Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Ockham's Raptor

In the world of conflict - be careful wanting to be the one saying, "FIRST!" Unless you are read in - good chance you'll find out when everyone else does; and if you are read in - keep it to yourself. 

All sorts of silly things have come up as of late as people demonstrate that if you look hard enough, and listen hard enough, you will see and hear what you seek, even if it isn't there. 

A few weeks ago it was the ENTERPRISE-Neo-Gulf-of-Tonkin foolishness. I don't usually comment on those things for the same reason I don't comment on alien abduction. 

Well, you've see a fair bit break out from the ambient noise about F-22 deployments, it is even on Drudge this AM - so let me say this; WRT to the F-22 & Iran ... take a powder people. I'll let TheAviationist do my dirty work for me;
The six F-22 Raptors currently at Al Dhafra, UAE, belong to the 49th Fighter Wing, based at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. They flew as “Mazda 91″ to Moron, Spain, on Apr. 17 and departed again for their final destination on Apr. 20. Since they spent some 4 days in Spain, during their stay, the stealthy planes were photographed by several local spotters that were able to provide the exact list of all the examples involved in the deployment: #04-4078, #04-4081, #05-4093, #05-4094, #05-4098, #05-4099.
If they were not willing to let the world know of such deployment they would not make a stopover in Spain, during daylight. They are all Block 3.0 (or Block 30) examples meaning that neither of them has received the latest upgrade (Block 3.1) that has brought the capability to find and engage ground targets using the Synthetic Aperture Radar mapping and eight GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs) to the troubled stealthy fighter.
Therefore they are hardly involved in any build-up process in the region, since their role in case of war on Iran would be limited to the air-to-air arena: mainly fighter sweep (missions with the aim to seek out and destroy enemy aircraft prior to the arrival of the strike package), HVAA (High Value Air Asset) escort and DCA (Defensive Counter Air).
Considered the limited effectiveness of the Iranian Air Force, it is much more likely that the F-22s involved in any kind of attack on Iran would be those of the 3rd Fighter Wing, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, in Alaska, that was the first U.S. Air Force unit to receive the Block 3.1 planes and has already started training in the air-to-surface role.
... and my favorite for people who don't pay attention;
Furthermore, the deployment is among those scheduled several month in advance and this is not the first time the F-22 deploys in the United Arab Emirates. In November 2009, some 1st Fighter Wing’s Raptors from Langley AFB, flew to Al Dhafra, to train with the French Air Force Rafales and the RAF Typhoons during exercise ATLC 2009.
There you go.

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