With the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff telling lawmakers yesterday that the Pentagon may not be able to buy as many F-35 Joint Strike Fighters as planned, it seems like a good time to share the results of a poll we ran two weeks ago asking whether the Marines should buy F-22s instead of F-35Bs.
First, here’s what sister site DoDBuzz quoted the new chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, as saying to the House Armed Services Committee yesterday:
“I’m concerned about the three variants, whether we can afford all three.” In doing so, the chairman took a dramatically different line from other DoD leaders, saying not ‘We must have the jets and we’ll get their costs down,’ but ‘We need an airplane but we might not be able to buy [all] the ones we’re trying to roll out.’
While the Corps’ short take-off and vertical landing Bravo model has been making significant progress in flight testing this year, the jet remains on probation and some are beginning to wonder if the Marines even need a STOVL fighter. Heck, the Corps is alreeady hedging against problems with the B (whether it says this publicly or not) and preserving its tradition of flying off big-deck aircraft carriers by purchasing 50 F-35C carrier variant JSFs.
Now back to the poll. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece at DoDBuzz highlighting one Marine’s proposal for the Corps to buy a mix of light attack turboprops and 60 F-22 Raptors to complement its fleet of F-35Cs if the B model falls victim to budget cuts.
We asked you for your thoughts on this idea in our poll. We’ve published the results of that poll along with your best comments — and our responses to some of them — below the jump:
As of this writing, we’ve received 2,639 responses to our poll asking if the USMC should buy F-22s:
1,678 — or 63-percent — of you voted in favor of the Marines Buying the F-22.
837 — 31-percent — said the Marines shouldn’t buy the F-22.
124 — 4.7-percent — voted for other options.
Here are some of the best comments about the idea:
The Marines don’t need the F-35B or the F-22. The Marines need a plane like the A-10, Bronco type, or a mud fighter. Stealth is not needed to protect marines in most battles. These guys need a plane that can deliver weapons on target in a very short amount of time and be able to take damage like an A-10 or other mud fighter could. An F-35 is a wonderful plane but the wrong pick to protect the Marines. In Vietnam when an air strike was called in you would see an F-4 then an A-4 and when the single prop plane Skyraider would circle overhead and dive and deploy airbrakes and drop a bomb on a small target then the enemy was neutralized. Fast is not the weapon needed. The plane needed needs to be able to carry lots of weapons and be able to slow down enough to drop them on target. The F-22 is great for the AF and I wish the US Navy had a version to use. The marines need a different aircraft all together.
Poor poll choices. What about the obvious Plan B? The F-35C?
what we need is something that is rugged enough to fly from a carrier, has a huge payload, and can loiter…..and oh yeah provide its own fighter support just like the FA-18…..the F-22 …..landing gear will have to be strengthened, payload increased
As it stands right now, there does need to be some overlap in Aircraft….gets too expensive to have multiple platforms…..back in the mid to late 60’s …..the Airforce decided to get the F-4 Phantom II….a Naval/Marine Corps fighter…..the F-22 is not the answer
The USMC should buy/build a version of the USAF AC-130U Spooky Gunship…
For use in supporting USMC Ground forces there is no better platform.
Let the Navy and AF play up at altitude. Support of Ground Forces has been MC doctrine for as long as I remember… and the AC-130U handles that mission extreamly well.
— Editors note, the USMC is doing this with its KC-130 Harvest Hawk program
The F-22 would have to be rebuilt as said above in order to reinforce the landing gear for carrier landings. The A-10 would not work in a war where we would have to fight for air superiorty. Afg. is fine for the A-10 but what would we do when the US Marines have to fight the Chinese communist in say ten years? The AC-130 gunship is again fine for Afg., but would not work where we don’t have supreme air superiorty. Besides the A-10s are getting to be very old.
The F-22 has no sea going capability. Can’t use a fleet carrier, can’t use any of the helo platforms like the Harrier or the proposed F-35B.
I was involved with the Marine Corps acceptance of the AV-8 Harrier on the ground side 1n 1971-72. TACP etc. That short runway/verticle capability is crucial.
I would like to see a sea going AV-8/A-10 blend. That is what the Corps needs for fixed wing support. Not a F-22.
Remember the mission.
— Editors note, a modern light attack turboprop, similar to the old STOL OV-10 Broncos, might,and the key word is might, satisfy the need for a slow, loitering ground attack plane capable of operating from amphibious assault ships. But remember, the Broncos were pulled from service after proving too vulnerable to ground fire during Operation Desert Storm.
The Corps does not need or want a strategic, all weather, Mach 2+, super cruise aircraft like the F-22. The key feature of the F-22 is its radar and its stealth - something not required by a quick and light force that is down in the mud with the bugs. The AV-8B was the perfect choice because it could stay with a moving force. The Corps is light and fast; it doesn’t need a strategic air-dominant fighter which could easilly be pulled from its support function to strategic functions like many of the Corps’ F-4s were in Vietnam. The only answer is the F-35B with the same short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities that makes the AV-8B so good.
You must keep in mind, the Corps uses air support far differently than any other service. The air assets of the Corps has the role of instant airborne artillery on demand when traditional artillery is still on the landing ships. It is also a Marine pilot supporting a Marine grunt and is the key to the air-ground team. In Vietnam you could tell when you had Marine air support by the color of the pilot’s eyes. When we received USAF air support you could hardly tell what kind of plane it was because it was so high. We want it low and pinpoint to keep moving as fast as possible.
The USAF has a hard enough time getting the F-22’s off the ground for routine training in a sterile environment. What will happen if the airframe ever got deployed to a foward operating area? Bad idea Leathernecks. USMC and the Warthog is made for each other.
As a former Marine aviator, I think we have gone mad. The F-22 at $150,000,000 each? Are you kidding? We’re broke now, and, who will we fight with it? President Eisenhower was right when he warned about the military-industrial complex. It’s in full force, building weapons systems that we don’t need at enormous cost, when they should be concentrating on combating IED’s, RPG’s, and fighting small groups of insurgents. This is the warfare of the future - not the Russians pouring thru the Fulda gap or fleets of bombers coming over the North Pole By the way, what does USMC air pride itself on? Answer - Close air support. Helping the Marine on the ground. What better platform than upgraded A-10’s at a probably a 10th of the cost. If necessary, hang a tail hook on them - strengthen the landing gear - make the wings fold.
Also VTOL - is it really necessary? Did that capability in the Harrier ever make any difference to Marines in battle? Don’t think so. A-10s would seem to be better than VTOL F-35’s with all the bells and whistles, and again at 1/10th the cost.
I say talk to marine grunts see wat they would like supporting them in close ground support, an A-10 or a supersonic fighter jet.
A modified F-22 for Navy air superiority would be good. A modified A10 for Marine close air support would be great. However, a F-35B with its STOVL capabilities would also be great for Marine close air support because it would not require a full size aircraft carrier to operate. Also, the F-35B is fast and agile and can hold it’s own in air to air combat when required.