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May 7, 2012—
The Air Force provided ABC News with "a wealth of specific information" on the F-22 fighter, but the news network "either omitted or glossed over these facts" in its televised report on the aircraft, stated service officials in a response to the network's final product that aired on May 2.

ABC News—which maintains "the Air Force declined to participate" in interviews it requested with top service officials—claimed that the F-22 was a waste of taxpayers' money and was nothing more than a very expensive stunt aircraft to delight viewers at air shows.

It also questioned why the Pentagon has not used the F-22 in combat and asserted that "the enemy the F-22 was designed to fight—rival, super-sophisticated fighter jets in great numbers—simply doesn't exist."

The Air Force's May 4 response states that the nation did not employ F-22s in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because they were not needed.

However, F-22s have recently deployed to Southwest Asia for the second time to support regional partnerships, have served in a "similar capacity" in the Pacific, and have protected US airspace, facts that ABC News ignored, said the Air Force.

"The F-22's stealth capabilities and range make it ideal for operating over territory where enemies have advanced air defenses," states USAF's response. It adds, "Our nation has interests in many regions where such a capability would be critical."

ABC News also discussed the yet-to-be-resolved issues with the aircraft's onboard oxygen-generating system. But the network failed to note that—while the safety issue remains a top Air Force priority to resolve—the cases in which pilots have experienced hypoxia-like symptoms "represent an incident rate below 0.1 percent whether considered in terms of sortie numbers or flight hours," states the response.

ABC News also implied that the Air Force was tarnishing F-22 pilot Capt. Jeff Haney's reputation by blaming him for the November 2010 crash that took his life—instead of faulting the aircraft's onboard oxygen system.

The Air Force did not comment on those accusations.

(See also AFA's response to ABC News' report.)