This is a big deal: The Senate today voted to halt production of the F-22 stealth fighter plane, and it did so 58-40, a margin much wider than expected.Time, as they say, is a blabbermouth.
Not only is this a major victory for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who lobbied strenuously (something he rarely does) to kill this program, and for President Barack Obama, who pledged to veto the defense bill if it contained a nickel for more F-22s. The vote might also mark the beginning of a new phase in defense politics, a scaling-back of the influence that defense contractors have over budgets and policies.
Then again, I might be dreaming. Surely things couldn't be changing quite that much. Could they?
The F-22 is wicked cool, but in today's geopolitical climate (partly cloudy, with pockets of insurgency), air superiority through fighter combat is obsolete. As Kaplan observes, the Raptor has never been deployed in battle.
The future belongs to drones.