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F-16 Replacement ("4.5 Generation Fighter")

TMA1

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How is the 35 not optimal for every situation? Where is it lacking? BVR or CAS?


A laggardly maneuvering, hangar hound which cant be built in the numbers needed (see earlier) cant accomplish CAS because if it flew slow enough and low enough w. the proper load it would fall out the sky, which a former acting SecDef called a 'piece of S..' in an era where the utility of its particular stealth is diminished by the month and which can barely carry enough even when flying dirty to get the job done of two engine plane (f-15) which some think it replaces. .

beyond the technical issues, i think examples would be it's inability to supercruise, sluggish speed, and a couple others. it has some incredible kit inside and is one of the best strike fighters if not the best. also the b variant stovl capabilities are vital to many airforces and navies.

but there has been serious, valid criticism for quite some time and for a long time those voicing criticism were shot down, sometimes waaaay too harsh, too. all I know is we need to clean house of a lot of politicians on both sides. neocon/neolib types got to go. also lockmart and boeing better get their act together. I swear big business types and politicians just see fellow Americans as mere consumers and units in some abominable, homogenized supranational economic zone.
 

GARGEAN

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I find it hard to compare US with Chinese/Russian designs.
Because we have such detailed media and parliamentary/congressional supervision of US and European aircraft we know all about their shortcomings.
China has NO recent combat experience and Russian performance in Syria looks pretty Soviet era to me.
Even Turkish F16s seem well up to dealing with them.
TBH that's not problem of coverage but personal interest and ability/wish to look for info. As for F-16... Eeeegh...
 

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Or they could buy the KFX. I mean the South Koreans appear to be building a good 4.5 aircraft with the potential to go full 5th generation.
We still have no idea how cost effective it will be.
 

uk 75

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I find it hard to compare US with Chinese/Russian designs.
Because we have such detailed media and parliamentary/congressional supervision of US and European aircraft we know all about their shortcomings.
China has NO recent combat experience and Russian performance in Syria looks pretty Soviet era to me.
Even Turkish F16s seem well up to dealing with them.
TBH that's not problem of coverage but personal interest and ability/wish to look for info. As for F-16... Eeeegh...
I note you cant actually counter my points with alternative facts.
I appreciate it suits a certain narrative to exaggerate the capabilities of the Russian and Chinese Air Forces but you could at least demonstrate your "ability/wish to look for info".
A few prototypes are not a serious military threat.. When we see them in regular squadron service actually showing their capabilities then maybe..
 

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Or they could buy the KFX. I mean the South Koreans appear to be building a good 4.5 aircraft with the potential to go full 5th generation.
like you I'm super hyped about the KFX
but I wonder how much its operational costs will end up being.
it might end up being the "Lo" in the "HI-LO" mix the USAF wants.
 

GARGEAN

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I note you cant actually counter my points with alternative facts.
I kinda can, but everything I would say is in open sources and not some hidden knowledge. Like 350+ T-10 airframes delivered in around 10 years, comparative performance of avionics and airframe of let's say Su-30SM/Su-35 with F-16... But would you be really interested in that, or that would be some "narrative of exaggeration" for you?.
 

uk 75

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The individual Sukhoi planes may be impressive but they are still not outperforming Western aircraft in Syria or elsewhere. They are essentially improved versions of a 1970s design like the F15.
Western airforces are better trained and have more flying and combat experience than Russian crews. This reflects Russia's economic position.
China is an unknown. It has considerable resources and may well be able to deploy its new designs at squadron level. But its crews have no experience of combat flying.
 
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uk 75

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No but there are numerous detailed reports on the limits of the Russian performance such as this one I selected at random
My point remains that as in the Cold War the US Military and Industry has form on exaggerating opposition capabilities to get the taxpayer to pony up for new weapons.
 

uk 75

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National Interest?.. Please tell me you are joking.
Apart from your enthusiasm for the Sukhoi family I have seen no facts from you to justify your faith in the Russian Air Force as a serious threat to current US and NATO forces.
I repeat, you and others here are simply upping the ante to coax more money from the taxpayer.
 

GARGEAN

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I see. If that's your narrative and you are willing to support it with such level of "evidence" I think we might agree to disagree and leave it here.
 

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How is the 35 not optimal for every situation? Where is it lacking? BVR or CAS?


A laggardly maneuvering, hangar hound which cant be built in the numbers needed (see earlier) cant accomplish CAS because if it flew slow enough and low enough w. the proper load it would fall out the sky, which a former acting SecDef called a 'piece of S..' in an era where the utility of its particular stealth is diminished by the month and which can barely carry enough even when flying dirty to get the job done of two engine plane (f-15) which some think it replaces. .

Range and cost
 

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If the F-35 can't accomplish CAS how are all the other fast jets doing it? The A-10 is very nice to have around but low and slow with a 30mm cannon isn't the only way to go about it. Against an opponent with advanced anti-aircraft systems that method would almost certainly result in downed A-10.
 

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You need an F-111 sized aircraft and fuel load to get the kind of range people want out of NGAD.
 

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Availability. Mission readiness. The F35 is not hitting it's targets there.
 

jsport

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If the F-35 can't accomplish CAS how are all the other fast jets doing it? The A-10 is very nice to have around but low and slow with a 30mm cannon isn't the only way to go about it. Against an opponent with advanced anti-aircraft systems that method would almost certainly result in downed A-10.
CAS really should be done from small jet gunship replacement of the AC-130 at over 25k ft as posted in the A-10--Ax thread, but minus that a wing stored DEW can defeat missiles and the fuselage can handle most guns.. standoff for CAS needs effort ala warbreaker/assaultbreaker mini-missiles.
 

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Its probable the USAF has already seen concepts of aircraft that would fit the bill.

That they may not be able to afford and operate enough F35s is probably not a sudden revelation.
That the F35 is not optimal for every scenario is surely not a surprise either.

Comments advocating a new Century-series approach and touting new digital design capabilities mean the USAF and their favorite manufacturers have spent some time looking at what is possible.
That's funny. The country that spends trillions on a stimulus for money to be spent unrelated to the disaster that the country itself created for political reasons can't afford magically to buy an operate a single engine fighter plane. I have a great idea: lets cancel another aircraft in production and spend another 75b to engineer another aircraft purposely obsolete. Only in America.

How is the 35 not optimal for every situation? Where is it lacking? BVR or CAS? And when did my country begin to feel bad about bringing overwhelming technical superiority fight?

And now magically after purposely building an aircraft that can't supercruise the USAF needs a fighter that's faster than the f16 (and by default the 35) as I read about the wish list. We've seen this movie before when the USAF built the 22 and decided it needed something else.

Range.
And designing a new fighter is now a relatively trivial task.

Range, speed, operating costs, availability.
 

uk 75

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To summarise this thread so far:
The West with its F22, Typhoon, Rafale, F35, Gripen, F18, F15, F16 is crap.
The Russians with their miracle Sukhois and the Chinese with their various prototypes are Sierra Hotel.
So we need to design a brand new miracle aircraft or range of aircraft to save the Free World.
There you go. Be well!
 

TMA1

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To summarise this thread so far:
The West with its F22, Typhoon, Rafale, F35, Gripen, F18, F15, F16 is crap.
The Russians with their miracle Sukhois and the Chinese with their various prototypes are Sierra Hotel.
So we need to design a brand new miracle aircraft or range of aircraft to save the Free World.
There you go. Be well!

a bit hyperbolic. nobody is saying that at all that I can see. and no we still have the best of the best. but if you think ruskies and especially China are not a threat I dont know what to tell you. that kind of pride is what got us to the point we are at right now. we are in danger of losing total overmatch and that is not a good thing.
 

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Its probable the USAF has already seen concepts of aircraft that would fit the bill.

That they may not be able to afford and operate enough F35s is probably not a sudden revelation.
That the F35 is not optimal for every scenario is surely not a surprise either.

Comments advocating a new Century-series approach and touting new digital design capabilities mean the USAF and their favorite manufacturers have spent some time looking at what is possible.
That's funny. The country that spends trillions on a stimulus for money to be spent unrelated to the disaster that the country itself created for political reasons can't afford magically to buy an operate a single engine fighter plane. I have a great idea: lets cancel another aircraft in production and spend another 75b to engineer another aircraft purposely obsolete. Only in America.

How is the 35 not optimal for every situation? Where is it lacking? BVR or CAS? And when did my country begin to feel bad about bringing overwhelming technical superiority fight?

And now magically after purposely building an aircraft that can't supercruise the USAF needs a fighter that's faster than the f16 (and by default the 35) as I read about the wish list. We've seen this movie before when the USAF built the 22 and decided it needed something else.

Range.
And designing a new fighter is now a relatively trivial task.

Range, speed, operating costs, availability.
As I said elsewhere for 15 years I've heard every fighter jock and ex jock tell the world on these sites that the F35 absolutely positively didnt need supercruise. And thread after thread proclaimed the 35 range was 2nd to none...... So we are doing a 180. The f16 replacement must cruise at m1.6 and have an unrefueled range in excess of 1000 miles. Maybe its me but it sounds a lot like an f22+. Ohhhhhh I am sure now more than ever it will be cheaper per airframe and cheaper per flight hour to operate than either 22, 15, 16, or 35.

Lets see.... Needs long range and hence lots of fuel and needs supercruise with lots of fuel.... Sounds a lot like the plane we canceled after building 187 of them.

I would like to see a single engine fighter with supercruise and a 1000 mile or greater range with 4 to 6 amraam sized missiles stuffed into it.

I didnt know the laws of physics and economics changed.

Sounds like a good case now exists to spend that 55b restart costs to build a modernized 22....
 

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Its probable the USAF has already seen concepts of aircraft that would fit the bill.

That they may not be able to afford and operate enough F35s is probably not a sudden revelation.
That the F35 is not optimal for every scenario is surely not a surprise either.

Comments advocating a new Century-series approach and touting new digital design capabilities mean the USAF and their favorite manufacturers have spent some time looking at what is possible.
That's funny. The country that spends trillions on a stimulus for money to be spent unrelated to the disaster that the country itself created for political reasons can't afford magically to buy an operate a single engine fighter plane. I have a great idea: lets cancel another aircraft in production and spend another 75b to engineer another aircraft purposely obsolete. Only in America.

How is the 35 not optimal for every situation? Where is it lacking? BVR or CAS? And when did my country begin to feel bad about bringing overwhelming technical superiority fight?

And now magically after purposely building an aircraft that can't supercruise the USAF needs a fighter that's faster than the f16 (and by default the 35) as I read about the wish list. We've seen this movie before when the USAF built the 22 and decided it needed something else.

Range.
And designing a new fighter is now a relatively trivial task.

Range, speed, operating costs, availability.
As I said elsewhere for 15 years I've heard every fighter jock and ex jock tell the world on these sites that the F35 absolutely positively didnt need supercruise. And thread after thread proclaimed the 35 range was 2nd to none...... So we are doing a 180. The f16 replacement must cruise at m1.6 and have an unrefueled range in excess of 1000 miles. Maybe its me but it sounds a lot like an f22+. Ohhhhhh I am sure now more than ever it will be cheaper per airframe and cheaper per flight hour to operate than either 22, 15, 16, or 35.

Lets see.... Needs long range and hence lots of fuel and needs supercruise with lots of fuel.... Sounds a lot like the plane we canceled after building 187 of them.

I would like to see a single engine fighter with supercruise and a 1000 mile or greater range with 4 to 6 amraam sized missiles stuffed into it.

I didnt know the laws of physics and economics changed.

Sounds like a good case now exists to spend that 55b restart costs to build a modernized 22....

Every car startup is using composites because they're now a commodity technology, so really building a larger fighter comes down to the engines.
 

uk 75

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We seem to be going back to the days of Vietnam and the admiration for simple, agile fighters that outmanouvred the primitive Sidewinders and Sparrows of the US forces.
This ignores the fact that the F16 ended up toting Amraams so that it could pot off opponents without dogfighting.
 

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TomcatViP

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One simple remark: the Kingsnake (KS) would have to bear non critical technologies to be able to flood the market and be tasked at ease where it matters with minimal support. Security and counterring foreign intelligence is a costly and heavy endeavor. Hence it's more than probable that KS would not field something as critical as an F-119 while peer opponents are still unable to field an equivalent technology.

Also, KS will try to fly higher and supercruise faster to make for the absence of VLO. Hence the ventral intake is a no show.
 

_Del_

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If we had half a brain (we don't), we could simply cite industrial concerns and build a slew of Boeing's JSF design which we already paid for. Give it zero bells and whistles. These days I'm not even sure each (dare I say, any) of them would need a radar. Certainly not all-- perhaps a third of them. But you could eqiip them all, if you wanted to pay for it. Don't need a lot of RAM or other high maintenance time items. Take the engines and EW suite from the F-35. Everything off the shelf but the airframe itself. Just make it a truck with Increased survivability in the event it gets used in a "real" war.

If you need it to bomb Sandistan, it can carry externally and doesn't need counter-air ability. If you need it in a real scrape, it can leverage sensor fusion from the F-35 and other platforms in a counter-air "wingman" role with internal carriage. It also would have "Day One" strike ability and survivability. It'd be far more survivable than any of the legacy airframes, and it'd be cheaper and faster to produce than the F-35 if you need to push production if the dire need ever actually arises. Purchase enough to replace all or most of the Vipers and Beagles and push the cost down.

You could offer even further stripped down or less capably equipped versions to push the foreign sales marke, and/or you could add as many bells and whistles as a customer when and where that is politically viable.

I'm not advocating stopping the F-35 buy. We should be expanding that, too, to drive down costs and get airframes into the fleet. It'd just be a quick and dirty recapitalization, sharing the engines and other systems already in the supply chain for the F-35's.

The Pentagon, of course, will never go for this anymore than they wanted the A-7 (or even the A-7F), because it isn't sexy enough and gold-plated. We could even stop the endless war(s), to pay for it on a reasonable timeframe. I'd certainly rather hand Boeing a contract for that than for more F-15's and F-18's if it's corporate welfare and fleet recap we need to address.
 

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We seem to be going back to the days of Vietnam and the admiration for simple, agile fighters that outmanouvred the primitive Sidewinders and Sparrows of the US forces.
This ignores the fact that the F16 ended up toting Amraams so that it could pot off opponents without dogfighting.
And significantly re-engineered to put back in all of the things the fighter-mafia claimed it would never need and would be fatally compromised by. The fighter-mafia were really preparing to fight the last war (and I don't even mean Vietnam, I mean Korea), so proposing to follow their precepts is like the ground forces proclaiming 21st century ground warfare will see heavy use of continuous entrenchments and human wave attacks.
 

DWG

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If we had half a brain (we don't), we could simply cite industrial concerns and build a slew of Boeing's JSF design which we already paid for. Give it zero bells and whistles. These days I'm not even sure each (dare I say, any) of them would need a radar. Certainly not all-- perhaps a third of them. But you could eqiip them all, if you wanted to pay for it. Don't need a lot of RAM or other high maintenance time items. Take the engines and EW suite from the F-35. Everything off the shelf but the airframe itself. Just make it a truck with Increased survivability in the event it gets used in a "real" war.

If you need it to bomb Sandistan, it can carry externally and doesn't need counter-air ability. If you need it in a real scrape, it can leverage sensor fusion from the F-35 and other platforms in a counter-air "wingman" role with internal carriage. It also would have "Day One" strike ability and survivability. It'd be far more survivable than any of the legacy airframes, and it'd be cheaper and faster to produce than the F-35 if you need to push production if the dire need ever actually arises. Purchase enough to replace all or most of the Vipers and Beagles and push the cost down.
Precisely the same argument can be made, but better, for a stripped F-35. The Boeing X-32 wasn't any better than the X-35 or magically simpler, simply the loser in the competition. You can build a stripped F-35 for a lot less than starting production of the X-32, whose blueprints haven't been updated in two decades, meaning it will suffer heavily from parts obsolescence, while most of the people who worked on it will have retired or moved on.

If you saw the story the other day about the AF putting out a contract to reverse engineer the B-2's heat exchanger, imagine that, but for the entire aircraft. Easier to start from scratch.

I think the idea of reverting to a new-design Gen4.5 aircraft (and I'd count in this a stripped X-32 and to a lesser extent a stripped F-35) is missing the obvious - the reputation of many if not all of the Gen4/4.5 designs as hangar queens when they first entered service. Reliability is related to complexity, but it's also heavily related to time in service (to generate a deep understanding of the aircraft's maintenance and logistical requirements). This concept could actually see fleet availability worsen in the short term - the 5-10 years from IOC.

Picking up the specific point about borrowing the EW suite from the F-35, while you could borrow some of the components, the F-35 is heavily optimised around sensor fusion and the use of the radar as part of the EW suite, so unless you take the entire avionics/sensor system unchanged it may be quicker to start from scratch. Meanwhile radars aren't just there for air-air, they're needed for terrain matching, for mapping ground targets, and they're increasingly segueing into EW/EA, so the idea of only fitting some aircraft because it's an attack-oriented design is a non-starter.
 

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@DWG : IMOHO, the first two paragraphs of your post are top notch, but be aware that F-35 avionics performances, particularly in the fusion domain are a direct results of the VLO performances.

Parting one from another wouldn't be rational.
 

_Del_

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Precisely the same argument can be made, but better, for a stripped F-35. The Boeing X-32 wasn't any better than the X-35 or magically simpler, simply the loser in the competition
You absolutely could, but you could not get it past the industrial lobbying efforts. You would need to justify it with an industrial base argument to keep Boeing current in design/manufacture of fifth-gen aircraft.
You're also not beholden to a globally-distributed production and workshare agreement which would need to be modified, and the most prevalent argument (which seems a bit contrived to me) against accelerating the F-35 buy is there is not enough slack in the line.

they're increasingly segueing into EW/EA, so the idea of only fitting some aircraft because it's an attack-oriented design is a non-starter.
This is certainly true, and probably the truest portion as I see it, but the intent should be to get airframes as soon as possible to do the mundane lifting jobs and save airframe hours for the F-35 fleet, and dispense of the Beagles and Vipers, and associated logistics. The intent isn't to introduce a new top of the line strike fighter. The added bonus is the off-the-shelf, barebones LO design is still more capable in a major campaign than a F-16 with all the bells and whistles because it is LO and has the SWAP-C to take full advantage of the newer "family of systems" (F-35, B-21, RQ-?, new advanced battle management systems, communicating munitions, etc), but the goal isn't producing a gold-plated LO F-111 with an extensive EW suite, finding its own targets, and terrain avoidance. Just to get airframes on the cheap and recap the fleet.

Parting one from another wouldn't be rational.
Fair.
 

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How about an upgraded F-16 with a production version of the diverterless inlet tested on the AFTI-16 and engines incorporating the knowledge gained from the LOAN and AVEN test programs. If you want more, go with the extreme mod to the F-16 originally proposed to the UAE as a starting point for incorporating these.
 

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Seems like this a cleansheet will be designed with AI and MOTS processors in mind. This is now barely a rounding error on the planes and add exponential capabilities.
 

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I hate to say it, but as a Canadian... the 5th gen son-of-a-F-111 option sounds attractive. So whose going to play the role of McNamara and force it on all the services? The order will have to be large if us Canadians are going to be able to afford a few.
 

_Del_

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I hate to say it, but as a Canadian... the 5th gen son-of-a-F-111 option sounds attractive
It sounds attractive to everybody. Especially looking at a map in the Pacific. But where's the money going to be found?
 

red admiral

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Reliability is related to complexity, but it's also heavily related to time in service (to generate a deep understanding of the aircraft's maintenance and logistical requirements). This concept could actually see fleet availability worsen in the short term - the 5-10 years from IOC.
Today you can avoid this by writing an "e" in front of the designation
 

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If we had half a brain (we don't), we could simply cite industrial concerns and build a slew of Boeing's JSF design which we already paid for.

But we haven't paid for an actual working Boeing JSF. We paid for a not terribly impressive prototype and some preliminary work on the Preferred Weapon System Configuration that Boeing would actually have built if selected. Even dropping the LO and VTOL features out of the Boeing design would still leave a huge amount of development work to convert the PWSC into an actual working aircraft. And it would still be a design compromised by a configuration that was shaped to accommodate a vertical lift system.

Not much different to go with something like the F-16U, an XL-style delta wing design with an F-22 wing, a diverterless inlet, and tons more fuel. But either would still likely cost more in the end than more F-35s
 

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@DWG : be aware that F-35 avionics performances, particularly in the fusion domain are a direct results of the VLO performances.

Parting one from another wouldn't be rational.

I'll have to disagree with you there. Sensor fusion is purely dependent on computing power - taking every bit of data, tagging it with time and position to cross-correlate over multiple sensors into a single picture. Stealth may permit you to get a bit closer to acquire data, but processing that data is purely a computational issue. A non-stealth design doesn't have to compromise antennae design, and moderate output power, for low-observability, so can potentially gather greater amounts of data at longer ranges.
 

DWG

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If we had half a brain (we don't), we could simply cite industrial concerns and build a slew of Boeing's JSF design which we already paid for.

But we haven't paid for an actual working Boeing JSF. We paid for a not terribly impressive prototype and some preliminary work on the Preferred Weapon System Configuration that Boeing would actually have built if selected. Even dropping the LO and VTOL features out of the Boeing design would still leave a huge amount of development work to convert the PWSC into an actual working aircraft. And it would still be a design compromised by a configuration that was shaped to accommodate a vertical lift system.
Really good points that I didn't emphasise enough. It isn't F-32 vs F-35. it isn't even YF-32 vs F-35, it's X-32 vs operational F-35. It took 14 years to get from X-35 to F-35 IOC, 12 years just to get an aircraft capable of flight training. Eurofighter, Gripen and Rafale are in the same ballpark, despite being Gen 4.5 - though some of that extended development is an aspect of the 'peace bonus'.

(And we can argue parallels between this new ab initio gen 4.5 initiative with Germany's attempt to define a cut-down single-engined Eurofighter that ultimately delivered nothing except an extra couple of years delay)
 
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