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Fighter pilot dating

As the Soviets introduced night vision equipment on tanks, and fielded the highly mobile SA-12 (S-300V), SA-11 (9K37), SA-15 (9K330) battlefield air defence weapons, it became evident that the existing fleet of A-10A and A-7D close air support and battlefield interdiction (CAS/BAI) aircraft would be hard pressed to survive, let alone provide the numbers to break the Soviets in the Fulda Gap.

The 250 lb class GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb came into existence as a weapon to increase the internally carried firepower of the F-22A, limited then to a pair of internal 1,000 lb GBU-32 JDAMs, as well to address the increasing rules of engagement and laws of armed conflict based pressures for minimising collateral damage.

The current F-22A is a genuine multirole fighter, with high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar capability and to be tasked as much with air superiority as with killing SAM sites, radars, airfields, bunkers, command posts and other high value assets.

Considerable R&D investment was made very early into the supercooled turbine engine technology required to support this regime of flight - stealth became a feature of the ATF program only after the F-117A proved to be viable.

The ATF flyoff saw the stealthier, more agile and faster Northrop/MDC YF-23A pitted against the Lockheed/Boeing/GD YF-22A, with P&W and GE bidding their respective YF119 and YF120 engines.

First flight of SDD JSF Prototype AA-1 in December, 2006.

This aircraft is a 'non-representative prototype' which predates in construction a series of structural and systems weight reduction measures.

This analysis is an updated and expanded version of the original 2004 analysis.

Both the JSF and F-22A reflect a process of strategic and technological evolution which began during the 1980s.

The F-22A will remain the most survivable strike fighter in existence for decades to come - and the most lethal air superiority fighter.

The JSF evolved from a completely different set of needs and strategic pressures, and occupies a completely different niche in the US force structure.

This was a period during which the Soviet empire reached the peak of its military power before its economic and political collapse, a period during which the high performance Sukhoi Su-27 and Mikoyan Mi G-29 entered large scale production, and massive Soviet tank armies presented the benchmark of land power worldwide.