This is coolbert:
Thanks to Strategy Page we have an article describing the difficulties with the development of that Russian 5th Generation warplane what it is called. 5th Generation as in JET aircraft.
"The 5th Generation Is Cursed"
That discussion of what constitutes a "generation" and the cost factors most interesting.
"The latest American warplanes, the F-22 and F-35, are often called '5th generation' fighters. This leaves many wondering what the other generations were. The reference is to jet fighters, and the first generation was developed during and right after World War II (German Me-262, British Meteor, U.S. F-80, and Russian MiG-15). These aircraft were, even by the standards of the time, difficult to fly and unreliable (especially the engines). The 2nd generation (1950s) included more reliable but still dangerous to operate aircraft like the F-104 and MiG-21. The 3rd generation (1960s) included F-4 and MiG-23. The 4th generation (1970s) included F-16 and MiG-29. Each generation has been about twice as expensive (on average, in constant dollars) as the previous one. But each generation is also about twice as safe to fly and cheaper to operate. Naturally, each generation is more than twice as effective as the previous one."
My reckoning of the "generations" not agreeing 100 % but not so totally different either.
In my estimation:
First generation those jet fighters prior to the Korean War era. [Me-262]
Second generation those jet fighters of the Korean War era. [F-86]
Third generation those jet fighters of the Vietnam War era. [F-4]
Fourth generation those jet fighters of the post Vietnam War era. [F-16]
And this Fifth generation the current NEW "stealthy" jet warplanes. [F-22]
In a nutshell:
* Each subsequent generation of jet fighter more expensive but the performance just much better as well.
* And not only a better plane but A MUCH MORE LONG LASTING AIRCRAFT AS WELL!
* That jet fighter also no longer merely an air superiority aircraft but having a multi-role mission! Able to do many things well!
Drawbacks to the current 4th and now 5th generation jet fighter planes being:
* Cost so much in some instance [$100 million per F-22] that only a small limited number can ever be procured.
* Time need to manufacture ONE aircraft measured in years. Eighteen months to be exact with a F-15.
[P.S. This blog entry heavily edited from the original.]