Sir - According to your report "Worth fighting for" (Flight International, 14-20 December, 1994, P40) the French air force is planning to buy Dassault Rafale fighters for use until 2055.

Although I have great respect for the aircraft that literally brought the house down on a US defence secretary, I wonder how many of today's Top Guns would care to face modern combat in fighters initially produced in 1935 - even with a mid-life update in the 1960s.

Has the technical development of manned fighters reached a plateau, as the steam-railway engine did in about 1910, or (happy thought) have the military decided that they don't really expect air combat in the next century?



East Sussex, UK

Source: Flight International