01 February 2010

Russia develops a new 5th Generation fighter, everyone panics...


Apparently the big aviation news is that Russia has showcased a new prototype technology demonstrator which looks somewhat similar to the US Air Force's F-22 Raptor. You know, the F-22 Raptor first flew early 1990s, and is currently fielded to active-duty Air Force squadrons.

I, for one, am not particularly impressed. Every few years, the aviation community will be in an uproar and exclaim that American fighter technology has been challenged by the one Su-47 Berkut prototype or the Su-37 Flanker--neither of which making it to production They make for scary opponents in video games, but that's about it.

Worrying about these planes is like worrying about the handful of the Luftwaffe's wunderwaffen during the Second World War. Sure, they seemed impressive, but few wunderwaffen actually made it to the production phase. That seems to be the case with this new crop of Russian fighters--they'll appear at an airshow, perform a few spectacular maneuvers, and they'll go back to the hangar. For the time being, Russia cannot field a fighter on par with the American F-22 Raptor, nor can it do so in great numbers. Save the declinism drama for another day.

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