Orders grounding the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighter spread from Virginia to Alaska this weekend, briefly sidelining up to half of the roughly 170 Raptors. It’s becoming clearer by the day that the problems vexing America’s premier stealth fighter are neither minor nor temporary.
Archived posts with tag ‘stealth’
F-22 Raptor stealth fighters at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia have been grounded after a pilot experienced oxygen loss in mid-flight. It’s the second stand-down this year for the U.S. military’s most sophisticated dogfighter, and a foreboding sign for the Pentagon as it struggles to modernize its aerial armada.
First, the good news: after a nearly month-long flight ban, the Pentagon’s 20-strong Joint Strike Fighter test fleet is back in the air. The military and builder Lockheed Martin determined that the stealthy F-35 jet’s power system, while potentially flawed, did not justify the same prolonged grounding that has turned the Air Force’s 160 F-22s into $411 million hangar ornaments.
A photo from a Chinese aerospace exhibit, posted on an Internet forum, provides the first new evidence in more than six months regarding the role and capabilities of China’s first stealth fighter prototype.
For the third time this year, Iran is claiming it shot down an American robot warplane trying to snoop on Tehran’s nuclear facilities. “An unmanned U.S. spy plane flying over the holy city of Qom near the uranium enrichment Fordu site was shot down by the Revolutionary Guards’ air-defense units,” lawmaker Ali Aghazadeh Dafsari told Iranian state television.
For more than 20 years, the U.S. Air Force had a world monopoly on radar-evading technology — and with it, a huge advantage over any rival. Several generations of stealth fighters and bombers, from the earliest F-117s to the 1990s-vintage B-2s and today’s F-22s, have helped win wars, take down regimes and exert U.S. influence across the globe.
It’s been a pillar of the U.S. military’s approach to high-tech warfare for decades. And now, it could be become obsolete in just a few years. Stealth technology — which today gives U.S. jets the nearly unparalleled ability to slip past hostile radar — may soon be unable to keep American aircraft cloaked. That’s the potentially startling conclusion of a new report from Barry Watts, a former member of the Pentagon’s crystal-ball-gazing Office of Net Assessment and current analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.
After a decade of steady expansion, the Chinese military has made significant strides toward limiting the United States’ ability to deploy its own armed forces in the western Pacific. A combination of new submarines, long-range anti-ship missiles and heavily-armed jet fighters underpins what the Pentagon calls Beijing’s “anti-access, area-denial” strategy, aimed at keeping the warships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, based in Japan, out of the South China Sea.
By now we know that the two helicopters that deposited the 23 U.S. operatives (and their dog) into Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2 were no standard-issue Army rotorcraft. Rather, they were stealth modifications of the MH-60 Blackhawk, optimized to reduce their noise, infrared and radar signatures.
I was on MSNBC’s The Last Word talking about the mystery stealth chopper that crashed at Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound.
The U.S. Air Force’s fleet of radar-evading F-22 Raptor fighters has been grounded until “further notice.” It’s the latest blow to the reputation of the world’s most expensive, and allegedly most fearsome, dogfighter.
The May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s luxury compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan had it all: Painstaking intelligence-gathering, a heroic Navy SEAL assault team, satellite and drone surveillance and biometric forensics.