News To Me

Interesting news breaking on the Internet from the AJC

Georgia-built F-22 finally used in combat

While you slept, the Georgia-built F-22 Raptor, the most expensive fighter plane of all time, finally saw combat.

The F-22, assembled by Lockheed in Marietta, has had a troubled history, largely due to its price tag. Almost 200 of the planes, allegedly the most advanced air-superiority aircraft in the world, were built at a cost of $67 billion.

Curiously, the plane was first used in combat three years after its 16-year production run (1996-2011) ended.

The Wall Street Journal's story of the Syrian bombings mentions the F-22 was part of a coordinated air strike that also included 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The WSJ says "The airstrikes in Syria will mark the first time the U.S. has used the F-22, its most advanced aircraft, in battle. Even when attacking Libyan air defenses, the Pentagon avoided deploying F-22s, which are stationed at a base in the U.A.E."

Why was the F-22 finally used?

According to reports, Syria has advanced Russian radar installations that would have picked up less-stealthy military aircraft.

The F-22 can also fly higher and drop guided bombs from a greater distance away from its target than other fighters.  The WSJ says an F-22 can drop a 1,000-pound guided bomb from 15 miles away.

Each F-22 cost U.S. taxpayers about $377 million including production and development.

An older F-18 Super Hornet costs about $51 million per plane, while the newest fighter, the F-35, which will seemingly be shared with the world's air forces, costs about $135 million per unit, not counting development costs.

The most expensive plane? Probably the B-2 Spirit bomber. Twenty-one of the iconic, stealthy planes were built by Northrop Grumman at a unit cost of almost $800 million each. But, unlike the F-22, the B-2 has been used frequently since it became operational in the early 1990s.

Funding for the F-22 was killed by the U.S. Senate in 2009 after Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the air-superiority fighter was not well-suited for combat against enemies who didn't have modern planes (Iraq, Afghanistan).

Will the F-22 finally be worth what we paid for it? I have no idea. But I do know the next time a big military spending bill comes up, some politician is sure to remind us the next Russian or Chinese warplane requires us to spend even more.













Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 D.C. restaurant manager dies after being shot at Atlanta country club
  2. 2 Man fired after encounter with 'racist' customer. After sharing story,
  3. 3 Heart doctor for former President H.W. Bush killed in bicycle drive-by

More from AJC