Fared Better Than the F-22 Raptor, The F-16 Won't Be Retired US Air Force Anytime Soon

Fared Better Than the F-22 Raptor, The F-16 Won't Be Retired US Air Force Anytime Soon
The F-22 Raptor and two F-16s fly together

International Military - F-22 Raptor is the finest masterpiece of the United States. The F-22 fighter jet became the world's first fifth-generation fighter jet. Starting research and development in the early 1990s, the US finally introduced the F-22 Raptor to the public in 2005. But due to internal US military and economic problems, production of the F-22 Raptor had to be stopped, quoted from the Eurasian Times.

The very high price and also the technology in it which is very sensitive makes the US Congress not allow this fighter jet to be sold. The US Congress fears that the ultra-high technology will fall into enemy hands.

Because it cannot be sold, Lockheed Martin as an aircraft maker cannot use “economies of scale” to lower the price per unit. In fact, the journey of the F-22 Raptor is not long.

The US Air Force or USAF assesses the Raptor's technology and capabilities as irrelevant in the next decade. If you want to keep the F-22 relevant to modern combat, at least for the next eight years. The USAF had to spend 1.8 billion dollars.

Citing Defense View, the USAF wants to retire 33 Raptors. The money that should be used to maintain these aircraft can be diverted to the Next Generation Air Dominance or NGAD program.

NGAD itself is a sixth generation fighter jet development program to replace the role of the F-22 Raptor. As for some reasons why Raptor should be retired

According to Lieutenant General Clinton Hinote, this fighter jet has limitations in terms of the number and variety of missions, quoted from Defense News.

"The Raptor has a relatively short cruising range, only 1,850 nautical miles with two external fuel tanks and small armament," said Hinote.

Even his defensive abilities were questioned. Considering that many countries currently have advanced air defense systems and are able to compete with stealth combat platforms.

Hinote added, this stealth fighter jet also leads to very high maintenance costs. The hourly operating cost of the F-22 Raptor is close to $70,000. And for maintenance costs, each Raptor costs 150 million dollars to keep it “alive”, Military Machine reports.

Lockheed Martin says, if you want to keep the F-22 in the air until 2040, it will cost around $60 billion.

Unlike the F-16, the F-16 Viper itself is a fourth-generation fighter jet that has flown since 1979. But the USAF still wants to operate it into the 2040s, with some improvements.

"We anticipate hundreds of F-16s in active service for decades to come," the USAF told Airforce Magazine.

What's more, the F-16 has received the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), or life extension program. So that initially the F-16 only had a service life of 8,000 hours, now it has 12,000 flight hours.

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