A version of this article appears in the July 14 edition of Aviation Week & Space Technology. With the F-35 taking far longer to field than planned, its F-22 numbers stemmed at 183 and little money on the horizon for new programs, the U.S. Air Force now faces decades before it can achieve its long-held goal of an all fifth-generation fighter fleet. In the meantime, the service has two stealthy fighters—each costing more than $100 million per aircraft—that cannot effectively ...

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