Your boy John Reed (who’s filling in for a recently departed Colin Clark at DoD Buzz) reported this morning the real reason why the much-baleyhooed and (pricey) F-22 Raptor wasn’t deployed to the retro-1990s No-Fly Zone op over our 1980s enemy Libya.
Answer: It was too far away (guarding against Russian bombers puttering their way across the Aleutians on petrol fumes).
“Clearly, had the F-22s been stationed in Europe in closer proximity [to Libya] and therefore more available, they undoubtedly would have been used,” said Schwartz. “But as this came together fairly quickly, the judgement was made to apply the various tools we had in our toolkit using the resources that were in close proximity.”
Okay, so let me get this straight. The Air Force has been fighting tooth and nail to argue that the F-22 is relevant to future fights and (Schwartz notwithstanding) it should be seen as the most powerful aircraft in the skies today. That alone should be motivation enough to move heaven and earth to get those planes into Libyan airspace…how about a “taxpayer value” demonstration, for Chrissakes!
And, we have CNO Roughead telling us straight up that he pulled up his Growler squadron’s stakes in Iraq and flew them to Aviano and were banging trons in less than 48 hours? The Air Force didn’t have time to move the F-22s from Langley to Aviano? Roughead told us the plans were solidifying a week before the balloon went up. That’s more than enough time to show some value in the $150 million per plane pricetag (depending on who you ask).
But no, it wasn’t a slight against the aircraft, which was, by the way, built just for this kind of mission…
The four-star made a point to add that the decision to leave the F-22s home was “not an ad hominem against that weapons system at all; it really was an expedient judgement with respect to putting the plan together and executing it on a very rapid timeline.”
I’m a taxpayer, and I’m pissed. What are we waiting for, an air invasion by China? By then it will be swarms of $200K drones against one $150 million airplane…good ROI folks.