An impassioned yet well-researched plea by E. E. Riccioni, a veteran AF fighter pilot and charter member of the Fighter Mafia (99 KB PDF).
About the author: I first met Rich Riccioni about 35 years ago, when I was a junior staffer doing grunt work for a tac air shop in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Rich was an Air Force colonel running the flight mechanics division at the Flight Dynamics Lab. After a career as a fighter pilot, Rich had became a designer and advocate for air-air systems. He played a critical role in initiating the Lightweight Fighter Program, which led to both the F-16 and F-18, and organized the first conference on the then-radical concept of supercruise (i.e., sustained supersonic cruise without afterburner), a key characteristic of the F-22.
Although no fan of the F-22 itself, Rich continues to advocate for characteristics like stealth and supercruise in more affordable systems. He retired from the Air Force in 1976 and from Northrop Grumman in 1993.
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