of the F-22 fleet is available for missions “guarding US airspace,” but as we reported recently, the F-22’s combat air forces mission capable rates have been climbing slowly but steadily, and inlate June stood at 62.9 percent, according to Air Combat Command. On Friday, Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-22, said in a statement that the MC rate “has improved from 62 percent to 68 percent from 2004-2009 and we are on track to achieve an 85 percent MCR by the time the fleet reaches maturity,” or 100,000 hours, which should take place next year. The company also said that the mean time between maintenance—the number of hours an F-22 flies before it needs service—rose from 0.97 hours in 2004 to 3.22 hours in Lot 6 aircraft. The Post claimed a figure of 1.7 hours. Direct maintenance man-hours per flying hour have dropped from 18.1 in 2008 to 10.46 in 2009, “which exceeds the requirement of 12,” the company added. The Post used out of date figures from 2004-2008 when the rates were higher because the F-22 was a new system. The Post also trotted out the old school criticism of stealth that it is somehow “vulnerable to rain,” but the company noted that the F-22 is “an all-weather fighter and has been exposed to the harshest climates in the world—ranging from the desert in Nevada and California, extreme cold in Alaska, and rain/humidity in Florida and Guam—and performed magnificently.” The information quoted by the Post “is incorrect,” the company said flatly. While the Post led its piece saying that the F-22 costs more to fly per hour than the F-15 it replaces, it didn’t say whether it had factored inflation or fuel prices into that cost and neglected to point out that the F-15 has no stealth coatings to maintain. An Air Force public affairs spokeswoman said the Post did not contact the service for comment on the story before publication. (Updated July 15, 2009: USAF subsequently amended that statement.) The F-22 passed Follow-On Test and Evaluation Testing in 2005, and in FOT&E II, in 2007, USAF’s test and evaluation outfit rated the F-22 “effective, suitable, and mission capable,” despite the Post’s claims that it “flunked” those evaluations. The Post attributed most of its information to unnamed Defense Department sources.
Feb. 28, 2021
In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.
Feb. 26, 2021
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Roth, NORAD’s Gen. VanHerck, U.S. Space Command’s Gen. Dickinson, Spark Tank, and more from Day 3 of the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.
Feb. 26, 2021
A crew chief and production superintendent from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., took home the 3D-printed trophy in the Department of the Air Force’s Spark Tank innovation contest for a simple idea he predicts could “solve a lot of issues across the aircraft community.” Master Sgt. Justin Bauer pitched his…
The first flight of the AGM-183A hypersonic missile will happen within a week, experts reported Feb. 26 at AFA's virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. The Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon will fly soon after a failed attempt, which was apparently due to technical and procedural glitches not related to the missile's design.
Air Combat Command is trying to move forward with an experiment it hopes will pave the way for a larger overhaul of fighter pilot training, despite pandemic-era complications. The command is working through the contracting process for the resources it needs to test the “Reforge” idea, ACC boss Gen. Mark…
Feb. 26, 2021
Nearly 140 Air National Guard personnel from Texas and Kentucky have responded to parts of Texas that were devastated by Winter Storm Uri, ANG Director Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh told reporters Feb. 26. The polar vortex ravaged Texas’ power grid and deprived many citizens of running water.
The head of Air Combat Command isn't sure the cost of operating the F-35 will hit the desired $25,000 per hour by 2025, and he's headed out to meetings to see what can be done to make it happen. He's also concerned that China will beat the U.S. to 6th-generation…
The Pentagon’s new Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military has 90 days to find ways to combat the problem within the ranks, and the group will consider all options to address an issue that has “shattered the dreams” of many service members who joined with optimism about…
Feb. 26, 2021
Air Education and Training Command has incorporated a focus on human performance optimization—which includes personal resilience, health, fitness, diet, and mental performance—into its Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 program, 19th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills said at the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.