When it officially entered military service in 2005, the U.S. Air Force hailed the F-22 Raptor as an “exponential leap in warfighting capabilities.”
American taxpayers ultimately paid $67 billion to buy 187 of the planes, which had been in development since 1986 “to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances” with technical capabilities that “cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.”
On Saturday, the F-22 scored its first-ever victory against an airborne adversary when it shot down…a balloon.
There may not be a better metaphor for the costly grandiosity of the American military than the use of a multi-million-dollar fighter jet to dispatch an unarmed, unmaneuverable opponent. But the fact that the F-22 had never won a dogfight before its decisive victory over what may or may not have been a Chinese spy balloon is a nice illustration of why the United States has the world’s most expensive military by a massive margin.
In short, it’s because the Pentagon buys lots of expensive toys that have no use.