Now, it is an undeniable fact that the US (and for that matter, Britain) is operating a rapidly aging fleet of aircraft. In 2007 Defence Industry Daily announced that the current US fleet is the oldest in USAF history, with an average aircraft age of 23 years. Many of the refuelling tankers are 40 years old, and according to this article may be 70 or 80 years old before they retire.
On this evidence - and with the current world security situation remaining tense it is obvious that the USAF should be looking to refresh its fleet. Hence the development of the awesome F-22.
But, this article on the BBC website really got me thinking. The F-22 is quite clearly an awesome machine, the first in the so-called fifth-generation of jets. But as far as I can tell it seems destined to come up against the problems that the Eurofighter has faced. Put quite simply, it isn't needed.
At $140 million each, the F-22 is an expensive bird, and I am sure would be a fantastic addition to any airforce engaged in a conventional war. The only problem with that being the fact that there is not any single nation capable of waging a conventional war against the US anymore. Sure, the F-22 is an impressive dogfighter. But who is it going to be fighting? Today there just isn't the sort of global world threat that requires this level of air superiority is there? As it stands the F-22 programme is under threat because the US airforce are threatening to cut back on their orders and the F-22 is banned from being sold to other countries. Sure the current air fleet is an old one, but it seems to be doing the job in Iraq and Afghanistan, would the F-22 make any noticeable difference on the ground there?
Oh, well - my personal feeling is that it is unnecessary - what do you all think? Oh and just for laughs, have a look at the F-22 clip below...and the super cool F-35 clip below that...another aircraft which is too expensive and too advanced in my eyes, but look how pretty!