The U.S. Air Force Promised the F-4 Would Never Dogfight
War Is Boring

The flaw I find in the paper’s argument is that it has not considered the post-Vietnam Air War experience. How many dogfights happened in the Gulf War?

The paper would be perfectly accurate if it was written in 1973. It’s been more than forty years since then. AMRAAM is not the early Sparrow, and F-4s did not have stealth , nor were they supported by E-3s.

It appears that for the foreseeable future the great advantage American aircraft will have is not maneuverability, but perception — to detect the enemy via radar and vector stealth aircraft in on their six, then hit them before they know the F-35s are even there. If you can’t make that kind of engagement — then don’t get into the fight at all. Stealth also allows means it’s a lot harder to draw an aircraft into a fight if it doesn’t want to.

I fully agree that what the US really needs is two or three purpose built aircraft for different missions. Or at least more F-22s for air superiority. Regrettably, that isn’t happening. So we’ll have to make do with the F-35 — so far as I can tell the ultimate jack-of-all-trades that is master of none.

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