By Captain Matthew Mutti, Wing Executive Staff Officer
/ Published May 21, 2008
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts -- Vision is an important part of an agencies growth; this is specifically true when it pertains to an evolving and dynamic institution like the military. The Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Michael Moseley, highlighted Barnes Air National Guard Base as a possible future home for either the F-22 Raptor or the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in one of his newly released future planning visions. (http://www.af.mil/library/airforceroadmap/)
The Air Force has recognized that its fleet of aging aircraft will need to be recapitalized within the next 20 years in order for us to continue to be the world's dominant Air Force. Barnes is a good example of a unit who needs to look forward, even after just completing an aircraft conversion, we need to continue to look forward...our new thirty-year old aircraft will not last forever, more so, they will not be able to compete with fifth generation aircraft in the future.
As our government, specifically congress and the senate, begin to look at our future year acquisitions, organizations like Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney are engaged in an education campaign to highlight the capabilities of their fighters so that the legislators will be aware of the capabilities of the weapon systems they may procure.
April 14 and 15, Mark Dougherty, director of F-22 marketing, along with his team brought the F-22 Simulator Demonstrator to the Barnes Air National Guard Base to show the unit, local legislators and local aerospace firms the capabilities of this aircraft.
During the visit, Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety, Kevin Burke; the Under Secretary of Homeland Defense, Juliette Kayyem; the Deputy Under Secretary of Public Safety, Patrick Connelly; State Senator Michael Knapik; the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Joseph Carter; and the Air Commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Akey, attended the simulator demonstration to learn why this aircraft has such an important role in homeland defense.
These key members of the Massachusetts government and more then 40 local contractors learned about the characteristics that make the F-22 a fifth generation fighter. They saw first hand through the simulator the versatility of this fighter as it employs super-cruise, stealth, maneuverability, integrated situational awareness, and versatile weapons loads.
The visit does not signify that General Moseley's vision will come to fruition; rather, it signifies that we are being a proactive unit who understands the value of educating our public on why this vision would benefit Massachusetts and the nation.