If there is a conflict, will the US aircraft be able to penetrate the Russian air defense system?

In the context of the increasingly tense European situation, American experts analyzed the outcome of a hypothetical war between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

F-35 image provided by Duncan Monk©️

In an article published on the official website of the Atlantic Council, the author Scott Cooper, a former lieutenant colonel, a pilot of the US Marines, who used to fly electric combat aircraft EA-6 Prowler, said that Russia has significant advantages if a hypothetical war between Russia and NATO occurs.

In the article, retired military officer Scott Cooper did not express anti-Russian sentiments, but only objectively analyzed the world situation and assessed the military potential of the parties.

Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the parties

According to Scott Cooper, fighting directly with Russian ground forces is a risky move. The only chance for NATO to win is to gain air superiority.

The author points out that, during the war in Vietnam, the US military lost more than 3,300 aircraft, most of which were destroyed by anti-aircraft artillery and S-75 complexes provided by the Soviet Union.

Former officer Scott Cooper said that the Pentagon has spent a lot of effort to correct mistakes, improve logistics and material security for the military. During the Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the US military presented a completely different look.

During the 40 days and nights of this campaign, the US military only shot down 23 aircraft. Since then, the US and NATO air forces are arguably the most powerful in the world.

“The Air Force will be our main war tool,” said Scott Cooper.

However, the former US military officer must admit that the main war tool of the US and NATO can only gain superiority in 3rd world countries or terrorist forces. If there is a conflict with a major weapons power like Russia, the use of air force to fight, may not be as effective.

Expert Scott Cooper assessed that Russia’s S-300 and S-400 air defense systems are completely capable of shooting down NATO weapons. In addition, Moscow also sold a lot of those systems to many other countries.

According to the data obtained by Mr. Scott Cooper, NATO currently has about 1,800 aircraft in Europe, more than half of which are F-16s and Europhighter Typhoon multirole attack aircraft. While this is too simple a goal for Russia’s long-range air defense system.

In addition, Moscow is always ready to establish a no-fly zone for areas that are closely guarded against attacks from the ground, from the sea and from the air. In these areas, the US and its allies will certainly suffer enormous losses if conflict with Russia.

The trump card of the US military

Former pilot Scott Cooper pointed out that the Pentagon has aces in hand, which are stealth fighters F-22, F-35, strategic bomber B-2, and soon B -21, RQ-170 Sentinel drone.

According to Mr. Cooper, with this force of stealth aircraft, Russia’s air defense system can be suppressed. This will be an opportunity to pave the way for other fighters. Having gained air superiority, the ground forces began to organize the attack.

The problem is that in fact, the number of US stealth aircraft is too small to defeat the Russian Aerospace Forces. 

Currently, the armies of four NATO countries have been equipped with F-35s, including Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway. There are 3 countries that have ordered: Belgium, Denmark, Poland.

In addition, Finland has also signed a contract with the US, ordering 64 F-35s to replace the F-18CD with a total value of up to tens of billions of euros, the delivery time is from 2025-2030.

In the Asia-Pacific, the US has provided F-35 stealth aircraft to allies such as Japan, South Korea and Australia.

Does Russia possess a “miracle” to neutralize stealth technology?

The Pentagon has claimed that US stealth aircraft can penetrate any air defense system. However, when all three combinations of S-300, S-400 and S-500 are combined, this concept is not necessarily correct.

According to experts, stealth technology has many limitations. If the air defense system operates in the X-band, the stealth aircraft cannot be detected.

If the air defense system operates in the ultra-short-wave range like Russia’s advanced air defense systems, can the aircraft be stealthy? This question is still unanswered.

Furthermore, Russia’s air defense divisions have multiple interlocking radar systems, controlling the airspace from multiple directions. Therefore, finding a hiding place for the F-35 is indeed not easy.

Some experts believe that, precisely because the US does not want its NATO ally to own the Russian S-400 complex, Turkey has been excluded from Washington’s F-35 production program. The US says the S-400 complex is not compatible with its 5th generation fighter.

However, the root cause of the incident is said to be the US’s concern that the S-400 complex could detect the F-35 stealth fighter. Because if that turns out to be true, the most important capability of the new generation of American fighters will be disabled and reduced in value in the arms market.

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