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By 1991, the respective winners were the Lockheed led team and P&W, in a large part due to their more conservative and thus lower risk designs.

The then YF-22A ATF had evolved into the technological flagship of the 4th/5th generation fighter class - now embodied in the technologies in the F-22A and JSF.

While exceptionally agile, the 6,800 lb internal fuel capacity severely limited this aircraft.

Growing Soviet air power, especially the new Sukhoi Su-27 and Mikoyan Mi G-29, provided the impetus for further air superiority fighter development.

The aircraft is equipped with a dummy EOTS fairing under the nose (Imagery via Air Force Link).

This remarkable statement, and others of a similar ilk, explains much of the euphoria surrounding the Joint Strike Fighter in Canberra Defence leadership circles - the Joint Strike Fighter is incorrectly perceived to be a 'single engine F-22A clone'.

The F-22A aircraft, now known as the Raptor, has supersonic cruise engines, thrust vectoring, all aspect stealth capability, a large active phased array radar, and the innovative Pave Pillar avionics architecture, which shifted all signal and data processing into a group of centralised multiple processor chip computers.

It is an all weather, day/night, 24/7 air dominance air combat capability aircraft which, by definition, is multi role.

A side benefit was the ability to transit from runways in Holland and the UK to the FEBA in half the time the F-15 required.The US Air Force launched the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program aimed at replacing the F-15 with an aircraft providing an overwhelming capability margin over the Su-27/Mi G-29 - similar to that held by the F-15A over the Mi G-21 and Mi G-23.A key feature of the ATF was the addition of a supersonic cruise or 'supercruise' capability - the ability to remain supersonic on dry thrust as long as the fuel payload permitted.This was a period during which the Soviet empire reached the peak of its military power before its economic and political collapse, a period during which the high performance Sukhoi Su-27 and Mikoyan Mi G-29 entered large scale production, and massive Soviet tank armies presented the benchmark of land power worldwide.During this period the US Air Force relied upon its fleet of F-15A/C Eagle air superiority fighters, supported by the smaller but highly agile F-16A/C, as the means of breaking the back of Warpac air forces in the pivotal Central European theatre.

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