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American Fighter Jets II: The F-22 Raptor – Air Superiority, but is the niche too thin?

The substantially more functional F-22 is also incredibly expensive but has a deficit in close air-to-air combat against the advanced Russian fighter planes

Seraphim Hanisch

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When the United States started developing stealth aircraft, they were seen as the logical next step in combat equipment. Planes that couldn’t be detected on radar were seen to have the advantage of being able to attack without being spotted, and this advantage was apparently deemed so great that the other characteristics of air fighter superiority seemed to be abandoned – those of speed, agility, the ability to out-turn an opponent, and to duel in close-up dogfighting. In fact, the notion of what constituted “air superiority” itself was altered in the US view. The results were the F-35 (covered here), and the F-22, which at US $150 million per plane, is one of the most expensive combat aircraft ever created.

Recently, though, the Americans’ most advanced air-to-air fighter, the F-22, got within close distance of a Russian Su-35 and Su-25 jets in December, and according to Business Insider, was discovered to be at a disadvantage to these planes.

Disadvantages One and Two

The disadvantage is twofold. The first is psychological. The F-22 has all its weapons concealed within the body of the aircraft, to maintain radar invisibility. The Russian planes encountered have their loads of missiles and bombs in plain sight. So, there was no way for the Russian planes to know the F-22 was armed. Further, the intercept involved a maneuver called “head-butting” in military parlance, and this is a common occurrence presently in Syria, where the Russians and Americans have established “deconfliction” zones as a series of “do not cross” boundaries. Sometimes one side or the other crosses a line, and this brings about an intercept where the side in charge of the given area sends a plane to intercept the other’s. First there is a radio call asking the other pilot to be aware that they are in airspace they are not allowed to operate in, but then, the next move is for the intercept aircraft to show its weaponry as a reminder not to tempt fate.

The F-22 cannot do this. It can, and did, deploy flares and chaff to warn the Russian planes of their incursion. However, the F-22 pilots have noted in these incidents that were this to escalate into a dogfight, the F-22 pilots would have a problem with the up-close scenario. The F-35 can maneuver better in close situations, and as the most important maneuver in a dogfight is usually the ability to turn inside faster than the other plane can, the Russian fighter has an advantage.

The reports are disputed, but there are at least two incidents accounted for in which the Russian planes were successful in driving the F-22’s out of the areas they were in. Stealth capabilities are terrific for military action at a distance, but things are different when the pilots can actually see each other:

If a fight were to start during an intercept like the one [reported], the Russian pilot would start with the huge advantage of having the F-22 in sight. What’s more, the Russian Su-35 can actually maneuver better than the F-22.

Lt. Col. David “Chip” Berke, the only US Marine to fly both the F-22 and the F-35, previously told Business Insider that when flying the F-22, “my objective wouldn’t be to get in a turning fight” with an adversary. Instead, Berke said he would use the F-22’s natural advantages of stealth to avoid the dogfight.

The piece goes on to say that the F-22’s fate is not hopeless in such a situation; it is an enormously agile aircraft and has a good chance of surviving and winning the dogfight. But it does go into such a situation at a huge disadvantage because it relies so much on not being seen, that it may be a bit deficient in dealing with cases where it is actually spotted.

The F-22 is a marvelous piece of combat machinery, for sure. But the notion that good old-fashioned dogfighting is a thing of the past has been shown by the Syrian conflict to be false. Sometimes all the high-tech in the world doesn’t match the need for a good, tightly maneuverable airplane in order to be able to make it through a fight with an enemy.

The Third Disadvantage – the Price Tag

At $150 million a plane, this program was prohibitively expensive. It actually resulted in only 187 planes being built and deployed before the building phase of the F-22 program was stopped. The Su-35 is no cheap plane either, estimated around US $65 million, but even so, that is a 2-to-1 value for the money. The story of excessively expensive American fighter aircraft actually started with the development of the F-18 Hornet, which was intended to be relatively inexpensive like the very affordable F-16 Fighting Falcon ($14.8 million to $37 million for the V Variant in 2017). One of the criticisms about what creates this enormous cost is the manner in which contracts are awarded to manufacturers to design and build these weapons. The F-22, for example, is actually a consortium project with several major manufacturers participating:

Such a situation can lead to bureaucratic problems as the contracts go to several companies at once, rather than all design and development under one roof. The Russians appear to have this latter configuration, even though the Russian aircraft manufacturers are collectively organized into one “supercompany” the United Aircraft Corporation. This, plus the Russian government’s more direct control over these companies, helps to manage some aspect of costs. As an example the new Russian Su-57, the analogue to the F-22, is estimated to have a per-unit cost of between US $50 and $100 million. The Russians appear to be doing something right in this regard – the plane is by all accounts, superb, and the Russian military is able to produce such advanced weaponry at a much lower cost than their American counterparts.

While the American aircraft are indeed superb, one might propose the thought that centralizing the design and manufacturing process, as well as changing the way contracts are awarded to US companies for such aircraft, would be in order. It can be done. President Donald Trump, very early on – even before he was inaugurated, expressed sharp disdain for the excessive price of a new Boeing 747 modified to serve as Air Force one. The cost for the plane magically dropped, from US $5.3 billion to $3.9 billion for two such 747’s. Perhaps such dealing might trim a great deal of excess from the US military budget, which is already by far the highest in the world.

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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via Strategic Culture:


World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets. The French anthem – The Marseillaise – was played twice, once by an army brass band, the second time sung by an army choir. There was also a military plane flyover displaying the blue, red and white tricolor of the French national flag.

In his speech, Macron talked about soldiers coming from all over the world to “die for France” during the 1914-18 Great War. He even said at one point that the war was fought for “the vision of France” and its “universal values”.

This was fluent drivel, French-style. No wonder Russia’s Putin momentarily gave a look of boredom as Macron waxed lyrical.

The speechifying and commemoration was completely detached from current realities of conflict and international tensions.

Among the “brotherhood” whom Macron was appealing to were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose military forces continue to bomb and slaughter Palestinian civilians in illegally occupied territory. Also present was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko whose armed militias continue to terrorize the people of eastern Ukraine with the blatant objective of instigating a war between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia.

Listening to Macron one would think that World War I erupted mysteriously from no specific cause and that an estimated 10 million soldiers were all killed in heroic battles for noble principles.

There was, of course, no mention by Macron of imperialist warmongering and the barbaric sacrifice of humans as slaves in the service of national capitalist power interests.

Grotesquely, as the world leaders donned solemn faces and mouthed pious platitudes for peace, the whole occasion was a triumph in burying reality and the ongoing causes of wars, as well as whitewashing the very culprits responsible for wars. Among the war criminals wearing a mournful black suit was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who launched the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011.

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldn’t help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

Just this week, reports emerged of the horrific civilian death toll from the American air force bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city was razed to the ground by US air strikes last year – supposedly to defeat the ISIS terror group. Some 8,000 bodies of civilians, mainly women and children, have now been recovered by Syrian government forces. And that’s only from clearing away a tiny area of rubble for the whole city.

What the Americans did in Raqqa was a monumental war crime, all the more criminal because US forces, along with their NATO partners Britain and France, are illegally present in and assaulting sovereign Syrian territory.

As Macron was telling world leaders about “the vision of France”, hundreds were being killed in Yemen in a battle to strangle the entire population by taking the port city of Hodeida. The genocidal war on that country – which is putting up to 16 million people at risk from starvation – has been fully backed by France, the US and Britain, from their supply of warplanes and bombs to the Saudi and Emirati aggressive forces.

We could mention other specific conflicts where the culprits are clearly identified. For example, the multi-million-dollar support from Washington for the Azov Battalion and other Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, which openly emulate the genocidal conduct of Hitler’s Third Reich to exterminate ethnic Russians.

We could mention how US-led NATO forces continue to expand towards Russian territory with outrageous provocation. The mounting earlier this month of the biggest-ever NATO war drills since the Cold War in the Arctic region adjacent to Russia’s northern border was a brazen threat of rehearsing invasion. The announced tearing up of yet another nuclear arms control treaty unilaterally by Washington is a reckless undermining of global security.

Washington threatens China with naval forces marauding near Beijing’s maritime territory in the South China Sea. Washington blockades Iran with illegal economic warfare and openly agitates for regime change. Washington declares Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba a “troika of tyranny” and reserves the right to threaten each of these countries with military invasion at any time.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow between the warring parties of Afghanistan. It was seen as a major breakthrough in trying to bring peace to the Central Asia country which has been wracked by 17 years of violence since US forces began their ongoing military occupation – allegedly to defeat terrorism.

Elsewhere, Russia has engaged with Turkey, Germany and France to convene a summit for peaceful reconstruction of Syria. The latest summit held in Ankara at the end of last month follows several other such meetings in Astana and Sochi, largely at the behest of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to find a political settlement to the nearly eight-year war in Syria – a war that was fomented covertly by Washington and its allies for regime change.

France’s Macron talks about “multilateralism” for world peace, yet the two countries which have arguably supported and implemented multilateralism in practice are Russia and China in their calls and policies for global partnership and economic development.

And yet it is Russia and China that are being harassed with American and European sanctions, and US military provocations.

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous. We only have to look around the present world to realize that. But when the culprits indulge in a triumph of bullshit then we also know that the world is once again in very grave danger.

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Creepy Porn Lawyers’ disgusting assault on Tucker Carlson and his 19 year old daughter (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 14.

Alex Christoforou

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Days after ANTIFA targeted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s home, trying to intimidate and scare the TV host into curbing his free speech against totalitarian mob rule propagated by ANTIFA and their paymasters, it appears that the SJW establishment swamp is going after Tucker with everything they got…sending in the expendable, and always eager to get publicity, Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to try and ensnare Carlson in some sort of racist assault scandal.

The entire event appears to be a staged, purposefully hitting upon all the right identity politics buttons…so as to maximize full SJW pressure on Tucker and Fox News.

The Gateway Pundit reports that Tucker Carlson has denied Michael Avenatti’s charges of assault, and explains that his actions were prompted by an unhinged gay man calling his daughter a wh*re and a c**t…

Creepy porn star Michael Avenatti made headlines again this weekend with trumped up charges of assault against FOX News host Tucker Carlson.

On Saturday Avenatti released video of Tucker Carlson in an argument with a crowd of people at a country club in Virginia.

Avenatti claims Tucker assaulted a gay Latino immigrant for no reason.

Avenatti posted this video made the allegations on Saturday.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the SJW swamps’ latest attempt to smear Tucker Carlson, by going after his 19-year old daughter, in a disgusting display of misogyny and hate towards the very women that establishment liberal claims to defend.

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Here’s Carlson’s full statement about the incident:

“On October 13, I had dinner with two of my children and some family friends at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend. On their way back through the bar, a middle aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson. My daughter had never seen the man before. She answered: ‘That’s my dad,’ and pointed to me. The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ He then called her a ‘f—— c—.’

“My daughter returned to the table in tears. She soon left the table and the club. My son, who is also a student, went into the bar to confront the man. I followed. My son asked the man if he’d called his sister a ‘whore’ and a ‘cunt.’ The man admitted he had, and again become profane. My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did.

“Immediately after the incident, I described these events to the management of the Farmington Country Club. The club spent more than three weeks investigating the incident. Last week, they revoked the man’s membership and threw him out of the club.

“I love my children. It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do. I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger. But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son. That is a lie. Nor did I know the man was gay or Latino, not that it would have mattered. What happened on October 13 has nothing to do with identity politics. It was a grotesque violation of decency. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor: She’s Running Again in 2020

Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit…


Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Mark Penn is warning the public that we should brace ourselves for another run from the power hungry sore loser in 2020.

Penn co-wrote in a Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that she “won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies,” the op-ed that Penn authored with Andrew Stein claims. “She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

Like a cockroach that just won’t die, or the final boss in a video game that keeps obnoxiously coming back after each defeat — Clinton just won’t go away.

Penn said that by “reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination.”

“You can expect her to run for president once again,” he said. “Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.”

Last month, Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

Even some of her closest allies want her to give it a rest though.

“She’s more likely to win Powerball,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime adviser, told The Hill.

While nobody really wants to hear that woman’s voice ever again — at least the right can recycle all their best memes from 2016.

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