The F-18 is a beloved jet. The Navy might be happy with this. Always better to have 2 engines over the open ocean than just one. (The F-35 has a single engine.)
How one creates a “comparable” version of the F-18 seems quite a challenge to say the least. Trump’s challenge might keep Lockheed a little more honest however. (This is of course relative. We are talking about Boeing and the defense contractor game here.)
In reality we should probably be asking whether we should even have human pilots in the next generation of fighters. (This would not be popular with the pilot corps within the military but it is time to really consider this in a serious way. A great opportunity actually.)
And hey, why not also take this opportunity to gratuitously post one of the greatest bits of military propaganda to come out of the 1980s?
I actually grew up right near NAS Oceana and the sound of F-14s screeching across the sky or banking while coming in for a landing always brings a smile to my face even now. (And for the record, even as a little kid I had a problem with the bazillions of [often crony – though I didn’t understand it then] dollars spent on “defense.”)
No joke. I was a weird kid.