Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, at a recent aerial demonstration featuring the prototype PAK-FA, was said to have remarked that the PAK-FA was more than a match for the American F-22 Raptor.
Color me skeptical. The F-22 Raptor eats F-16s for breakfast.
That's no exaggeration, either; in exercises off the Atlantic coast, F-22s routinely defeat F-16s, even when outnumbered more than 3:1. Yet, that didn't stop Air Force Association President Michael Dunn from alarmist rhetoric, going so far as to quip, "Do you think the Russians will stop at building 187?"
No, sir. They won't even get close to 187.
How many times have we seen terrifying Russian wunderwaffen displayed at air shows, only to see them later fade into obscurity? Remember the Kamov-50 helicopter, seen as the rival to the AH-64 Apache? Russia built just 26. A single attack battalion, of which the US has almost a dozen, has about as many Apache helicopters.
What about the Su-35 or Su-47 Berkut? Where are they?
If the Air Force is going to use scare tactics to get a few more F-22s or F-35s, they're going to have to do a better job of it.