“The F-22 could have been the next fighter to do this. So we dump it for a tri-service turd.”
A lot of people have this impression from the trashing it’s received in the media. Instead, it’s an operational fighter being deployed where we really want to intimidate an adversary.
Reflect on the fact that the main reason the F-22 lines shut down is that no foreign sales were allowed - it’s considered too good (and too classified) for even our closest allies. Japan and Australia both wanted F-22s.
Time will tell if I am correct in my armchair evaluation. I still believe the F-22 is an aircraft we need in large numbers. A plane kicked to the side for one does everything but excels at nothing.
Air Supremacy requires a dedicated fighter, not a multi-role fighter/bomber STOVL carrier plane.