What is the F-22 going to fight?

Aircraft Price Database

Here’s a simple little table that shows a wide range of military aircraft and their cost to produce. Obviously, there’s a lot more to getting a real price than just looking at a sticker in the canopy and this is certainly estimation, but it is still very useful. Check it out.

Also, I’m wondering again what possible use we have for the new F-22 Raptor. There’s no doubt that it’s an incredible machine, but what do we need it for? To be honest, what do we really need F-15s and F-14s for? We could fight and defeat, with our trained pilots and crews, anyone in the world right now with F-16s and F-18s. Probably, we could do it with F-4s, but we don’t want to take on TOO much of a handicap.

My point is that we shouldn’t be spending close to $200 million per copy on a fighter when a $20 million fighter would be just as effective and far cheaper to operate. And in some cases we’ll actually be LOSING effectiveness by upgrading to newer aircraft. For instance, the A-10 remains, BY FAR, our best close support aircraft. Ask anyone on the ground who they want covering their ass and they’ll tell you bring in the Warthogs. Just because the new Air Force commercial touts the Raptor as the F/A-22, meaning it’s a fighter/attack aircraft, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be anywhere close to as effective. How low is the line going to be for a $200 million dollar aircraft over the battlefield? Not low enough to see the whites of their eyes, I’m betting.

For what it’s worth, I think the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is probably going to have a far greater impact during the Fourth World War than the F-22 is going to. At less than half the price.


  1. I agree with you on this, the new F-22 is just not needed yet. What we have now is more than sufficient. ***

  2. That table says there were 370 Raptors ‘made’. Is this the projected number? How many have been produced? Have any been delivered? If we were to field only one squadron of them, would the small number of planes dramitically increase the per plane maintenance cost? I don’t know enough about Air Force costs and logistics to say, but if it doesn’t maybe that’s the answer. That way we can keep the technology in service, which could help us prepare for challenges we may face in fielding future aircraft. I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud. And I agree that the JSF is a much more worthwhile project, especially if you have to choose one OR the other. ***

  3. We are already quite far ahead of any other possible ‘peer’ opponent. There comes a point where we need to start emphasizing quantity over quality. Sure, the F22 is the best fighter ever. But, if we only have a few of them, they can be overwhelmed by large numbers of inferior fighters. This isn’t a problem in the middle east, but could be in, say, China. We should continue the research, continue to develop new fighters – we need to keep our edge – but we should only be buying large numbers of ‘good enough’ fighters like the F35. We also need to get some new bombers – not the stupendously expensive B2 (though we should definitely keep the ones we have) but rather something like the B747 idea – something with a large cargo capacity, proven reliability, relatively cheap, and easily adapted to military use. A bomber like that could be used in areas where we have gained air supremacy – or at higher altitudes or even outside the battlezone in areas where we haven’t. JSOWs would allow a plane like this to accurately engage targets from tens or even hundreds of miles away – safe from enemy weapons. We could get a whole wing of these for the price of a single B2. In general, we need to leverage the inventiveness and productivity of the private sector. ***