12Bravo, a reader of mine made this statement...
The two planes you just mentioned,(F-15 & F-16) are the gold standard that the others try to meet in performance. With upgrade to the radar, missiles, & EW you have aircraft that are viable for the future. The F-35 has been in development for over Twenty Years, with another 5 to 10 years before it's ready for service. We put a man on the moon in under 10 years. Twentyfive to thirty years for a aircraft program is pathetic. F-35 should have stayed three separate programs. The F-A/F-X shouldn't be an issue, hopefully everyone learned from the JSFThe part I want to focus on is highlighted.
What did the USAF learn from the F-22 debacle? I'm afraid it wasn't the right lessons. You would think that they would have learned to clean up the development cycle. Developed a reasonable upgrade path from the start...not after threatened with cancellation by a SecDef that didn't have the balls to actually carry it thru.
The USAF along with (sadly) the USMC and aided by partner nations learned nothing that would actually get the plane into service.
What they learned was how to develop a scheme to make it difficult to cancel. They plotted to make a so called "vital" defense project a jobs program.
Having so many subcontractors in so many states and nations? That has nothing to do with efficiency. I would even argue that it helps DRIVE UP costs instead of lower them.
The USAF learned nothing from the F-22 and that's why the F-35 will probably face the same fate....An extremely truncated buy and the promise that next time they'll get it right.