Raptor Has No Rivals
Because there is nothing else like it in the skies, only 187 F-22 Raptor fighters should be more than enough according to Wired’s Danger Room:
At the moment, the only air forces fielding so-called “4.5-generation” fighters that even approach Raptor-level capability are all strong U.S. allies: the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain with their small fleets of Typhoons, France with its three squadrons of Rafales, and Australia with a single squadron of F/A-18F Super Hornets. Lockheed estimates it might eventually sell more than 3,000 stealthy, “fifth-generation” F-35s to U.S. allies.
Among perceived rivals, China just began producing J-10 fighters that are in the same class as the USAF’s 20-year-old F-16Cs. Russia is still building, and exporting, a few variants of the 1980s’ Su-27. Despite lots of promises, neither China nor Russia has ever demonstrated it can build anything more advanced than its current models. Russia’s aviation industry has eroded so badly that it cannot even produce drones for the Russian military: Moscow must buy them from Israel, instead.
The good news is this the beginning of the end of focused missioned weapons with niche capabilities which suck away needed funds from other essential warfighting skills and weaponry. Rather than a top-heavy force to deal with worse case scenarios that never seem to occur, we can have one geared to the most likely threats, but still adequate to handle a crisis when it occurs, not just a force for crises only!