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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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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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Deep State poster boy Peter Strzok gives bizarre testimony that goes viral (Video)

The face of the Deep State.

Alex Christoforou

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If you were not convinced that the Deep State exists, then look no further than Peter Strzok’s bizarre, yet revealing, congressional testimony, showcasing the arrogance and smugness of a powerful FBI agent who worked diligently to push a fake Trump-Russia narrative onto the American public.

Via Zerohedge

While Peter Strzok’s marathon Congressional testimony was full of bickering, chaos and drama – mostly between members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees – a clip of the disgraced FBI agent’s seemingly giddy reaction after answering a question is creeping people out.

Some have suggested that Strzok’s reaction was “Duper’s delight” – a hidden smirk that slips out at an inappropriate moment when a liar celebrates a successful manipulation.

Watching Peter Strzok, its hard, if not impossible to believe that this man is not a psychopath, who hated Trump so much that he was willing to forward a collusion story that has cost American taxpayers millions, and torn American society apart.

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The video clip even had Donald Trump Jr retweeting it, as he labeled Strzok “the creepiest person in America.”

Via RT

One particular moment from Peter Strzok’s raucous congressional hearing left Twitter users confounded and disturbed, even prompting Donald Trump Jr to label the FBI agent “the creepiest person in America.”

Strzok faced the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Thursday to answer questions about his conduct during the 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The lengthy hearing quickly descended into a partisan shouting match, as Republicans and Democrats interrupted each other’s questions, heckling or applauding Strzok.

Strzok’s peculiar reaction to one question caught the eye of viewers and many took to Twitter to confirm that their eyes weren’t deceiving them.

Strzok’s facial expressions were also noticed by the congressmen in the room and prompted one of the most dramatic moments of the hearing when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) accused Strzok of outright lying.

“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk; how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert told Strzok, referring to the agent’s extramarital affair with his former colleague Lisa Page, with whom he exchanged anti-Trump text messages. Gohmert’s comment sparked vociferous objections from Democrats.

The hearing evoked a significant reaction, with many describing it as a farce. Former New York mayor and current attorney to US President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, labelled it a “disgrace” and said it “taints the entire Mueller witch hunt.”

“President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. All the results of the investigation are ‘fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed,” he added.

Democrats seemed to agree with that sentiment, as California Congressman Ted Lieu said it was “a stupid and ridiculous hearing.”

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