As a retired military Air Force colonel, I would suggest that this decision needs some sober and objective thought. Political and air force vested interests aside, perhaps some thought should be given to the evolution of warfare occurring now and in the next 20 years. The days of cavalry, horses and crossbows are gone and any casual student of military history or current events can conclude that the era of the fighter pilot as a factor in airpower is drawing to a close. We are seeing the last generations of the fighter pilot, and probably already past the military utility of horrendously expensive manned fighter aircraft. The mid east conflict has shown in spades the value of unmanned and remotely controlled aircraft in reconnaissance, interdiction and close ground attack roles. There is no doubt that soon the air to air combat mission will be unmanned. The same for the maritime patrol roles or to meet any airspace sovereignty requirements. No fighter pilot can begin to match an unmanned opponent that can pull over 30gs, piloted by a team in a trailer under no physical combat stress or personal danger, with a 360 degree view of the airspace, and a greater loiter time. It is time to quit fighting the past war and think ahead. For fractions of the cost, we can acquire 10 times the capability with unmanned aircraft. The next generation of fighter aircraft is unmanned. This is inevitable.