Michael McBride

In a mere three months, the Obama Administration has accomplished what I understand is an almost impossible feat; they have actually shot down the F-22.

A few months ago, through the retired, underground, former-Marine-Officer network I was sent a description of an encounter between seven F/A-18s and a single F-22. And while exaggeration and lore have always been a part of the fighter mystique, in this case the descriptions of the actual engagements were credible when compared to what I know to be the classified operational capabilities of the aircraft.

Without risking a stint in the Federal prison system with some angelic cell mate named “Bubba,” suffice it to say the F-22 made the Hornets look like a bunch of irritating mosquitoes on a hot Michigan summer night. It was pretty clear that the Hornets were unable to reliably target the F-22, while the Raptor was able to methodically drop the F/A-18s like a can of extra-strength Raid on steroids.

As a former crew member of F/A-18Ds, I was a little perturbed that these lousy Hornet drivers couldn’t at least sneak in a Rammer (AMRAAM) shot on this guy, and shut up all the hype. But apparently it proved impossible. And, even though the F-22 is unfortunately an Air Force asset and cross-service compliments are hard to come by, appears the Air Force has something here. Sorry…had something.

Until The Best and The Brightest re-mix, EP edition.

Bear with me for a mild excursion.

My last job in the Corps was as a requirements analyst for CINCPACFLT in Pearl Harbor, HI. I know…tough duty. I was responsible for budgetary positions on all things Marine, all things tactical fixed-wing aviation, and for all things that fell off, or were launched off airplanes and went boom, a.k.a. air delivered ordnance.

As such, I was given an opportunity by the State Department to comment on a proposed sale of F-16s to the government of Thailand. As is typical, attached to the deal was the sale of the aforementioned Rammer to the Thais. The deal hinged on the sale of the AMRAAM because the Thais were anxious to get a Gen 4 fighter with a launch and leave capability. The Air Force (all services for that matter) usually get something out of these deals…such as avionics upgrades, service life extension programs (SLEPs), or some other upgrades paid for by the purchasing country, suffice it to say, the Air Force was pushing for the sale.

Michael McBride

Michael E. McBride retired as a Major from the Marine Corps and blogs at http://www.mysandmen.blogspot.com.

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