Two future warfighting scenarios dominate Pentagon planning. One is a Russian invasion of Eastern Europe. The other is a Chinese occupation of Taiwan. The F-35 fighter would likely provide a margin of victory for the U.S. in repulsing either move, because the plane cannot be tracked by enemy air defenses and is sufficiently versatile to detect and destroy all targets of interest. With over a thousand F-35s likely to be delivered to U.S. military forces and allies by mid-century, Washington will have the resources to defeat any military in the world. Even loaded with air-to-ground munitions, the fighter can reach deep into China or Russian defended air space to suppress aggression. Without large numbers of stealthy strike fighters, though, the ability of the U.S. to prevail in either scenario will become increasingly doubtful. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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