|Quoting NightHawk117 (Reply 20):|
I think Maj Ireton's argument to keep the F-117A is the best I have seen. I just wish the AF (and Congress) would listen.
Nearly every aircraft retirement has been fought by somebody with some clout, and the opposition is the loudest when there is no direct replacement. It is for the same reason programs within governments and (to a lesser degree) major corporations are so dang hard to kill. It is because people are generally afraid of change, and have interests to protect. The fact that the SR
-71 went out without a whimper from anyone was very unusual, this is often seen as evidence that some classified replacement("Aurora") exists.
There are systems nowdays that can make a go at tracking stealth aircraft, usually by having multiple radar transmitters and recievers at seperate locations. These radars then combine and analyse their data using sophisticated computer programs. This does NOT make stealth obsolete since these systems are pricy, rare, and not foolproof. It does mean that the days that stealth ALONE can insure penetration of a sophisticated air defense system are almost over. The F-22, B2
and stand-off weapons provide the additional capabilities needed.
As for guns guided by eyeball - there isn't really much we can do about that. There will always be some losses from massed gunfire. But a well-planned air attack minimizes exposure to such opposition, and keeps losses at an acceptible level. The level of losses from ground gunfire is almost always going to be low enough to be only a political concern. The political risk is there since there will always be some people in the media who expect that no war should have ANY air losses. The only time groundfire causes heavy losses to an competent modern airforce is when that air force is engaged in close support of ground forces for long periods of time.