For all the yelling and shouting over the Department of Defense’s much-maligned F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, there’s an unusual, often overlooked footnote in the trillion-dollar project’s history: its origins as an experimental Soviet fighter that only fell into Lockheed Martin’s lap because a desperate Russian aerospace company needed some cold, hard cash.

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U.S. Air Force photo

The United States Air Force seems to have finally recognized that it will have to operate in permissive airspace fighting against poorly armed insurgents for the foreseeable future.

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