KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center recently completed the F-22A Raptor Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation and has rated the Air Force’s newest fighter as mission capable in the air-to-ground role.
This “Mission Capable” rating is part of AFOTEC’s newly developed system now being applied to programs under test at AFOTEC. The new rating methodology starts with traditional effectiveness and suitability measures as a foundation for determining potential operational impacts on mission accomplishment in the expected operational environment. This new methodology was developed by AFOTEC in an effort to provide warfighters and senior Air Force leaders with capability-based evaluations that are accurate, balanced, and more operationally focused.
The capabilities evaluated during the operational test included the areas of deployability, sortie generation, and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) employment. [emphasis Murdoc’s]
As has been discussed to no end, the role of the F-22 in the current War on TerrorTM is rather limited. But there are a few spots where it might come in handy. Any ideas?
The test also evaluated deferred Initial Operational Test and Evaluation items that were corrected and informed Air Combat Command’s Initial Operational Capability declaration.
“This was a significant milestone in terms of validating the F-22A’s combat capability,” said Major General Robin Scott, AFOTEC commander. “We are confident we have provided Air Combat Command and senior Air Force leaders with an accurate and complete picture not only of the Raptor’s impressive operational capabilities but also where additional resources can be focused to further mature and sustain this 21st Century fighter.”
According to Col Matthew Black, AFOTEC’s Detachment 6 commander at Nellis AFB, Nev., that conducted the FOT&E, “It was the outstanding teamwork between AFOTEC and ACC testers that enabled us to conduct the most complex operational test ever on a tactical aircraft.”
They’re ready if needed.
Plus, it recently occurred to me that, since we’re going to be retiring them early, if it might not make sense to give/sell our slightly used F-117s to Israel. There’s much speculation that a first strike on ol’ Persia might be flown by the Israelis, but they’d be doing it with F-15s and F-16s if it’s going to be made with planes. A few more-stealthy attack birds in their inventory might be in our best interest.
The same goes for the Brits and Australia. I realize that there’s a lot of downside regarding training and maintenance and the potential for security leaks concerning our old stealth technology, but given the fact that we’re way ahead of that these days, stealth-capable allies might be nice to have. Or is the expense too great? The risk of the technology falling into the wrong hands? Thoughts?