"The F-22 Raptor is by far the best air-to-air fighter America has ever built – but it too is being short-changed by inadequate weapons," the expert asserted. And the ones it does have are becoming increasingly obsolete.
Take long-range air-to-air missiles, for instance.
"While the Air Force is working on integrating the AIM-120D Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) onboard the jet, even this newest version of the venerable active radar-guided air-to-air missile is already being challenged by enemy digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) jammers and will soon be outranged by new Russian and Chinese weapons," Majumdar explained.
Russia has the R-37M ultra long-range air-to-air missile and a projectile currently known as izdeliye 810 in the pipeline. The former was developed specifically for the MiG-31BM supersonic interceptor aircraft. The latter is expected to be fitted on Russia's fifth-generation fighter jets developed under the PAK FA program.
In general, the US has long failed to arm its newest aircraft with appropriate weapons. Majumdar referred to this phenomenon as "a uniquely American blind-spot."
"For example, when the McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle became operational in 1976, it used the same armament as its F-4 Phantom II predecessor. It wasn't until the introduction of the AMRAAM in 1991 – twenty-five years ago – that the Air Force gave the Eagle a weapon that could take full advantage of the jet's capability," the expert noted.