Re: Phabulous Phantoms with serious pucker factor!
At the time the RAAF (really those penny pinching, short sighted bastards who use up far too much oxygen down at the Treasury) decided the F-15 was going to be to costly, to complex, to big, to maintenance intensive and more likely than not, have a short production life.
Well they got it a bit wrong, didn't they.
Three decades after it first flew, it's still in production, still has awsome capability, is still at the top of the tree (and will remain there until the F22 enters service) and the cost per unit is way way down. In fact it's so attractive an option, it's been touted as an intrem replacement (Leasing arrangment with Boeing.... It won't happen) for the F/A18.
And what's happening now?
Exactly the same thing. The Hornets need replacing within the next decade and yet again the RAAF looks like it's going to have to put up with second best. The F-35 is being proposed as the RAAF's next generation fighter and it'll be tasked to fulfill a multitude of different rolls. Unfortunately, it's performance in some areas will be lacking, for the simple fact that the physical size of the airframe will be to small to competently carry out some of the tasking required of it. If you need a heavy load of ordanance delivered on some poor souls front doorstep, don't bother calling up the F-35. You'll need something bigger with two engines to deliver the appropriate sized package.
The F-22 will be the F-15 of the 21st century and that's what the RAAF needs. It's going to be such an incredibly competent aircraft, that it will set the standard for decades to come. No other country on the planet has the funds available to develop a competitor, so it will have a long production life, just like the F-15.
Any fudge-puncher that comes a lookin' and likes what we've got here, needs to have it clear in their mind, that if they come back for an extended tour of the local real-estate, one of the last things that goes through there mind is the 30mm shell from the multi-barrel rotating canon, not to mention the brace of AAM's that follow right along behind.
Talk softly, but carry a big stick (Truman).
Don't give the pricks a second chance!