Is It a Game Changer?

The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb believes the Russian PAK FA (prototype flown last month) is just that, citing a new Air Power Australia analysis by Carlo Kopp and Peter Goon. The defense analysts say “available evidence” shows a “mature production PAK FA” could compete with the F-22 in very low observable performance and “will outperform” it “aerodynamically and kinematically.” That means, they say, the PAK FA renders all legacy US fighter aircraft and the F-35, upon which the Pentagon has staked the future of US airpower, “strategically irrelevant and non viable after the PAK FA achieves IOC in 2015.” Goldfarb posits: “If the Russians 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.” (Both Goldfarb’s article and the APA analysis are worth noting.)