The Union Leader has a detailed article on the current debate over extending production of the F-22 Raptor. This air superiority fighter is a generation ahead of its rivals, which is where we should be. Skeptics say that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could take over the F-22's role at a lower price. This is like saying that the F-16 could have replaced the F-15 because it could be configured for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.
The F-22 is the best air-to-air asset we have for the foreseeable future, and we should not sacrifice any advantage. Our success on the battlefield over the past two decades has been built on not just air superiority, but air dominance. Winning uncontested airspace in the first hours of a battle saves lives and shortens wars. The F-35 will be a fine airplane when it is operational. The F-22 is better at its mission, and we should continue to produce them as the aging F-15 fleet is retired.