From Aviation Week:
Top military planners in the Pacific are well aware of the F-22’s less advertised capabilities as an airborne command and control node, an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor package and an advanced electronic and information warfare weapon.
“It can grow, that’s key,” acknowledges Pawling. “It has lots of room for future technology growth unlike our F-15s which are pretty much maxed out. [Electronic and network attack and other esoteric capabilities are] what makes the airplane so important as you look at technology changing in Russia, China and India. If we don’t have an aircraft that can adapt and change, we’re going to be in big trouble.”
Nor is the Joint Strike Fighter – optimized for ground attack — seen as an alternative to the F-22.
“It’s just that the F-35 and F-22 are such different airplanes,” Pawling says. “There are those who think you can simply build more F-35s [to compensate for a smaller Raptor fleet]. But the F-22 is one of those once-in-a-lifetime airplanes. There is nothing out there that can fly against it. If we had a major conflict [against someone with advanced air defenses], I can’t imagine going in there with anything but an F-22.”
“For me the grief is still too near.” —That elf guy.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.