Monday, May 07, 2012

Here's What The F-35 is Really About. Canada's First, First-Strike Air Force

It's about one thing - a sneak attack against China.  And that's just what the United States Air Force had in mind when it conducted Operation Chimichanga.  Wired magazine's military correspondents David Axe and Noah Shachtman described what is on American military planners' minds.

"The first sign of the coming U.S. air raid was when the enemy radar and air-defense missile sites began exploding. The strikers were Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, flying unseen and faster than the speed of sound, 50,000 feet over the battlefield. Having emptied their weapons bays of super-accurate, 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs, the Raptors turned to engage enemy jet fighters rising in defense of their battered allies on the ground.

"That’s when all hell broke loose. As the Raptors smashed the enemy jets with Amraam and Sidewinder missiles, nimble Air Force F-16s swooped in to reinforce the F-22s, launching their own air-to-air missiles and firing guns to add to the aerial carnage.

"With enemy defenses collapsing, B-1 bombers struck. Several of the 150-ton, swing-wing warplanes, having flown 10 hours from their base in South Dakota, launched radar-evading Jassm cruise missiles that slammed into ground targets, pulverizing them with their 2,000-pound warheads. Its weapons expended, the strike force streaked away. Behind it, the enemy’s planes and ground forces lay in smoking ruin.

"The devastating air strike on April 4 involved real warplanes launching a mix of real and computer-simulated weapons at mock targets scattered across the U.S. military’s vast Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex near Fort Yukon, a tiny former fur trading post, population 583. “Operation Chimichanga,” as the exercise was reportedly designated, was the first-ever test of a new Air Force long-range strike team combining upgraded Lockheed Martin F-22s and Boeing B-1s carrying the latest air-launched munitions, along with old-school fighters, tankers and radar planes for support.

"China is steadily improving its air defenses. To make sure the bombers can get through, the Air Force plans to send fully-stealthy warplanes in first. The Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bomber is the ideal trailblazer, as it proved over Libya when three B-2s knocked out the bulk of Libya’s radars, missiles and airfields in a single pass. But the Air Force possesses just 20 B-2s, only a handful of which are combat-ready at any moment.

"So the F-22 fills in. With the latest Increment 3.1 upgrade, the F-22s can lob 250-pound, Boeing-built Small Diameter Bombs at least 60 miles with pinpoint accuracy, a capability apparently tested out during Operation Chimichanga. The Raptor-bomb combo “was critical to follow-on forces completing their missions,” F-22 commander Kunkel said.

"But even the F-22 is in short supply. So far only one Alaska-based squadron has the Increment 3.1 Raptors. When the upgrade is complete, around 150 F-22s will be able to carry the tiny, precise bomb — still a relatively small force for taking on potentially thousands of Chinese radars, missiles and jet fighters. The smaller F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to give the Air Force stealth capability in large numbers, but the F-35 is tens of billions of dollars over-budget and five years behind schedule."

Axe and Shachtman are right, you can't wage much of an air war on China with just 150 F-22s.  That's a job that's going to require many hundreds, perhaps even thousands of F-35s.   That's what the F-35 is, a stealth light bomber, a purely offensive, first-strike weapon.   Air defence of Canada?  C'mon, please.   There's nothing remotely defensive about the F-35.   For the first time in our country's history we're going to be left with a purely offensive, first-strike air force.  Maybe that doesn't bother you but it should for it says much about the path of Canada's foreign policy into the next thirty years.


kootcoot said...

Good luck Nato-istic warmongers with China. I think that has been tried before, with little success and let's face it, you guys have a hard enough time with say Afghanistan or Vietnam. Vietnam has a better chance of kicking China's ass than the western warmongers. Besides, what about the poor Foxconn slave labor camp, where would we get our IPhones then?

Anonymous said...

The Prime Minister's Chief of Staff has links to both Lockheed and Beechcraft. Wright was an executive with private equity firm Onex Corp., and dealt specifically with the aerospace industry. Onex manages capital for Hawker Beechcraft, a firm that has partnered on projects with F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Anonymous said...

Why would we attack China? We're practically selling the country to them.