I enjoyed the bombcat update and agree that the 14 is an incredibly flexible ac- However, I can't let the speed is everything statement slide in here without quoting a little history
In close combat, look at the F4 in Vietnam- A great fast aircraft that couldn't turn with much older, much slower aircraft- I don't argue that hit and run dive tactics can pay off (i.e. Wildcat vs. Zero, followed by Hellcat vs. Zero) but if you are forced in close for tactical reasons you will loose- Check out the scores by our ‘Red’ teams flying F5s and 20s if you need proof that the fast fighter doesn’t necessarily have the advantage.
This is the point of high AOA flight and trust vectoring in current designs- Reducing turning radius and sitting nose high while barley moving provides an incredible advantage when you need to get on the opponents tail.
So let’s look at speed when you don’t want to get on the opponents tail- How about interception and CAP? Your buddy the F14 remains at the top of the heap with the F15 in the same ball park- However, speed isn’t what puts them there- Look at the 102, 104, 106 and their short time at the top of the food chain- For that matter consider the origins of the XR71 as an interceptor, or the MIG25- All were incredibly fast, but the 14 and 15s rule because of the ability to track and attack long range targets and then mix it up closer/slower/tighter with the survivors.
And in a SAM world, there is no such thing as enough speed which explains why the B1B comes home with pinecone FOD from time to time.
Speed isn’t going to help you out when you break away and take one up the tail pipe (like the Corvette on the Interstate—You might outrun the patrol car, but you won’t outrun their radio)- This is especially true with the adoption of off axis weapons- Where is the safe spot to break away from an ac that can accurately acquires anything running away over 180°?
The key, as always, is the optimum mix of speed, maneuverability, and weapons platform. This varies by role, but keep in mind that the top aces from WW2 flew slow and maneuverable ac- And even warthog drivers occasionally carry a sidewinder hoping that a fighter will be stupid enough to try to go one on one down in the weeds-
Which brings us to the last point, combine the right pilot with the correct technology mix and it doesn’t matter how fast the opponent is (within reason… don’t mix Zeros with Mig25s just to prove me wrong