Warplanes: February 26, 2000


The Air Force admits that it has done a poor job of explaining the differences between the Joint Strike Fighter and the F-22 Raptor to Congress, which continues to question why the US needs both of these expensive aircraft. The Air Force notes that the JSF has lower performance, a less capable radar, and a larger radar signature than the F-22, but that bringing the JSF up to F-22 standards would double its price. The JSF is also better able to operate at lower altitudes and carries more bombs. The JSF's radar is capable of both air-to-air and air-to-ground targeting; the F-22's radar cannot really track ground targets but is vastly superior for air-to-air work. For either plane to do the other's job, it would have to radically increase in price or give up much of its specialized advantages. --Stephen V Cole


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