Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration gives 20 upgraded F-16D fighter aircraft to Islamists in Egypt

Egyptian F-16D Falcon: A gift for Morsi from Obama

Egyptian F-16D Falcon: A gift for Morsi from Obama

Dad sent me this article from Fox News.

Excerpt:

Instability in Egypt, where a newly-elected Islamic government teeters over an angry population, isn’t enough to stop the U.S. from sending more than 20 F-16 fighter jets, as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package.

[...]“Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents,” said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “Given Washington’s fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”

[...]The $213 million order, which is paid for by U.S. taxpayers and is part of Egypt’s foreign aid package from America, had to be approved by lawmakers in Washington.While the basic F-16 has been a military workhorse for top air forces for more than 25 years, the cockpit electronics are constantly updated and the models Egypt is getting are the best defense contractor Lockheed Martin makes.

I’m not a big fan of F-16 Falcons in the air superiority role, but they do a fairly good job at air-to-ground strike missions. Egypt is getting the latest “D” variant, which has upgraded sensors and fire control. You don’t just hand these out to Islamic dictators for free, especially during a recession.

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Russians develop fifth-generation PAK FA stealth multi-role fighter

The American F-22, the Russian T-50 and the Chinese J-20

The American F-22, the Russian T-50 and the Chinese J-20

From the Heritage Foundation blog, some disturbing news about fifth generation fighter technology.

Excerpt:

The chief of Russia’s air force announced this week that the PAK FA, Russia’s fifth-generation stealth fighter, will enter service in 2015. This would be close to the time when two U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants for the U.S. Air Force (F-35A) and the Navy (F-35C) are expected to attain initial operational capability in 2016. This display means the U.S. must keep its own Joint Strike Fighter program on schedule for production.

The public flight of a PAK FA’s T-50 prototype before the world, at the MAKS–2011 International Aviation and Space Salon, is a demonstration of Russia’s firm commitment to develop this aircraft for its own use and to sell it around the world.

Russian authorities have declared that they intend to acquire 60 PAK FA aircraft by 2020. Russia’s stated objective is to acquire 250 fifth-generation aircraft, but more are possible. India would acquire at least 250 and up to 300 of its PAK FA version, the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft.

With the closure of the U.S. F-22 stealth fighter production line at 187 aircraft, America’s main answer—and that of U.S. allies—to the PAK FA is the F-35, a multirole fighter. While it is too soon to know, the F-35 may ultimately have inferior specifications to the Russian fighter in terms of speed, maneuverability, range, weapons load, and possibly even stealth. In this regard, the Russians have described the future operational PAK FA as a fighter whose “use of composite materials and advanced technologies…minimizes its radio-frequency, optical and infrared visibility.”

[...]Congress should consider the implications of Russia exporting this stealth fighter to other nations. In addition to India, Russia could sell the PAK FA to Iran if the U.N. arms embargo is lifted, or to Arab countries if the U.S. refuses to sell them the F–35, as well as to Venezuela, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and perhaps even China, since the PAK FA appears to have more internal bomb capacity than the J–20.

The J-20 is China’s 5th generation stealth fighter.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has shuttered production of the only thing that can stop these Russian and Chinese fighters – the F-22 Raptor. And the Democrats would love to cut anything else they can get their hands on in order to buy more votes before the 2012 election. It’s like putting drug addicts in charge of a bank vault. They love power, and they’ll do anything to get their fix in the short-term.

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US Air Force decides not to close F-22 Raptor production plant

Great news from Politico. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

The Air Force will hang on to its F-22 tooling at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga., production plant even after it stops making the fifth generation fighter jet in 2012, according to Flight International’s Stephen Trimble. Though the Air Force has said in the past the goal would be to provide a long-time service plan for the jets, “the decision also implicitly preserves the option to restart production if future administrations decide that the USAF needs more than 186 F-22s,” Trimble writes.

The Weekly Standard explains:

The Air Force originally planned for 750 Raptors — at the time called the Advanced Tactical Fighter — as a replacement for the venerable F-15 Eagle. Strategic shifts, like the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the infantry-heavy war on terrorism, steadily decreased the fleet’s planned end-strength until Congress settled on 187 airframes in 2006.

As Russia and China continue their steady defense buildups and America’s aging fighter fleet continues to decay, the need for the “finest fighter jet ever built” only grows. Keeping that Lockheed assembly line open may seem like mundane news today. But it could end up saving the military big bucks down the line, as the peer threat looms larger.

Now that the JSF is facing substantial delays and rising costs, we need to have the option of restarting production on the F-22 when Obama loses in 2012. This is really important. We need to keep our edge in the sky. There are bad people in the world who threaten peace, prosperity and liberty. We need to make them believe that any aggression they consider will be costly. We need to deter aggression.

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