Dec 8, 2013
Former U.S Air Force chief of staff calls for more F-22s for the service.
Retired USAF Chief of Staff Michael Moseley said he still believes that ending F-22 production was a catastrophic mistake that has crippled the US and allies' deterrence posture.
The US Department of Defense announced the decision to end F-22 production at 187 aircraft after Gen Moseley left office, in April 2009.
Gen Moseley and former USAF Secretary Michael Wynne - who was also asked to resign - had argued that a total of 381 fighters were needed to maintain 'air dominance' over hostile territory.
Speaking on 5 December, Gen Moseley said he had no regrets about his vocal advocacy, and, if anything, said he wished he had fought harder.
He noted that before he left the USAF, the unit price of the F-22 was poised to fall under a new multi-year contract that.
While the F-35A has been designed as a multi-role fighter with a greater emphasis on air-to-ground roles, the F-22 is mainly viewed as an air superiority fighter, using long-range radar, missiles, and an internal gun to enter hostile airspace to destroy enemy fighters. Although the USAF does have a long-term plan for increasing the F-22's air-to-ground capabilities.
The USAF faced major pressure from former Secretary of Defense Gates, who questioned the F-22's utility in the benign airspace over Afghanistan and Iraq.
Some speculated that Secretary Gates never employed the F-22 in those theatres simply to make a point about the stealth fighter's limited air-to-ground capabilities in a counterinsurgency campaign. Some USAF officials, however, have noted that while the F-22 is optimised for air superiority, it is in fact a multi-role fighter and there is a roadmap to increase its air-to-ground capability.