Flying High

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Gen. John Jumper says the Pentagon's proposal to cut 180 Raptors from production was not based on any Air Force analysis. He said there's nothing wrong with the technology of the F/A-22. In fact, it's the only aircraft that is better than anything like it in the world.

"I don't think anybody is arguing the capability. Anyone who is arguing about the capability doesn't understand the threat we face out there for the next 30 years."

Gen. Jumper says it's now his job to fight for the Raptor program and possibly save them from the proposed cutbacks. Since Tyndall is the home base for training pilots on the Raptor, he says it's too early to know the effect the cuts would bring.

"The decision that was made was a budget decision. Pure and simple, a budget decision."

Tyndall is about to take delivery of another five Raptors which will complete the 43rd Fighter Squadron, but if the budget cuts go through, the base probably won't get a second squadron of 23 jets.

Tyndall's 18 Raptors on-site cost about $160 million apiece according to the director of operations for the 325th Fighter Wing.

Gen. Jumper says the cost is worth the product and it's not the first time the jet has faced cuts.

"So what we're looking for is to go through that same drill that we've done several times before with success and look for it to be successful again."

It’s success that can be measured at two times the speed of sound.