“Quantity has a quality all its own” is a phrase that’s been popular in U.S. military circles for decades, and is most often attributed to Stalin.

It’s also variously attributed to Lenin, Mao and even former Sen. Sam Nunn. Regardless of its origin, the American defense establishment’s response to that approach helped form the basis of U.S. military tactics and strategy during the Cold War.

The Soviet Union may have had more tanks, ships, missiles, etc., but America’s were going to be better. This response also extended to aircraft and the people who flew them — where the enemy’s greater numbers in planes would be offset, it was hoped, not just with superior equipment but with better-trained operators of that equipment.

Like the old Soviet Union, current-day China is another potential U.S. adversary that has traditionally subscribed to a quantity-over-quality military philosophy, and is attempting to address this deficiency in its air force.