US basing F-22 Raptor Stealth Aircraft at Al-Dafra Air Base on Iran’s back door

The news that the US is basing Raptors also known as F-22 A stealth combat aircraft at Al Dafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates is being roundly condemned by Iran as yet another provocative and indication of war. "We consider such (military) presence in the region as to be useless and harmful and more aimed at creating a psychological ploy and an insecure atmosphere in the region," Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said. "We don’t see it useful”, he added. Vahidi, however, said that guaranteeing security in region is possible only through cooperation among all the regional states.

The comments by the Iranian minister came after various media reports revealed US intentions to deployed its F-22 Raptors at the UAE Al Dafra Air Base.

Iranian officials have always cautioned about the devastating consequences of tension in the region, and called on certain regional states to be watchful of the plots of some aliens who seek to stir tension in this sensitive region.

One Iranian student in Tehran said on facebook “We don’t want war with the United States, but we won’t back down if attacked either.”

Tehran believes that that regional peace and security will be established if all the regional countries grow united and stage all-out cooperation.  

The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation supermaneuverable fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology.

It was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities that include ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles, according to Wikipedia. In March 2012, the GAO increased the estimated cost to $412 million per aircraft. The Exact number of F22 stationed in the EAU is unknown.

Repeated queries by email to the Pentagon about the number at Al-Dafra Air Base go unanswered.  Pentagon officials seem more concerned with remaining silent on this issue. Neither will they confirm or deny reports in this regard.

The F-22 Raptor is a fifth generation fighter that is considered a “fourth-generation” stealth aircraft by the USAir Force.  Without a doubt it is the most advanced fighter aircraft in the US military. Its dual afterburning Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofans incorporate pitch axis thrust vectoring, with a range of ±20 degrees. The maximum thrust is "classified" by the military, though most sources place it at about 35,000 lbf (156 kN) per engine.

Maximum speed, without external weapons, is estimated to be Mach 1.82 in super-cruise mode, as demonstrated by General John P. Jumper, former US Air Force Chief of Staff, when his Raptor exceeded Mach 1.7 without afterburners on 13 January 2005. With afterburners, it is "greater than Mach 2.0" (greater than 1,317 mph, 2,120 km/h). Former Lockheed chief test pilot Paul Metz stated that the Raptor has a fixed inlet, as opposed to variable intake ramps, and that the F-22 has a greater climb rate than the F-15, despite the F-15′s higher thrust-to-weight ratioof 1.2:1 (the F-22 has a ratio closer to 1:1). The US Air Force claims that the Raptor cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter types, and Lockheed Martin claims: "the F-22 is the only aircraft that blends supercruise speed, super-agility, stealth and sensor fusion into a single air dominance platform” (see incredible video: F-22 Supermanouverability  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW2Hvu_mUdU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F8TckuceI8&feature=related ).

Despite its supermanouverability and stealth capability the F22 has certain vulnerabilities (see: F22/F-35 vulnerability to IR detection http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread205516/pg2and vulnerability to cyber weapons (see Aviation week article: Quick Innovations To Help Navy Tackle Pacific Problems http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_04_09_2012_p46-438890.xml).In talking about this issue with some experts who say that the F22 is most vulnerable on the ground and predict Iranian military will try to take out Al- Dafra with a missile strike as soon as the first bomb drops or cruise missile explodes in Iran. Iran is, of course threatening to defend itself by attacking US and NATO bases across the region, including those in Afghanistan and Turkey.

Robert Tilford