Strategy Page on the F/A-22 Raptor:
It’s RCS (Radar Cross Section) is the equivalent, for a radar, to a metal marble. The less stealthy (and much cheaper) F-35, is equal to a metal golf ball. The F-35 stealthiness is a bit better than the B-2 bomber, which, in turn, was twice as good as that on the even older F-117.
This info was made public in order to drum up interest in cutting F-35 production in favor of more F-22s. I’ve been accused of being anti-Raptor in the past, but while skeptical that the need for 5th Generation fighters is all that great right now, I recognize that not only will it be nice to have some on hand if they’re needed but that by producing them now we retain the capability to build more if the need arises.
However, I’m skeptical of any plan to cut F-35s in order to get more F-22s. I fully realize that F-22s will have a major role to play in any war against a modern military, but F-35s will have many more opportunities to contribute against a much-wider spectrum of foes. When you toss in the fact that the F-35 is not only an inter-service project but an international one, I think it become clear that major cuts in the F-35 don’t make a lot of sense. Besides, cutting Air Force F-35s (the cheapest variants) won’t save nearly as much as cutting the more expensive versions, yet cutting those more-expensive versions won’t work as the Navy and Marines are counting on them for the future.
Even F-35s with golf ball-sized radar cross-sections are overkill for nearly all of our likely foes. While there’s no doubt that having some F-22s available will be crucial, chopping two F-35s for each additional F-22 just doesn’t seem to make sense to ol’ Murdoc.