Despite the stridents remarks about the latest generation of Sukhois, Migs , Chendu and Eurofighters outripping US efforts, and although that these mantioned marks are superior in some respects tot he F-16 block 22 and Super Hornet, I deliberatley did not mention that the US Miliotary has skipped the step theoretcically 'requiring, a step by step "set of models, absolutely equal to Russian and Chinese efforts.
It should be mentioned that the Mig 35, the Chendu and the Eurofighter all appear similar-but this step in 'air evolution" will be skipped by the Us, and Many of its allies by literally "jumping a perceived evolutionary step and going directly to go and NOT paying $200.
The Military has plated the trhust to weigth ratio, vectored thrust and hign manueveralbility 'close to the vest" with respect to the F 22.
A brief review of some clips found here and there reveal that it is capable of manuevering with the sukhois and Eurofighter clones, altough these are excellent airplave, of course.
I was frankly relieved to see the F-22 match any possible manuever that might be attempted by any of the Eurofighter type, or the improved sukhois.
In any event, dogfigthing in the "furball" requires only about 400 knots and higher speeds are usually reserved for disengagement, much as a Mig 15 would, could and did performing veritcal separation maneurers to disengage F-86 Sabres, one of the finests aircraft ever conceived, and, perhaps, really the US's last great gunfighter, although the F-8 Crusader is often billed in this spot.
The F-8, an excellent speed craft with interest adaptaions to the wing to allow high angles of attack for Carrier operations, lack, during the Vietnam years, any proof that it could produce a kil rattio of 8-1 acheived by the WWII veteran piloted Sabres.
Also, although the time seems endless, the Joint Strike fighter (JSDF) under development by the US and a set of key allies, much as in the way the F-16 made its way into NATO and US deployment, also will have stealth capabilities, as does the F-22.
some question might even be raised as to whether of if Radar guided weapons should be deployed on the F-22 or JSDF, as the SAR guided Sparrow requires a beam to ride and even the Highly touted AMraam, supposedly a fire and forget weapon, requires mid course correction to reach it maximum range potentiol of 40-50 miles.
such communications would disclose the location of a stealth craft unless and until such corrections can be transmitted by non interceptabile of jammable Laser or IR means.
The JSDY will be created in three versions, all 'externaly" similar.
1. an Air superiority version
2. A stol Vtol Version and
3. a naval version.
The US UK France and India would be able to deploy the version #3, whcih, of course, be lighter than the number 2 version.
France is planning (already ) or replacement of the Charles DeGualle to deploy this weapon.
India could deploy the version 2 on the VTOL?Stol Carrier "Vikrant", and is planning a fixed wing carrier.
THe UK seems tending to this apporach.
But note well, the the Version 2 will be deployable, as a AV 8B's, of deployement on much smaller Iwo Jima and Nassau sized vessels. (Nassua=30 tonnes, Nimittz-85,000 tonnes plus.
To have Vtol, Stealth and super maneuerability availble on a "sea control" carrier" the size on Nassua class vessels is truly mind boggling.
I will post some pictures of F-22 Raptors and Lighting II's asap, of course.
"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"