In an open-source assessment of Russia's Sukhoi PAK-FA, aka the Raptor Killer, Air Power Australia concludes, “once the PAK-FA is deployed within a theatre of operations, especially if it is supported robustly by counter-VLO capable ISR systems, the United States will no longer have the capability to rapidly impose air superiority, or possibly even achieve air superiority.” Moreover, the Obama administration's decision to kill the F-22 air superiority fighter in favor of the multi-role F-35 Joint Strike Fighter may prove disastrous, as “the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter struggles to survive against the conventional Su-35BM Flanker… Against [a basic-model] PAK-FA, the F-35 falls within the survivability black hole, into which US legacy fighters such as the F-16C/E, F-15C/E and F/A-18A-F have already fallen.”
When the Obama administration killed the F-22, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made the administration's case in a speech before the Economic Club of Chicago. Gates explained that F-22 was unnecessary because nobody else was anywhere close to fielding an aircraft comprable to F-35, let alone F-22:
Consider that by 2020, the United States is projected to have nearly 2,500 manned combat aircraft of all kinds. Of those, nearly 1,100 will be the most advanced fifth generation F-35s and F-22s. China, by contrast, is projected to have no fifth generation aircraft by 2020. And by 2025, the gap only widens. The U.S. will have approximately 1,700 of the most advanced fifth generation fighters versus a handful of comparable aircraft for the Chinese. Nonetheless, some portray this scenario as a dire threat to America's national security.
If the Russian's had flown the PAK-FA nine months ago, you have to think Congress would have rolled the White House to keep the F-22 line open, which it almost did anyway. As it is, the line will close at the end of this year, and all our eggs, and all the eggs of our allies, will be in the F-35 basket, at the mercy of a program that's way overbudget and has no chance of being completed on time. By the time F-35 does go into service in any significant numbers (if that ever happens, and it didn't in the case of F-22), it may be obsolete — if the Russians can actually produce the Raptor Killer in any considerable numbers.
Can the Russians produce the PAK-FA in considerable numbers? The Russian defense industrial base is in sorry shape (think the Shkval torpedo that likely sunk the Kursk and the Beluva submarine-launched ballistic missile that has offered Moscow one spectacular embarrassment after another). But if the Russians can get the PAK-FA off the ground despite all that, maybe it's not as hard to build a fifth-generation fighter as the Pentagon thinks.
Killing the F-22 was a bad idea from the start, and it only gets worse with time. Why has America been so successful in wars for the past few decades? Total air dominance, and fast total air dominance. When you rule the skies, you control the battlefield. The F-22 guaranteed that dominance for the next generation of fighter jets, and Obama and the Democrats killed it under the justification that it wasn't necessary. Now that that's been proven wrong, someone in Congress needs to stand up and force this issue before our military suffers for their blundering.
There's my two cents.