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The F-22 outperforms the F-35 in virtually every aspect. It's possible to stick F-35s 360 thermals on the F-22 too.

It does have some pilots who are real fans of it:

If you were to write down all the ways in which you could measure an airplane—payload, fuel, ordnance, handling—and ask 100 pilots to rank which is the most important, I guarantee you that 100 out of 100 pilots would say “situational awareness.” By far. Not a single pilot in the world would say “turn radius.” Not one. Because the more you know, the more accurately you know it, the better able you are to make a decision.

In situational awareness, the F-35 is superior to all platforms, including the Raptor. I’d never been in an airplane that so effectively and seamlessly integrates information to tell me what’s going on around me—and not just from the radio frequency spectrum, but laser, infrared, electro-optical. That’s usually the first thing people notice when they get in the airplane. They know so much more than they ever knew before.


You can stick every sensor on the F-35 onto the F-22. It would not be difficult to do so. Now, the question of why they haven't, is an interesting one. And part of the answer is that EODAS is not performing as well as promised.

It would be extremely hard to do. The F-22 bus is antiquated, and not really designed for expansion. That's one of the reasons the F-22 still doesn't have an IRTS.

First of all, I can't prove my opinion.

With that said, if push came to shove, the electronics on the F-22 could be quickly replaced/augmented to either have a focused IRST ala the SU-35 or a 360 system like F-35's EODAS. Your argument is in line with "It would be difficult to restart the F-22's production line." Sure, but neither doing that or updating it would cost nearly as much as the amount of money that went into the F-35.

I think IRST wasn't made a priority because the US expects to have AWACS wherever they operate and the F-22s to shoot based on AWACS data without ever actively emitting themselves anyway. That or planes toggling radar one at a time and passing data via datalink to their squadron, which makes them fairly safe (at least that was the idea with datalinks).

Then why are people buying F35s?

EDIT: Thanks everyone, I wasn't aware that the F22 had a higher price and additional export restrictions.

Cost. The F-22 costs $200M+ per plane. The F-35 cost $94M for the small initial production runs, and that's expected to come down as production volumes go up and the program cost (which includes large fixed costs like software and tooling) gets amortized over the production run.

One F-22 vs one F-35 is a contest obviously in favor of the F-22. One F-22 vs. three F-35s becomes a lot more ambiguous, particularly when we are not at war and there's no guarantee that any of these planes will do anything more than force projection.

(The F-35 very much seems like a peacetime fighter to me, and that may be exactly what the U.S. needs right now. History has shown that basically all your assumptions about how the next war will unfold go out the window once the next war actually starts. Under those conditions, it may make more sense to try out a bunch of new technologies, keep the defense contractors alive and the aeronautical engineers employed, contain costs, and build enough numbers that you don't get completely steamrolled in the early days of a war. Then when war actually does break out, you rapidly adjust and build the planes that you actually need, when you have real data about what's winning on the battlefield.)

"History has shown that basically all your assumptions about how the next war will unfold go out the window once the next war actually starts."

Also, don't forget that nuclear weapons still exist. Nuclear powers shooting down squadrons of each others fighters to achieve "victory" does not seem likely.

Controversial opinion here, but I think nukes are going to be an evolutionary dead-end in the history of weaponry. Either they'll end up getting used, in which case "WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones", or more likely they won't end up getting used because everybody knows that's the outcome, and we'll have more conventional proxy wars where everyone just pretends nukes don't exist.

Other controversial opinion: I think that the assumption that the next major war will be between nation-states is a likely candidate for one that'll go out the window. In my view, the next major war will be like Syria but on a global scale, with many semi-organized subnational groups duking it out in exceptionally nasty urban & guerilla warfare.

I thought those were both mainstream opinions.

1. F22's are banned from being sold to anyone but the US.

2. F22's are only fighter jets. F35 for better and worse is designed to do just about everything.

The F-15Es do better in strike roles than planes that weren't supposed to be pure fighters.

The motto of the F-15 when it was initially designed was "not a pound for air to ground."

Sure, but Han shot first.

We sell the F-35 because if it ever came to it, our F-22's would dominate their F-35's they bought from us.

But to be fair, as the other comments have pointed out the F-35 is lower cost, a decent peace time machine and is has flexible configurations.

For the same reason people buy Corollas when Audis are available. Even with all the troubles the F-35 has had, the F-22s still have a substantially higher unit cost.

The F-22 also can't be sold as an export.

Only version available for export, about half the price.

It is supposed to be the cheaper stealth fighter.

You don't need high turn rates when you have Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (EODAS) like the F-35's cueing High-Off Bore-Sight (HOBS) short-range air-to-air missiles like the AIM-9X.

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