Fred Kaplan’s not completely satisfied that Robert Gates wants 187 of the planes, and he’s even less satisfied that the Air Force still wants 381.
Still, even stodgy bureaucrat-generals need a rationale to keep their favorite programs afloat. The F-22 is the centerpiece of Air Force procurement at the moment. It has nearly no role in the sorts of wars that the United States has been fighting in the last 20 years—or has much prospect of fighting in the next 20.
And so, the China threat is dragged out of the cellar once again, as it has been to justify troubled weapons systems for 40 years now.
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