Air Force Times:
The arrival of the newest U.S. stealth fighter, the F-22A Raptor, in Okinawa for temporary deployment at the Kadena Air Base will likely be delayed due to a problem with the navigation system software, the Air Force said Tuesday.
The fighters were initially scheduled to arrive in Kadena on Saturday, but their arrival was delayed to Sunday due to bad weather. They then took off from Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii on Sunday but returned midway.
This seems sort of odd for a plane that’s been pretty much living up to the hype so far. But I guess that’s why you deploy: To see how things really work in the real world. And fix them before it’s crunch time.
The US Deputy Defence Secretary, Gordon England, has written to Defence Minister Brendan Nelson saying the US will not export the world’s most deadly warplane – the F-22 Raptor – to Australia.
The US statement ends a growing debate among defence experts about which plane should replace the RAAF’s ageing F-111 strike bombers and form the front line of the nation’s future air force.
It makes it virtually certain that Canberra will agree to formalise the acquisition of up to 100 F-35s when a final decision is due next year.
I feel a bit bad about not sharing the F-22 with one of our closest and most dependable allies. Japan had also been interested, and they’re likely to be a major linchpin in the overwatch on the DPRK. But, at this point in time, it’s probably best to keep the Raptors in the hand of our pilots only.