Information Warfare: Going After the F-22

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November 15, 2007: The U.S. Air Force's F-22 can't catch a break from the media. But that's to be expected with any new aircraft. As was discovered during the two World Wars, having the latest aircraft designs is one of the keys to controlling the air. The other component is pilot training, but that never caught as much media attention as the quirks of new aircraft. The main problem with building the most advanced fighters is that some of the technology employed will have no track record. In other words, stuff so new that the probabilities of what will fail when are murky. Engineers call it, only half in jest, "the bleeding edge." The designers, and operators, of such aircraft accept the risks, believing them worthwhile if the new aircraft provides you with a decisive edge in combat. But few journalists are engineers, or historians for that matter. Anyone with an engineering background would understand the unpredictability of new technology. A historian would know that what's happening to the F-22 has happened to most new aircraft designs. But that enlightenment makes for dull journalism, and dull journalism gets reporters fired. So it's a wise career move to spin technical problems in the F-22 as examples of poor design and incompetence.

 


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