Russia is Wearing Out America’s High Maintenance F-22s by Loitering Bombers Around Alaska

Turboprop Tu-95s first flew in 1952

The U.S. Air Force’s most capable fighter in air to air combat, the F-22 Raptor, has seen a high concentration of deployments to Alaska with a full one seventh of all F-22s stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in the country’s northernmost state.

The reason for such deployments has been the territory’s very close proximity to Russia, leaving bases in Alaska on the frontlines in any potential clash between the two powers and in a theatre where the U.S. will have relatively little NATO support.

While the F-22 is considered an elite fighter, and one which is fielded in relatively few numbers with only 187 serial production variants ever produced, the aircraft’s very high maintenance requirements and operational costs make fielding it and maintaining availability rates above even 50% very taxing for the U.S. Air Force.

Amid heightened tensions with Russia, the Russian Air Force’s operations near Alaska appear to be intended to maximise the strain on the Raptor fleet at a relatively low cost to Russia itself – an issue America officers have lamented. 

Speaking from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Lieutenant General David Krumm emphasised in March that there was a significant increase in Russian activity near Alaska, with Russian incursions into the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone being conducted at the highest rates since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

He highlighted that operating F-22s to intercept Russian aircraft was costly, and that there was “a strain on our units” from Russian activities. On March 31, the North American Aerospace Defense Command reported that not only were Russian incursions increasing, but that Russian aircraft were loitering in the identification zone for hours at a time.

As the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone was International airspace, Russian aircraft could legally maintain a continuous presence in it – but the U.S. need to intercept such aircraft and its reliance on F-22s to do so imposed significant costs.

Russian aircraft such as the Tu-95 bomber, by contrast, had low operational costs, were ideal for loitering for long periods, and could not not be ignored due to their ability to deploy radar evading nuclear tipped cruise missiles in significant numbers. The cost of keeping maintenance-intensive F-22s in the air for such a length of time was very considerably higher. 

Air Force General Glen VanHerck, who led U.S. Northern Command (NORAD), stated in March regarding Russian operations:

“The difference between the past and now is the intercepts are more complex – multi-axis, multi-platforms and often times they’ll enter the [air defence identification zone] and stay for hours. That would be the significant difference. But why this is ongoing? It is playing out as the peer competition that we’ve talked about.”

The general told the Senate Armed Services Committee that month that in 2020 “NORAD responded to more Russian military flights off the coast of Alaska than we’ve seen in any year since the end of the Cold War… These Russian military operations include multiple flights of heavy bombers, anti-submarine aircraft, and intelligence collection platforms near Alaska.

These efforts show both Russia’s military reach and how they rehearse potential strikes on our homeland. Last summer, the Russian Navy focused its annual OCEAN SHIELD exercise on the defence of Russia’s maritime approaches in the Arctic and Pacific.” He emphasised that these operations represented a form of strategic messaging. 

The U.S. deployed F-35 fighters to Alaska in 2020, which are smaller and require less maintenance than the F-22 but which are also still far from combat ready. The country’s latest heavyweight fighter, the F-15EX, is expected to receive a new very long range air to air missile designed specifically to neutralise large aircraft such as bombers.

Source: Military Watch Magazine

  1. Raptar Driver says

    Well you gotta pretend to use them for something? I mean they were built for what, profit? With no enemy. The F22 was and still is an exercise in futility.

    1. Gi Joe says

      Very smart by Russia to make the empire pay.
      The empire is too stuped to understand the war being waged by Russia is economic not military just as the empires war against Russia is economic. An economic war against the USSA military to collapse it without firing a shot. Russia understands the rampant Zio corruption and criminality around the USSA military making the USSA military a weak spot to be exploited.

      Just as Hamas did to Israel the capital of the global Jewish Zio slave empire dictatorship having to spend 1.2 billion to shoot down 40% or less of Hamas homemade rockets, not to mention the billions lost to the Zio economy. In military, economic and propaganda terms a total victory for Hamas. If not for Israel sucking more billions from its slave host USSA, its economy and military would have collapsed against tiny Hamas. Hamas never the less alo helped to drain the rapidly failing USSA economy further.

      For Russia and China it would also be a good idea to try to get the empire into as many proxi wars as possible to drain tens of trillions from the empire as the empire has done to itself for the past 25 years. They want that Empire USSA war budget to go way above the 1.3 trillion it is now, to 3 trillion or more to collapse the Zio dollar and the USSA and therefore the global Zio empires economy.

      They also need to keep buying more gold and banning and or heavily taking all zio dollar transactions to finish off the Zio slave empire.

      1. Raptar Driver says

        Generally you are correct however the money spent is irrelevant since they just print more without Consequence.
        Until this is stopped the empire will continue.

        1. Gi Joe says

          Wrong ,unlimited money printing will bring hyper Weimar, Zimbabae Venezuela type inflation to the Zio USSA economy its already started 6% in May 2020 alone which will undermine and destroy the USSA and Zio empires global economy and the Zio USSA dollar.
          If not for China supporting it this would have already happened.
          China needs to prepare for the total collapse of the the Zio slave empire dictatorship so it does not get sucked down with it, this will take another 4 years tops

          1. Raptar Driver says

            Sure technically.
            However we have the system rigged.This will go on forever until the American dollar is no longer the reserve currency.
            Kill the dollar kill the empire.
            I’ve been saying this for 20 years.
            Don’t understand why it is so difficult to understand?

  2. ken says

    “These efforts show both Russia’s military reach and how they rehearse potential strikes on our homeland”

    The empire beating the war drums just itching to get into it with Russia or China or both to “defend our homeland” as any good nazi would say.

    Well,,, I guarantee ya,,, threats to our “homeland” are much, much closer.

    Independence Day (lol) just around the corner,,, Let Freedom Ring!

    Edit: They’re not worried about the cost,,, whatever these thieves need, they’ll just print it up.

    1. Juan says

      Exactly. The real enemy is way inside the gates (of DC). The russians could be the best friends anyone can have (ask Lincoln)… if only your Deep State stopped making them into your enemies.

  3. Governor says

    absolutely terrible: Russia flying aircraft in its own (most probably) airspace, is flying it disturbingly “near Alaska”, and I imagine that US air force flying in Alaskan airspace keeps “professionally and safely” long way away from Russia; I’d like to see how do they perform this trick

  4. Romeo Leblanc says

    TIT for TAT as the USA started all this Shit when they started it years ago on Mother Russia,

  5. loongtip says

    As the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone was International airspace, Russian aircraft could legally maintain a continuous presence in it! What part of that don’t the zionazis understand? The Russians should increase the activity and drive those fuckers nuts!!

  6. BubbaGumpy says

    Put some old planes in the air first to respond because they’re winning the eeconomic war by wearing our new planes out. They send there old bombers over to Alaska and by the way, why can’t we interrupt their war games? Maybe we can send some old nuclear bombers over to make a run to Russia’s border during the war games that Russia is hosting. Sounds like fun and it might put a smile on those Russians faces

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