Originally Posted by steelreserve
Exactly. Air superiority today is more like, can you afford to have ANY modern planes or can't you? The dozen or so countries that can afford to blow $100M-plus per aircraft don't get into wars with each other, and they'll automatically win any war against the mid-major countries that use old Soviet stuff, or the Division II countries with no air force at all.
In fact, I think that's what the JSF is all about: Once you're in that elite club, there are just a handful of options for top-of-the-line fighters, and nobody's got anything that's leaps and bounds ahead of anything else.
As a fan of military jets, I hate to see the Raptor go. Of course, the existing one's could have decades of service yet. But, even many Republicans wanted to kill the F-22. Funny thing about big weapons programs is that they take so long from design to implementation, and they are often so expensive to kill after they are in production, that the Administration associated with the program isn't always the one that got it started, or supported it to begin with. Reagan was so vilified by his opponents for his support for the B2, but it was under Carter that the program was approved,
The F-22 is awesome, but it isn't worth the expense of further production. The USA would still have such a huge advantage over China in "command and control" in any air war that, while we would lose many planes, I have little doubt we would prevail in the air. Besides, the existing F-22 and the JSF are more than a match for any air force in the world.
For most of the conflicts the USA is likely to enter these days we should probably build more "Specter" gun ships and the A-10's (although that won't happen), as well as the previously mentioned unmanned platforms.