The RAF's new Typhoon fighter has received its share of criticism as being a weapon designed for a Cold War that no longer exists - or, less kindly, as an expensive toy for Air Marshals wanting to get their rocks off.
Truth be told, even the Air Marshals were beginning to wonder whether they'd backed the wrong horse. To impress Tony Blair when the Defence Budget came around, you needed to be seen to be pointing in the direction he favoured. And so, in last year's official RAF Strategy 2006 document, the priority was to 'develop expeditionary airpower', which means supporting the Army in far-flung operations, for which the Typhoon is not at all ideally suited.
And then along comes our old friend the Fighting Bear - no, not Sackerson, but the Tu95. And not just in ones or twos, but now trying its luck in wings of eight at a time over the North Atlantic. Not much of a threat ? Don't laugh: the Tu95 is no older than the B52 - both perfectly serviceable airframes into which modern avionics and missiles can be loaded.
And that's how quickly events move on in the real world. Trouble is, though Russia can turn stroppy overnight, new aircraft programmes take, ooh, around 20 years. Maybe not such a bad investment after all.
(Which doesn't excuse the aircraft carriers, though !)