Skip to comments.Is American Air Power on the Verge of Collapse?
Posted on 02/04/2009 8:38:43 AM PST by pobeda1945
The Australian think-tank, Air Power Australia (APA), has released another in their series of techno-strategy papers, this time analysing the advancements in Russian-built Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS) (http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-02.html), and what it means in global strategic terms for the Americans. The APA report is direct and unequivocal Russian radar and missiles have improved to the point where the US fleet of F-15s, F-16s and F/A-18s, as well as the planned Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), are not capable of surviving against these systems and unless the Americans build another four hundred-plus F-22s, they will lose the strategic advantage they have held since the end of the Cold War.
The result will be nations such as China, Iran and Venezuela thumbing their noses at the Americans, knowing that no President will commit to using force in the knowledge that hundreds of jets and pilots would be lost.
The paper comes a month after APA savaged the JSF (http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-01.html). APAs Dr. Carlo Kopp, who completed his PhD in radar engineering, simulated the radar signature of the F-35 and showed exactly how vulnerable it will be to the Russian radar systems and missiles that have emerged since the specification for the JSF was drafted over a decade ago. Lockheed-Martin has not publicly disputed Kopps findings yet.
The APA IADS study confirms, in tedious detail, what many of us have suspected or known for some time and what U.S. Air Force generals said repeatedly before being forcefully muzzled by the Bush Administration. That is the simple fact that the globalised economy has given Russian radar and missile designers the technology to close the gap with the US and EU designers in most areas which matter. The Russians have used this technology to digitize many Cold War missile and radar designs, and vastly improve post-Cold War designs. The new S-400 has no equivalent in the West, having outstripped and outgrown the Patriot.
The Russians obviously spent a lot of time thinking about how the Americans busted the Iraqi IADS in 1991 and the Serbian IADS in 1999. Like chess players, they looked at what the Americans used, where they were going, and figured out how to checkmate the mighty US Air Force.
Russian industry is now building and marketing short-range missile systems specifically built to shoot down American HARM anti-radar missiles and cruise missiles. They are also putting electronic countermeasures and decoys on their radars to prevent missiles and smart bombs from hitting them. Further, the Russians are currently testing a 400 km range missile, the 40N6, so they can shoot down or drive off American jamming aircraft like the Prowler, Growler and Compass Call. These same missiles can be used to keep the Rivet Joint and AWACS electronic reconnaissance systems out of useful range.
In strategic terms, the Americans are now in real trouble. China is fielding around 500 Russian Flankers and the latest Russian IADS. Iran is fielding the SA-20, and already has the SA-5, upgraded Chinese SA-2s and, some people claim, the HQ-9s cloned SA-20s. Further, the US aerial tanker fleet is 40-years-old, and the fighter fleet was mostly built twenty-five years ago many of the F-15s are now older than the pilots flying them. Iraq and Afghanistan have bankrupted the U.S. defence budget and now Wall Street has bankrupted the U.S. economy.
The only modern and credible fighter the Americans have is the F-22, and it is the only way they can recapitalise their collapsing fighter fleet in the next decade, with an aircraft which can actually survive the first day of an air war. The F-35 is not an F-22 and can never become an F-22. The F-35 is, first and foremost, an export fighter program.
We should not mislead ourselves about the seriousness of this matter. Leading American analyst Dr. Richard Hallion, in a recent interview commented: Today, if NATO wanted to establish an air exclusion zone over Georgia, it could not do so with any aircraft other than the 5th Generation F-22 Raptor....
Who is most to blame for American air power now teetering on the edge of collapse?
Clearly it has been the Bush Administration, who considered the EU fighter industry a more important enemy to kill than exported Russian Sukhoi fighters and Almaz SAM systems. Rather than sticking with the conservative US Air Force plan for 700+ F-22s, they chopped the number down to 180 aircraft. Why? To force every American service and every American ally to buy into the F-35 monopoly. Where does this leave us Europeans? We have, since the start of the Cold War, depended on the Americans to provide the fighter top cover, the SAM suppression and the standoff radar jamming none of us were prepared to fund. We, much like the Americans, overindulged in the peace dividend and downsized several times over. The mighty collective NATO air forces are now a pale shadow of what they were in 1989.
If the Obama Administration decides to follow the Bush Administration policy to terminate F-22 production, the strategic consequences will be just as grave for Americas NATO allies as they will be for America.
I remember the ‘think tanks’ that claimed for fifteen years the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank was ‘inferior’ to the T-72’s. They said effective kill ranges were less than 1,500 yards, yada yada yada.
Then we saw what took place in the first Gulf War, and afterwards duly noted 1)We had tank kills up to approaching 4,000 yards and 2) It was tougher at the training center against the Op For.
I don’t take this seriously as a result.
as long as all the good secrets are hidden from the whitehouse, we’ll be OK
Head in sand BUMP
Well yeah, just look at the awesome performance of the Russian air defense system in Syria. When the American jets from Israel tried to take out the nuclear weapons production facility, the Russian air defense system well, uh. . .
wait, um, never mind.
Well, the budget for 700 F-22’s now looks cheap compared to Obama’s bailout bill. But at best it would buy us a decade, then these Russian/Chinese systems would evolve far enough to beat the F-22, also. Manned fighters are as dead as the battleship in 1941 - it’s just going to take a tragic battle outcome to prove it to a certain caste of knuckleheads. The future is UAVs, satellites, and cyberwars conducted from bunkers deep beneath Nevads and Colorado.
Weapons systems and countermeasures are in a neverending game of leap-frog. Always have been and always will.
Didn't the Syrians employ these systems when the Israelis flew clear across their country and took out TWO strategic assets.
I repeat--the Israelis flew clear across their country
Russian junk. This article is total BS.
>> Well, the budget for 700 F-22s now looks cheap compared to Obamas bailout bill.
...and defense spending actually IS economic stimulus, unlike the welfare pork that now comprises the so-called “bailout bill”.
What’s more, you can demand that defense funds be spent in the USA, without so directly pissing off the rest of world.
We ought to be putting people back to work not only on more fighters, but also on more advanced missile systems.
These folks need to google the term “disinformation”.
Yes, it is.
Thank you for that Badeye, also remember the militating against the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and a number of other arms and to top it off, people like John F’n Kerry were the ones trying to defeat the development of those very vehicles and arms.
Our domestic enemy really needs to be dealt with. God bless our loyal, outstanding troops wherever they are around the world.
Nobody in the world can approach the combined skill of the US military in terms of using their weapons to their full potential. Nobody else trains like we train; they can't afford it.
You saw what took place in a war with an untrained unmotivated army using the export version of old Soviet tanks. It would have been a different different fight if those had been Russian troops.
Hmmm, Euro-weenies should have thought of that when they were splurging on their economy-busting social programs while snubbing their noses at us.
What has come to the forefront lately is the need for infantry and counter insurgency-just like the Philippines at the turn of the 20th Century. Didn't the pundits say at one time push button war would take over and we wouldn't need ground troops?
The A-10, also written off, is proving valuable. Close air support has returned.
I say our future military is more like carrying a bag of golf clubs. You need to have more than one club.
Every time the air superiority fighter has been “over” the need comes right back again. The F-15 has been boss for 30 years. I say the F-22 will probably be the boss for 30 more. Let's not kill it.
The “experts” really inflated the capabilities of the older Soviet era fighter, so I’m not really going to panic yet. Iraq had a pretty extensive integrated air defense system too. Right up until about a week after the start of Desert Storm.
The players include a mini fighter mafia, a guy that runs a company that wants to upgrade and extend the life on the F-111's, and a bunch of politicians on both sides.
Free world fighter aviation definitely faces challenges of age, funding, and emerging threats, but this report should be taken with a grain of salt.
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