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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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wobbly
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wobbly

what happened to disqus?

wobbly
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wobbly

So F35’s are grounded for ‘jet fuel issues’ Israel grounded all its planes for ‘engine malfunction’ Belgium shot up two planes the other week now this. Who else gets the feeling its just BS to cover the fact they are not attacking Syria now

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

“It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars”.

A marble what? Staircase?

The F-22 may be “undetectable” to NATO radars, but I don’t believe that holds for Russian radars.

FlorianGeyer
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FlorianGeyer

I think the writer meant the ‘Elgin Marbles ‘ in the British Museum Tom 🙂

craig watson
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Corruption in congress and Pentagon is the reason the USA has been defeated by Russia and China in the arms race. Congress members are paid off to approve this b.s., and Pentagon pockets privately $billions. In fact, it is the F-35 junk that will cause the defeat of the USA in any conventional war with Russia or China. Read “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” to understand how and why corruption has militarily defeated the USA, and how the F-35 will contribute to the loss. The congress and Pentagon are traitors who’ve gutted the USA’s military defense with their greed instead of patriotism.… Read more »

wobbly
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wobbly

I agree, USA starting to look like the Emperor with no clothes

Smokingeagle
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Smokingeagle

“Starting”? The Emperor’s growing nakedness has been apparent for some time.

Guy
Member
Guy

Thanks for the link.Talk about poor accountability or rather fraud .

Guy
Member
Guy

Are the F-22 air crafts a match or better than the SU-35s ?The article states best in the world or is that just from the American point of view.

Bob Valdez
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Bob Valdez

The yanks think everything they “make” is the “best in the world”.

wiggins
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wiggins

Maybe these expensive planes ended up in Israel and the hurricane is just a cover…

JPH
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JPH

Of the 187 build only 120-130 serve with operational squadrons. So percentage wise the damage is worse.

FlorianGeyer
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FlorianGeyer

This has to be the funniest news story of the week.
Exceptional US stupidity as its best 🙂

Clem Kadidlehopper
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Clem Kadidlehopper

US Military isn’t necessarily known for wisdom. In the day’s vernacular. Stupid! Wow. With people like that its no wonder the United States hasn’t won a war since WWII.

Max Glazer
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Max Glazer

When the plane is in a process of maintenance, it’s impossible to fly. F-22 is succeptible to all the same maintenance issues as any other plane, including part shortages.

The only thing that could have protected those F-22s are combat shelters, but USA never really bothered with them.

Jorge B
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Jorge B

Are you sure this hurricane event wasn’t used as a ‘cover-up’ to gift Israel 20 planes that in theory might counter the new SS300 stationed in Syria??

RJSull
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RJSull

Duran homepage image is from Houston airport flood, not Florida.

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