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Open Letter to Senators Feinstein and Boxer

(Though we try not to chase current events here at On V, we do believe in being active participants in our democracy. As California residents, we were shocked when we found out that both of our Senators voted in favor of continuing production of the F-22 Raptor. For background on the subject, click here.)

Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer,

We are writing you today to express our dismay at your recent vote in support of adding twelve additional F-22 Raptor fighter jets, in other words, voting to waste nearly 1.7 billion on planes our country doesn’t need. The F-22 Raptor has never run a combat mission in support of ground troops in Afghanistan or Iraq. It hasn't flown a single mission in support of the Global War on Terror. Not one.

For a plane without a job, the costs are staggering: it costs over a hundred thirty million dollars just to build one; the Air Force spent 65 billion dollars researching and building the F-22; it costs $44,000 to fly it for one hour and in regular maintenance, the plane requires thirty hours (or 34 to some estimates) for one hour of flight time.

A diverse group of politicians and Generals -- including Senator John McCain, Defense Secretary Gates, USAF Secretary Donley and his Chief of Staff General Schwartz--have all argued to end the program. As Secretary Gates said, "The F-22, to be blunt, does not make much sense in the spectrum of conflict."

By spectrum of conflict, the Secretary of Defense means the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan and Iraq, A-10 Warthogs, F-16 fighter-bombers and AC 130 gunships run all the combat air missions. Instead of spending 1.7 billion dollars on twelve jets, why not build ten or twenty more AC-130 gunships to support our troops at night? Why not use that money to equip more battalions with Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected vehicles? Why not spend it on stronger roads to keep our troops and the Afghanistan National Security Forces safe from IEDs?

Secretary Gates attempts to change the culture of military acquisitions will make our nation safer and save our nation money. We understand that Lockheed Martin and Boeing have vital roles in our California economy, but we mustn’t let California’s economic needs trump our national security. The military must transform to face our current conflict by cutting the waste rampant in it’s budget.

We are extremely displeased you don’t support this effort, and hope you vote in the future to cut the pork from our military budget.

(We forwarded this letter to our Senators and recommend you do the same if your Congressperson supported the F-22 Raptor.)

five comments

Where to even start…

I can understand the need for the F-22. Well for two or three. It’s a technological advancement that progresses the science of avionics. But to have dozens when the most action any F-22 has seen is chasing Bruce Willis in a
semi truck as he tries to rescue his daughter from a super hacker, is just wasteful. Have one to progress, two or three in case the original has failures. to have more is an exercise in luxury. It like Master P buying a gold plated tank.

I’m not going to say that I think air-to-air combat will never happen again or that the United States will never have a need again for superior technological aircraft but I do think what we have now is sufficient to meet any threat we may encounter in the near future so the money spent on the F-22 would be better off going somewhere else.

@Matt- Great Die Hard reference, and the funniest part is that the F-22 couldn’t actually do that mission in Die Hard anyways!

@Will- Great summation. I agree that we will/could fight air-to-air combat again, but we definitely have enough resources to dominate the entire world.

I want to clarify, by can’t actually do that, you mean fire air to ground missiles because they are not equip to do so let alone bust our a hover engine. Please tell me that harrier type specialization hasn’t been implemented in other aircraft as it is absurd with regards to practical application (Except in True Lies… Amazing how these machines are so useful in the movies compared to real life.)