Thanks @whareagle. That was a really good read. He didn’t mention it, but I think that the S also has a bit more thrust.
Thought provoking paragraph…
35 years prior to my graduation in 1980 was 1945. Jets were rare then with the Lockheed P-80 shooting star designed in 1943 and that was it, and it was not used in WWII. The Germans had a couple, the British had the Glouster Meteor, etc. Still, the piston engine was king. The Spitfire, the Mustang, the B-29 and so on. In 1980, 35 years later, the USAF was flying the A-10, the F-16, the F-15C, and the B-52. Now in 2016, 36 years after 1980, the USAF is flying the A-10, the F-16, the F-15C, and the B-52. Hmmmm.
I’d say the simple counter argument is in 1980-ish the Sovs were flying the MiG-29, the Su-27, the Su-25, and the Tu-22M. Today the Russians (and everyone with fifteen shekels) is flying the MiG-29, the Su-27, the Su-25, and the Tu-22M. There’s no point in designing and building a new and better wunderwaffen if you’re current weapons are apt for the job. The only exceptions to this I can think of (F-22, F-35, MV-22) are programs that began somewhere in the 1980s and were deemed far enough along to warrant completion.
What if I only have five bushels of barely?
Then Igor will make you special deal, because you are good friend to Igor, and he knows you want to help him out.
We’ve also hit material limits about what we can reasonably do for a reasonable price. From 1945 to 1980 was pretty much the time required for jet engines to mature. Right now it’s all about the small incremental improvements in material sciences and maintenance practices to get longer hours for less fuel and less money.
Kind of the “law of diminishing returns”.
Or something like that…
You also have to remember that the F15, F16 and even the A10 of 2016 are not the same as the F15, F16 and A10 of 1980. Same airframe, very different avioncs and capabilities. Significant advances have been made, but they are mostly under the hood.