idan wrote:Su 35 offers a smooth upgrade and road map to 5th gen.
There is a lot to unpack there. Why would anyone want to create a "roadmap" to 5th gen when they can acquire 5th gen? And between, the Rafale, MWF, and eventual MKI upgrades in the next 5-10 years, why would anyone advocate introducing yet another type to get to 5th gen? I can understand this argument and logic being used (beyond marketing departments of fighter OEM's) in the 2000's as 5GFA were not available or in development. There you could say that "product X comes with a 5GFA inspired cockpit, AESA radar, advanced EW etc." and can be pitched as a transitioning type to 5GFA a couple of decades down the road. This is essentially what the UAE did with its advanced F-16 block 60's, in the 2000-2005 timeframe, which shared some of the mission system development and production facilities and cockpit technology with the F-22 for example. But in 2020 that argument looses value when you can just as well spend the money on buying actual 5GFA . Russia has seriously dialed down work on the PAKFA, which is expecting just 1-2 serially produced aircraft in 2020, but eventually they'll get to a mature system that exists in decent numbers and has a roadmap of upgrades and enhancements (probably closer to 2030). Just buy it then.
The world is beginning development of 6GFA and here we are talking about a road map to 5GFA.