In a rather craven and partisan manner, the Senate has voted to kill funding for F22 funding in the new Defense budget:

The Senate on Tuesday voted to strip $1.75 billion on seven additional F-22 jets that President Obama said was unnecessary and would doom a $680 bill authorizing defense spending plans for the coming fiscal year.
The 58-40 vote prevents Obama from carrying out a threat to use the first veto of his presidency if senators had kept the designation in the defense bill.

…According to Lockheed Martin Corp., the main contractor, 25,000 people are directly employed in building the plane, and another 70,000 have indirect links, particularly in Georgia, Texas and California. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., a supporter of the program, said there are 1,000 suppliers in 44 states.

Dodd, speaking on the Senate floor last week, questioned why Congress should approve $65 billion to prop up the automobile industry but can’t spend $1.75 billion to support an important segment of the aerospace industry.

The claim from Obama is that we don’t really need the F22s because they are not particularly useful in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The fatal flaw in this kind of thinking is that who knows what the future will bring? Imagine a future war in China, without the F22s we would be totally screwed. The F16s are not going to last forever, they have already been in service for a long time. The F22s were to be the new air superiority assurance against any country that get the wrong idea. Imagine if we got in a war with Iran or any country with a real air force (Iraq had none to speak of). Having air superiority is of the utmost importance. It makes up for the fact that our ground troops don’t have to match the size of a country like Iran or China. We can hurt them really bad with minimal risk on our own part by bombing the living crap out of them. We have already spent billions of R&D and pre-production for the F22, we might as well just purchase them now while they are at their cheapest.

Read the Air Force’s response to killing the F22 funding here and here. They sure think its important.

Watch the F22 in action and tell me it’s not needed.

F22 – Video