The Air Superiority Fighter and Defense Transformation
Why DOD Requirements Demand the F/A-22 Raptor
Col Cate tackles the question of whether an air superiority fighter is relevant to warfare in the twenty-first century. Critics of the F/A-22, the US Air Force’s next generation air superiority fighter, have identified it as a cold war relic—unjustifiably expensive and out of step with the Department of Defense (DOD) transformation. Colonel Cate argues that the six operational goals of the DOD transformation, as defined in the Quadrennial Defense Review Report (QDR) of 2001, actually demand a highly capable air superiority fighter. He shows how achieving these transformational operational goals requires performance of the four offensive counterair functions of surface attack, fighter sweep, escort, and suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), as well as defensive counterair. He demonstrates that only an air superiority fighter can efficiently and effectively atisfy all these functions.
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