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Air Force Foresaw Fatal F-22 Problems; Rejected $100,000 Fix As Too Expensive 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the ounce-of-prevention dept.
McGruber writes "The Associated Press is reporting that years before F-22 stealth fighter pilots began getting dizzy in the cockpit, before one struggled to breathe as he tried to pull out of a fatal crash, before two more went on the '60 Minutes' television program to say the plane was so unsafe they refused to fly it, a small working group of U.S. Air Force experts knew something was wrong with the prized stealth fighter jet. This working group, called RAW-G, was created in 2002 at the suggestion of Daniel Wyman, then a flight surgeon at Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base, where the first F-22 squadron was being deployed. Wyman is now a brigadier general and the Air Combat Command surgeon general. RAW-G proposed a range of solutions by 2005, including adjustments to the flow of oxygen into pilot's masks. But that key recommendation was rejected by military officials reluctant to add costs to a program that was already well over budget. Kevin Divers, a former Air Force physiologist who led RAW-G until he left the service in 2007, believes the cost of adjusting the oxygen flow would have added about $100,000 to the cost of each $190 million aircraft."
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Air Force Foresaw Fatal F-22 Problems; Rejected $100,000 Fix As Too Expensive

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  • by bhcompy (1877290) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:13PM (#41492171)
    I doubt it. I think you're looking more at what we saw in Stealth. Unmanned fullsized fighter jets with advanced AI with the potential to house a man if desired. Unmanned drones aren't going to dogfight, and there still is a ton of need for more than an unmanned drone can provide, particularly since there are still uses for close combat air support vehicles like helicopters, A-10s, etc.
  • Not so fast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rillopy (650792) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:21PM (#41492303)
    If you read past page 1, what RAW-G warned about isn't even quite what had been happening recently:

    "The link between oxygen saturation at lower altitudes and the recent spate of hypoxia-like incidents at high altitudes remains a matter of debate, and it is likely that there are other contributing factors."

    But don't let that get in the way of headlines.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:31PM (#41492427)

    Dogfight? Dogfights are passe. A drone knocks out the other guy 100 miles out and if it doesn't, who gives a shit. Drones are relatively cheap - especially compared to the F-22.

    Close combat with a drone? It's already here.

    Let's face it, drones are a cheaper and safer alternative and they're getting better every day.

    And planes like the F-22 have a serious defect: they are worthless against wave after after wave after wave of cheap planes. The F-22 would run out of bullets and missiles and while it's running away to get more, it'll get it's ass shot off or it's base blown to smithereens - LOTS of dead people.

    And don't get me started on the disappointment of the F-35. Our current line up of planes are fine for current needs and we just need to replace our Air Force with all drones.

    Our air force is not ready for future conflicts - we are still in this Cold War mentality. And if there is another big conflict, I'm afraid we will have a very rude awakening.

  • by dywolf (2673597) on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:07PM (#41492991)

    Dogfight? Dogfights are passe. A drone knocks out the other guy 100 miles out and if it doesn't, who gives a shit. Drones are relatively cheap - especially compared to the F-22.

    They said the same thing about missles. And it was just as wrong then int eh 50's and 60's as it is now.
    Vietnam proved them wrong, and all of a sudden the replacements to the F4 needed to have dogfight capability.

    Close combat with a drone? It's already here.

    No, it's not.

    Let's face it, drones are a cheaper and safer alternative and they're getting better every day.

    They are also more limited, and less capable.

    And planes like the F-22 have a serious defect: they are worthless against wave after after wave after wave of cheap planes. The F-22 would run out of bullets and missiles and while it's running away to get more, it'll get it's ass shot off or it's base blown to smithereens - LOTS of dead people.

    Wave after wave doesn't happen. As it stands the F22 was designed to meet the goal of taking on 16 - 1 odds and winning, a requirement that was seen as unlikely already because the worst case plausible scenario is 8 to 1, with 4 - 1 being the most likely scenario. Combat flights never fly alone to start with, always in at least pairs, if not 4 together.

    Simply put, your claim of "wave after wave" is a fine hypothetical, but simply does not exist in the real world. A combat flight of 4 F22 has the theoretical max capability to take on 72 enemy aircraft. That's 6 squadrons worth. An entire deployed F22 squadron of 12 planes could take on 192 enemy aircraft. the F22, by being stealth, is essentially the Rogue class of air dominance: it is better able to dictate the terms of the fight, striking more targets from a longer distance without warning than any potential enemy aircraft is capable of.

    And it would get its ass shot off should it turn to run? How? You forget that the F22 is stealth? That its faster than any credible threat? It's countermeasures are second to none? That it is engaging the inital targets from farther away than they can? In order to shoot its ass off, you have to be close enough to do so, and able to get a target. The whole point is the F22 denies both possibilities. Even if the F22 ere surprised and forced into a close in dogfight if the chance should come to disengage it could clear the area much quicker than any enemy aircraft.

    And don't get me started on the disappointment of the F-35. Our current line up of planes are fine for current needs and we just need to replace our Air Force with all drones.

    Our air force is not ready for future conflicts - we are still in this Cold War mentality. And if there is another big conflict, I'm afraid we will have a very rude awakening.

    The F35 is not designed for air dominance. It could perform such a role, by virtue of being more capable than most enemy combatants, but it's meant to be a multi-prupose, jack of all trades. The F22 is designed for one thing and one thng only: denying the enemy control of airspace. If you honestly think the current line up is fine, and the drones can do all, you're just another armchair quarterback second guessing the refs who've been doing it for years.

    Plus its illogical to state that ouor current line up is fine, and then next say our air force is not ready....you cannot have it both ways. They are mutually exclusive statements.

    Your entire post is 100% clueless.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:16PM (#41496249)

    That depends. On one hand, the computer systems will be exceptionally complex. On the other hand cockpit and all life support systems can be eliminated, control systems can be decentralized and aircraft itself doesn't have to limit itself to human tolerance levels by design. You could build something like eurofighter that could actually push the limits of the air frame in terms of maneuverability.

    So yes, in some terms it would be more complex (command and control computers). In others, it could be much less complex (command and control systems, life support). It's a bit of a mixed bag.

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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