The F22 has been in production since 2005 and the T50 is expected 2015.
The US is expected to procure 187 of the F22s and then stop buying more.
The T50 as far as I can tell is competitive with the F22. Below are links to various comparisons of specifications of the T50 and the F22. The Russians have a history of matching US planes for speed and acceleration and various other performance.
This could be good for the US military industrial complex in that it gives them a reason to buy more F22s or F35s or to get a new project in order to ensure air superiority.
The T50 should cost $100 million and the F22 costs $140 million. The F22 has gone through production, debugging and upgrades.
The Russians should have success selling the T50 to whichever countries want it. Which sounds like India and China.
The US will have a harder time buying and maintaining lengthy fighter jet superiority.
It is easier for the Russia to get the specs and upgrade to match. China is developing domestic capabilities.
China will have more and more money to match as needed.
I am expecting China to be about 6 trillion in GDP by the end of this year. By 2015, China will be nearly at par with the US in overall GDP.
China’s military spending will be in the range of $200 billion at that point. Less on a percentage basis than US spending. But 10% of it would buy 200 T50s. Comparable numbers to the US F22s.
The US is spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan war are nearly $200 billion per year. Spending that is going mainly to ammo and supplies and other support for the fighting. Not to new gear or research on upgrades. Although they are proving out what works in combat and improving what works in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Comparisons of T50 and the F22
The PAK FA compares most favorably to the F-22, surpassing it on a number of parameters while sacrificing certain parameters to the F-22. The relationship is not dissimilar to that between the early FLANKER and the F-15. Primarily, the F-22 is stealthier while the PAK FA is likely to exceed the F-22 in the critical arena of a high-high combat profile. The PAK FA also has a bigger weapons bay and greater fuel capacity. In terms of operational capability and cost, the PAK FA wins hands down to the high cost and complicated maintenance of the F-22, while the PAK FA is said to be an improvement over the maintainability of the Su-27. It could cost a third of an F-22 by its greater simplicity and managed tradeoffs as well as greater production run (being procured by both Russia and India if not any other country).
Until the US produces the next generation of aircraft, this spells the end of their monopoly in 5th generation aircraft and is likely to usher in other players such as China and perhaps give enough hope to Europe to produce its own fighter rather than sink to the humiliation to their sovereignty that the F-35 provides.
The Euro-canards now appear out-dated and out-classed, a situation unlikely to sit well with Western Europe. Given the attitude of the US towards her allies vis-a-vis the F-35, Europe now finds itself between a rock and a hard place. It is the contention of this author that Europe will get together and build a fifth generation fighter, for the spirit of Europe has not been one to see its technological edge corrode or to be demeaned by external powers.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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