The F35 is not a replacement, it is in addition too the F-series you mentioned.Mr. Burnett is incorrect. The most expensive airplane ever developed, on a per plane basis, is the B-2 stealth bomber. As a note on the F-22, Defense Secretary Gates assumes in his budget that a future opponent will "not" be China or Russia. For example, he thinks we have a proper balance of F-22's, F-15's, F-18's etc...However, in exercises I have personally participated in we have not faired well in simulated air combat with Russian and Indian SU-37's and other fighters. This applies both to the F-15's and F-18's. The question is, do we currently have a "top-of-the-line" fighter to take on the Chinese say, in a dispute over Taiwan? I don't think so.
Secretary Gates should rethink his budget, as least from the perspective of air combat and air supremacy. The proposed F-35 is not a fighter in the true sense of the word so is not a good replacement candidate for more F-22's.
Another tool for your tool bag, sir.