The Last Ace?

Great article! Thanks for posting the link. Two things though:

One thing the article didn't touch on was the increasing numbers of UAV's. Although it has yet to become operational, expect things like the UCAV to begin making headlines. Afterall, why risk a pilot and F-22 for a ground target when it can be destroyed by a UAV? Once the gaps in IADS open up, send in the manned fighters to mop up. All the while the Raptors can sit high and wide and wait for an enemy to go after a UCAV or some other target.

I freaking HATE UAV's, but they are coming. Best to figure out how to use them...and which airframe to fly to hopefully avoid operating one.

Second, I think this article's warning concerning the limited numbers of F-22's should be read with defense in mind. We're not exactly a popular country anymore, and we've seen an upswing in the number of countries forming partnerships to challenge our influence and resolve. While a conventional attack on the US mainland remains a very distant possibility, the current global economic situation and its impacts in the years to come will be difficult to measure and react to. Low numbers of F-22's aided by 4th-gen fighters vs. a large number of rag-tag but technologically current aircraft doesn't equal absolute victory...IMO. We'll still knock them out of the sky, but at what the air and ground?

Like the article said, we've been on top for too long. Unfortunately, it's going to take losses of brave US pilots and their machines to reaffirm our commitment to 100% air superiority.