In F-22's Wake, USAF Embraces Cheaper Aircraft
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2009 2:42 PM CDT
A Serbian Lasta 95, which will ship to Iraq.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The scrapping of the F-22 has sent the US Air Force into an abrupt about-face, Time reports. Newly installed officials are asking for 100 cheap, multirole planes that can attack ground positions and also be used to train other countries' pilots in their use. The aircraft must have a range of 900 miles and travel at 200mph. The F-22 makes 1500mph—and costs 50 times more.

Some planes already on the ground fit the bill, and the Air Force could acquire them for the new program. Turning to weapons good at "down-and-dirty warfare" rather than the most sophisticated fighter planes is a big change for the Air Force, which one blogger notes has a “nasty habit of forgetting the hard-learned lessons of irregular operations.” The Air Force secretary agrees, sort of: Iraqi and Afghani fighters “are not going to be able to—and do not have a need to—operate at that higher end of the conflict spectrum,” he says.