Airplanes that should be eliminated - and an airplane that should not

A Friday, September 25 article from Roll Call indicates that the Senate Defense spending bill has eliminated two Gulfstreams for Congressional Member use. Considering the massive and utterly unsustainable budget deficits that this government is now running, this is good – these aircraft are a waste of taxpayer dollars for the benefit of those like Nancy Pelosi who clearly do not deserve it.

This report comes the day after Politico reports that Sarah Palin has broken with John McCain and supports continued F-22 production. In addition to lauding Sarah Palin for coming out of her “comfort zone” of issues like energy policy and making a foray into defense issues, I also applaud her recognition that this aircraft serves a role in defending America from threats such as Russia and China.

With all due respect to Secretary Gates, his decision to close out the F-22 production is short sighted and wrong.  It is true that the F-35, a smaller, less expensive aircraft which can be produced in greater numbers would have a decisive role in providing air support in areas in which air defenses are likely to be light or non-existent – Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, and places like Somalia today are well suited for this multi-role fighter.  However, the “high-end”, strategic threats – Iran, China, Venezuela – which possess modern, dense air defenses would require suppression from a more capable platform, and which possess advanced fighters like the Russian built SU-30MK and which consistently beat the existing “high -end” F-15 in Air Force simulations, require a high end fifth generation fighter to ensure air supremacy .  Furthermore, stable allies such as Japan, Australia, and Israel have requested to purchase F-22 which would help the current account deficit and, more importantly, allow allies in “bad neighborhoods” (Japan with North Korea, Israel with most of its neighbors) deter aggression from some of the world’s most dangerous tyrants.

Unfortunately, Obama, Gates, McCain, et al are determining DoD procurement and Sarah Palin is not, so the F-22 production line is as good as shut down.  The air supremacy which this nation has enjoyed since World War II is most likely gone with it.  Remember this when a dictator goes on the march.