Last year, Robert Gates claimed (on the basis of incorrect intel data produced by the same intel community which denies that Iran has a nuclear weapons program) that Russia’s first 5th generation fighterplane would not fly for the next several years. And he closed the F-22 program.
He was wrong. Yesterday, Russia’s first 5th generation fighterplane flew for the first time. The fighterplane, called PAKFA (Prospective Aviation Complex of Frontline Aviation) is a product of the Sukhoi corporation, the producer of the popular Su-30 Flankers and the Generation #4++ fighterplanes designated as Su-35s. By the USAF’s own admission, F-15s are inferior even to these two planetypes. Of course, they’re also inferior to PAKFA jets. The PAKFA type is the Russian counterpart of the American F-22 type, and has made the Russian AF a true equal of the USAF.
Su-30 Flankers are superior to F-15s by almost every measure, yet the DOD plans to maintain ca. 120 F-15C/Ds and all 224 F-15s even after 2025. It does not plan to increase its order for F-35As from the inadequate 1763-plane-number. It closed the F-22 program last year.
The DOD should radically increase the order for F-35As from 1763 to 3048, i.e. by 1285 planes. It should pay for these aircraft using the savings which I advised it to implement – savings estimated to total over $60 bn per year if implemented.