Air Power 101 for New Members

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OPSSG

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12. Air Power Generation

(1) After discussing the four roles of air power and the limits of air power, a brief introduction to capability management may provide insight on how a military organisation that employs air power works. Capability management is organized around a concept of operations (CONOPS), because the CONOPS describe how a specified course of action is to be executed. CONOPS can also be defined as the planned positioning and movement of forces to gain an advantage over an enemy.The ability to execute the specified course of action depends on the relationship between three key factors, as follows:

(a) combat readiness/availability;

(b) sustainable capability; and

(c) force structure.​

For an air force to perform its four roles, we must also look at all three interdependent key factors and the four sub-elements of combat readiness/availability [which includes (a-i) equipment; (a-ii) people; (a-iii) units; and (a-iv) infrastructure]. This means that each factor or sub-element on its own, do not tell the whole story about an air force's capability. Each factor of total combat fleet size or readiness cannot tell us about sortie generation capability. If anyone is really interested in the topic of F-16 operating and support costs, kindly take a look at this June 2006 NPS MBA thesis/report (which relates to Poland's F-16 purchase): "Analysis and Forecasting of Operating and Support costs for F-16 C/D". This thesis/report is a useful starting point for a reader to acquaint himself on the basic support issues discussed in this post.
Concept Check on the Importance of Currency For Combat:-

9 April 2013 — Air Force officials will begin to stand down active-duty combat units starting April 9 to ensure the remaining units supporting worldwide operations can maintain sufficient readiness through the remainder of the fiscal year... Gen. Mike Hostage, the ACC commander said:
"We're entering uncharted territory in terms of how we've had to take this year's cuts and make adjustments to mitigate the most serious impacts," Hostage said. "Remaining as mission-ready as possible for combatant commanders is our priority, and we're prioritizing spending to ensure this imperative is met."​
Units that are stood down will shift their emphasis to ground training. They will use flight simulators to the extent possible within existing contracts, and conduct academic training to maintain basic skills and knowledge of their aircraft. As funding allows, aircrews will also complete formal ground training courses, conduct non-flying exercises and improve local flying-related programs and guidance...

Although each weapon system is unique, on average aircrews lose currency to fly combat missions within 90 to 120 days of not flying. It generally takes 60 to 90 days to conduct the training needed to return aircrews to mission-ready status, and the time and cost associated with that retraining increases the longer that crews stay on the ground. Hostage said:
"This will have a significant and multi-year impact on our operational readiness... But right now, there is no other acceptable way to implement these cuts."​
*The above is an extract of a USAF article: "Air Combat Command stands down units due to budget cuts"
(2) Air power generation is the ability to raise, train and sustain aircraft generation to ensure continuous launch and recovery of aircraft (or sortie generate). For illustrative purposes, an air force's ability to conduct air power generation can be measured by using two interdependent key factors of force structure and combat readiness/availability [which includes the four sub-elements (a-i) to (a-iv) listed above].
Sortie Generation Concept Check:-

In this illustration, the total sorties generated (before attrition) can be calculated with reference to the formula below:

Total sorties = fleet size x combat readiness/availability* x No. of sorties flown per day**.​

For example, the Vietnam Air Force (VAF) may have more fighters (estimated to be about 200 fighters for the VAF) than the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) (estimated to be about 120 fighters for the RSAF). However, a force structure comparison of fighters (i.e. using just one of the three interdependent key factors) is not accurate or meaningful if it is simply done by comparing fleet sizes on each side. It needs to factor in combat readiness/availability. Below is a sample calculation made with reference to the formula shown below:

VAF Sorties per day = 200 x 0.5* x 3**
............................................... = 300
VAF Sorties in 30 days = 300 x 30
............................................... = 9,000

RSAF Sorties per day = 120 x 0.8* x 4**
............................................... = 384
RSAF Sorties in 30 days = 384 x 30
............................................... = 11,520

The above example contains indicative calculations that are not representative of actual capabilities of both air forces. Conceptually, the above example shows that it is possible for a small air force with a smaller fleet of combat aircraft to out-sortie-generate a medium sized air force by 2,520 sorties over a 30-day campaign period.​
Despite its small size, with 5 fighter squadrons (3x F-16C/D squadrons, 1x F-15SG squadron and 1x F-5S squadron - all 5 squadrons are BVR capable), the RSAF as a tertiary air force can generate more sorties (with much more capable aircraft) than larger air forces in South East Asia. In many war scenarios numbers do matter, but it is: (aa) the number of sorties generated by capable and modern platforms; (bb) how these sorties are gainfully employed; and (cc) how well an air force performs at a systems level, that matter in a battle for the control of the air.
(3) Taking a more holistic view on air power generation by looking at the three key factors and four sub-elements of combat readiness, would tell us more about an air force's capability to: (1 of 4) contest for control of the air; (2 of 4) attack an enemy; (3 of 4) conduct air mobility missions; or (4 of 4) complete its ISTAR mission (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance) in support of the air, land or sea campaign. Capability management means raising, training and sustaining in-service capabilities through the coordination of fundamental inputs to capability and it is:

(i) not just about the asset/platform alone;

(ii) much more than buying the 'best' or the 'right' equipment to support the asset/platform;

(iii) about training people and units to a certain level of combat readiness in order to execute a plan in accordance with a CONOPS;

(iv) about having the right organisational structure and base infrastructure to support the CONOPS;

(v) about sustainable capability and this includes retaining the technical ability gained by the organisation with the asset/platform acquired; and

(vi) about having the budget to sustain the assets/platforms and base infrastructure after acquisition on the basis of projected through-life costs of the assets/platforms acquired.​

(4) It is also important not to get certain key terms, like strategy, tactics, battle and CONOPS confused. A reference to strategy, for example, could mean the use of military power to achieve political and/or military ends.
Some Key Terms Defined for Readers
(1) Strategy - The overall concept of using military power to achieve political and/or military ends

(2) Tactics* - The art of winning battles and engagements (and this idea is always tied to a specific area of operations, usually at a lower level of command and against a specific enemy)

(3) Battle - A violent collision of forces at a specific time and place

(4) CONOPS - The planned positioning and movement of forces to gain an advantage over the enemy

------------------------------------------------------------
Note: *The following definition of tactics may also be used:
(i) The employment of units in combat (FM 3-0).

(ii) It includes the ordered arrangement and maneuver of units in relation to each other, the terrain and the enemy to translate potential combat power into victorious battles and engagements. (FM 3-0 & FM 3-90).​
 
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OPSSG

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13. Air Power and Statecraft

(1) A nation that is able to build a diverse network of defence relationships and actively contributes to regional and international security is able to foster improved understanding, engage in confidence building measures, and facilitate practical cooperation between air forces and naval air to tackle common security challenges. Some readers would assume that the air power tool kit described in this paragraph is only available and applicable to:

(i) the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UN_SC-P5), namely, US, China, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom (with data extracted from Flight International's: World Air Forces 2013), who are nuclear powers with world leading defence budgets, possessing sophisticated air forces with tertiary capabilities and having substantial naval air to support their blue water navies;
UN_SC-P5 said:
The United States of America (US)
2012 defence spending • US$682 billion (4.4% of GDP)

USAF • A-10A/C (351) • AC-130H (37) • B-1B (66) • B-2 (19) • B-52H (78) • F-15C (218) • F-15E (219) • F-16C (855) • F-22 (186) • F-35A (12) •

People's Republic of China
2012 defence spending • US$166 billion (2.0% of GDP)

PLAAF • H-6 (120) • J-7 (389) • J-8 (96) • J-10 (200) • J-11 (273) • JH-7 (72) • Q-5 (119) •

The Russian Federation
2012 defence spending • US$90.7 billion (4.4% of GDP)

RuAF • Mig-25 (15) • Mig-29 (250) • Mig-31 (124) • Su-24 (270) • Su-25 (180) • Su-27/30 (260) • Su-34 (16) • Tu-22 (105) • Tu-95 (55) • Tu-160 (12) •

The United Kingdom
2012 defence spending • US$60.8 billion (2.5% of GDP)

RAF • Typhoon (73) • F-35B (2) • Tornado GR4 (104) •

The French Republic
2012 defence spending • US$58.9 billion (2.3% of GDP)

ALA • Mirage 2000C/D/N (37/61/34) • Mirage 2000-5 (27) • Mirage F1CR (13) • Rafale B/C (71) •

*Information on 2012 defence spending extracted from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Military Expenditure Database.
(ii) the major regional powers, namely, Germany (defense spending of US$45.8 billion in 2012), Japan (defense spending of US$59.3 billion in 2012), India (defense spending of US$46.1 billion in 2012), and Saudi Arabia (defense spending of US$56.7 billion in 2012) with very large defence budgets of US$35 billion and above, many of whom have very capable air forces with tertiary capabilities. With the exception of Saudi Arabia (which does not have a blue water navy), these major regional powers have significant naval air capabilities to support their blue water navies;

(iii) middle powers, like Australia (defense spending of US$26.2 billion in 2012), Brazil (defense spending of US$33.1 billion in 2012), Canada (defense spending of US$22.5 billion in 2012), Italy (defense spending of US$34 billion in 2012), and South Korea (defense spending of US$31.7 billion in 2012) with large defence budgets between US$20 billion to US$34.9 billion that fund capable air forces with tertiary capabilities, with naval air capabilities to support their capable navies that can project power abroad;

(iv) aspiring middle powers, like Colombia (defense spending of US$12.1 billion in 2012), Israel (defense spending of US$14.6 billion in 2012), Spain (defense spending of US$11.5 billion in 2012), Turkey (defense spending of US$18.2 billion in 2012) and UAE (defense spending of US$19.1 billion in 2011) with significant defence budgets between US$11 billion to US$19.9 billion that fund capable air forces with tertiary capabilities, with naval air capabilities to support their green water navies that may have means to project power abroad; or

(v) rising powers, like Netherlands (defense spending of US$9.8 billion in 2012), Poland (defense spending of US$9.3 billion in 2012), Singapore (defense spending of US$9.7 billion in 2012), and Taiwan (defense spending of US$10.7 billion in 2012) with mid-sized defence budgets between US$9 billion to US$10.9 billion that fund capable air forces, with some naval air capabilities may be able to project power in the near abroad.​

(2) The air power tool kit described above is not just applicable to the UN_SC-P5, major regional powers, middle powers, aspiring middle powers or rising powers. The air power tool kit is available and used by local powers and even by nations with small/tiny air forces. Local powers is a fluid concept used to denote a group of countries with defence budgets of US$8.9 billion or less with some interesting military capabilities that are less than middle and rising powers but more than most other countries. Other local powers include, Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam. With few exceptions, local powers have air forces with a mixed bag of capabilities (i.e. most are not full spectrum air forces and some have tiny/small air forces), have green water navies, with limited naval air, that enable these countries project limited power within and from their immediate region.

(3) The capabilities of modern small to medium sized air forces will be increasingly interdependent on coalition and partner inter-operability, for the spectrum of air operations ranging from humanitarian relief, peace keeping to war.

• For example between 2003 to 2008, RSAF K-135Rs were deployed 5 times to Iraq in Operation Blue Orchid (in support of coalition efforts in Operation Iraqi Freedom). Singaporean KC-135Rs refueled over 1,400 coalition aircraft (downloading 14 million pounds of fuel) in over 300 air missions in Operation Blue Orchid. The 300 air refueling missions had a second order effect of improving the time on station for coalition aircraft and had a third order effect of increasing the duration and responsiveness of each of the 1,400 strike and other sorties launched by coalition members.​

(4) The presence of natural boundaries (the Pacific and Atlantic oceans), with Canada to the north and Mexico to the south, means that continental US is geo-strategically advantaged (i.e. no neighbouring countries that are a military threat). However, having air power and being geo-strategically advantaged does not make a country immune to attacks from the air.

• For example, on 7 December 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked from the air by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942 boosted US morale. In the face of a series of stunning reversal of fortunes for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and by late 1944, they were forced to form the Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (or Special Attack Unit) to conduct Kamikaze attacks on US and allied forces advancing towards Japan through island hopping. Thereafter, US air power delivered the first nuclear bomb on 6 August 1945 at Hiroshima; and the second nuclear bomb on 9 August 1945 at Nagasaki. Nuclear power delivered by air was instrumental in bringing the Empire of Japan to its knees (Japan surrendered on 2 September 1945).​
All states, including the US is vulnerable to asymmetric threats; if what we mean by vulnerability is merely that someone can successfully carry out a terrorist act. A successful terrorist act does not mean that a state will yield to the adversary's political/strategic intent. Terror acts are no longer waged on a local scale with limited goals, but by global networks of cells with grander grotesque agendas. After 9-11 the US Government understood that global terrorism is no longer ad hoc but strategic in its "global media spectacular" objectives. While US air power did not stop air attacks on US soil, the US Government conducted combat air patrols over US cities under Operation Noble Eagle. Beyond Operation Noble Eagle, the US was also able to use air power in Operation Enduring Freedom to stop further 9-11 suicide attacks by attacking al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. While the US administration under President George Bush II understood that it cannot just yield to the political/strategic intent of the al-Qaeda leadership, it is not certain that the US understands the strategic thinking behind al-Qaeda's actions in broadening the battlefield, to weaken the US.
• Using hijacked airliners, on 11 September 2001, the US was subject to four coordinated suicide attacks from the air, in New York City and in Washington. Until 9-11 the usual concept of a hijacking was that a group (or individual) takes over a plane, holds the passengers as hostages, and issues demands. The hijackings on 9-11 introduced an entirely new concept: the use of planes as missiles to crash into tall buildings. On 7 October 2001, US Special Forces supported by US air power helped the Northern Alliance over throw Mullah Muhammad Omar and the then Taliban Government (who hosted and aided al-Qaeda). After years of air strikes and continued war in the AfPak region directed at al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, the Lashkar-eTayyiba, the Tehreek-e-Taliban, and the Haqqani Network, just to name a few of the militant groups (to address al-Qaeda's strategy of leveraging on local militant networks in the AfPak region); US air power inserted their SEALs into Abbottabad, Pakistan, where they killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, on 2 May 2011.​
(5) While air power has enabled the US to kill members of the al-Qaeda leadership, they are less successful against the Taliban. Mullah Muhammad Omar, resides well outside the area where the Predator/Reaper strikes are occurring. Taliban’s inner shura, is also located in Baluchistan and most of them have sent their children to Pakistani schools there. In Afghanistan, the US signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Afgahn Government that committed a complete drawdown of US troops by the end of 2014. As of December 2012, a total of 2,043 U.S. troops died and so-called insider attacks by members of the Afghan military against ISAF increased exponentially. As the above US example shows, a country's approach to defence is shaped by both its the unique circumstances and the enduring geostrategic limitations it has to face, especially since the US (and US allies with troops in Afghanistan) prefer not to risk war with a nuclear armed Pakistan over transnational insurgents and terrorists, in an area with porous borders. At the recent March 2013 CSIS organised, Ground Forces Dialogue, Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster said that throughout US history (see the CSIS video of the event):
"Our tendency is to decide what we would like to do [and] then assume that's going to be relevant to the problem.... We make these projections into the future that are unrealistic and, as a result, we create vulnerabilities that our enemies exploit."
 
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OPSSG

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14. Why the Middle East and Asia are on Alert 5

(1) Defence spending is set to fall in North America and Europe, but it would rise for Asia and the Middle East, where geo-strategic concerns, regional and extra regional rivalry complicate defence planning ensuring that the potential for armed conflict remains high.
Extract of World Air Forces - 2013

Iran - Combat Aircraft
F-4D/E/RF-4E - 28
F-5E - 20
F-5F - 10
F-6 - 18
F-7 - 17
F-14 - 26
MiG-29 - 16
Mirage F1 - 5
Su-24 - 27
(2) Looking at the above 2013 Iranian fighter numbers, from a homeland defence perspective for the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), at least two of these countries (namely, Saudi Arabia spending US$56.7 billion a year on defence and UAE spending US$19.1 billion a year on defence), would be more capable of taking on the Iranians in any air battle over their own air space. Beyond Saudi Arabia and UAE, even the other members of the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar) have air forces that are tiny/small; but these four air forces are not technologically over-matched by Iran (which suffers from an American arms embargo for their American made fighters). Fortunately for the six GCC countries, they do not share a common land border with Iran; and from a control of the air perspective against Iranian fighters, at least two GCC countries have significant control of the air capabilities. But unfortunately, that is not the issue. Iran has built long-range rocket forces not to wage war against other land forces but to conduct coercive missile campaigns against neighboring GCC countries and to contest access to nearby seas or what the US military terms as anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) systems. The issue for GCC countries: What if, Iran acts against GCC interests again?
ISS said:
Extract from the Military Balance 2010 (from page 238 to 239)

...Iran has already fielded a Shahab-3 missile with the one-tonne payload capacity and 1.2m airframe diameter necessary to carry a nuclear warhead. Its 1,300km range encompasses Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Shahab-3 also formed the first stage of the twostage rocket Iran used to launch its first satellite into low-earth orbit in February 2009. Perhaps more worrying was the November 2008 test firing of a new medium- range ballistic missile, the solid-fuelled Sajjil. Though its range and payload are similar to the Shahab, the faster launch time of a solid-fuelled rocket of this type reduces vulnerability to pre-emptive strikes. Iran also reported successful firings of Shahab and Sajjil missiles at the end of the Great Prophet IV exercise conducted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in September 2009. But Tehran must also contend with home-grown security threats: six commanders of the IRGC (including the deputy commander of the IRGC ground forces) were killed in an 18 October attack in Sistan-Baluchistan Province, which killed 43 in total.

The Jundullah terrorist group, which has promoted a brand of Sunni radicalism in the tribal region through abductions and executions of police and military officers, claimed responsibility. Earlier in the year, the Basij paramilitary force, which is effectively under IRGC control, was heavily employed against demonstrators during protests over the announced victory, in the presidential election, of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...


From page 251 onwards
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ACTIVE 523,000 (Army 350,000 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps 125,000 Navy 18,000 Air 30,000) Paramilitary 40,000
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Army 130,000; 220,000 conscript (total 350,000)
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Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Ground
Forces 100,000+
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Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Naval Forces 20,000+ (incl 5,000 Marines)
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Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force
Controls Iran’s strategic missile force.
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Air Force 30,000 (incl 12,000 Air Defence)
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Navy 18,000
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The issue at hand is really, escalation options for the GCC, as the Arab Spring turns to winter of discontent for the locals. In that respect, their force structures have important gaps in capabilities that restrict their escalation options viz-viz Iran, especially if, the escalation plan does not have full American participation, after the full American withdrawal of military forces from Iraq in December 2011 (ending a nine-year mission that killed 4,487 US soldiers and wounded more than 30,000, as well as cost the lives of more than 100,000 Iraqis). Both Iran and the GCC the lack good options for escalation. According to SIPRI, military spending in the Middle East rose by 8.4 per cent rise in 2012. The largest percentage increase worldwide in 2012 was by Oman (a 51 per cent rise). Saudi Arabia also increased spending by 12 per cent. Spending by Iran, Qatar, Syria and the UAE is unknown. Therefore, for many of the air forces in the Middle East (beyond the GCC), they remain well funded by their respective governments and are seeking to improve their capabilities by acquiring new platforms and capabilities.

(3) Looking at the list of armed conflicts below*, with a number of countries in Asia increasing their arms spending, we can never be absolutely certain that Asia will never be at war again. Both North-East and South Asia are the next most dangerous areas in the world after the Middle East.
*Select List of Armed Conflicts in Asia Post-World War II

1. Indo-Pakistan War of 1947
2. The Korean War (1950–1953)
3. The Vietnam War (1955 to 1975) - the 2nd Indochina War
4. Sino-Indian War of 1962
5. The Konfrontasi (1963 to 1966)
6. Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
7. The Cambodian Civil War (1967–1975)
8. Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
9. Cambodian–Vietnamese War (May 1975 to December 1989)
10. Indonesia invaded East Timor in Dec 1975 following the Carnation Revolution
11. Sino-Vietnamese War (February-March 1979) - the 3rd Indochina War
12. Indo-Pakistani War of 1999
(4) In contrast, according to the October 2012 CSIS report on "Asian Defense Spending, 2000–2011", the North East Asian powers of China (defence spending of US$89.9 billion in 2011), Japan (defence spending of US$58.2 billion in 2011), South Korea (defence spending of US$28.6 billion in 2011) and Taiwan (defence spending of US$10.1 billion in 2011) have funded the air combat capability of their respective air forces at a tertiary level to:

(a) strengthen stability and deter aggression;

(b) retain the capability to repel aggression and thereafter to compel retreat or surrender should an act of aggression occur

(c) resist attempts by an adversary to engage in protracted warfare so that that adversary can avoid defeat;

(d) defeat weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means (by destroying aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles in flight); and

(e) achieve national objectives quickly and decisively, while reducing the risk of heavy casualties or collateral damage.​

(5) Likewise in South Asia (see this April 2013 CSIS report on "Trends in Militancy across South Asia" for details), India (defence spending of US$44.3 billion in 2011) and Pakistan (defence spending of US$5.7 billion in 2011) continue to invest and modernise their air forces, as they strive to acquire first generation tertiary capabilities. It is clear that the North East Asian nations and some South Asian nations have taken a wider view and preparing for a range of contingencies. Border disputes and flashpoints are sources of tension, and sometimes threats can mutate and arise from an unexpected direction. These threats in Asia include:

(i) the Mumbai terrorist attack (from 26 to 29 November 2008) by members of Lashkar-eTayyiba, that killed 164 people and wounded at least 308 others;

(ii) the sinking of the Republic of Korea Navy, corvette Cheonan on 26 March 2010, in the Yellow Sea just south of the disputed Northern Limit Line, killing 46 South Korean seamen;

(iii) the killing of 76 Indian para-military policemen and the wounding 50 others, in Chattisgarh's Dantewada district in India on 6 April 2010, by the Naxalites (a Maoist terrorist movement located in the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha);

(iv) the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island on 23 November 2010, where, a North Korean artillery attack killed four South Koreans and injured 19 others;

(v) the Thai-Cambodian conflict at the Preah Vihear temple re-ignited in February 2011 and April to May 2011; that saw a number killed, and the evacuation of thousands of residents on both sides of the border to safe-zones (because of artillery shelling and skirmishes);

(vi) the February/March 2011 non-combatant evacuation of Chinese citizens from Libya involving the dispatch of a Jiangkai-II class frigate and the deployment of four PLA Air Force Il-76 transport aircraft to the south of Libya (via Khartoum as a stopover on both the inbound and outbound legs of the trip) to extract Chinese citizens was unprecedented;

(vii) the January 2013 India–Pakistan border incidents, where a series of armed skirmishes occurred along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir area, that resulted in a number of deaths on both sides; and

(viii) the invasion of Lahad Datu, Sabah by over a hundred armed Filipino gunmen (from the Tausug community) on 12 February 2013. The killing of Malaysian police by these gunmen resulted in the Malaysian Armed Forces having to conduct clearing operations with armour supported by artillery and close air support that continued till April 2013.​
Use of Air Power by FTOs

Since 1998, Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and known users of suicide attack squads, such as, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), have used aircraft (micro-light and light aircraft, UAVs and even helicopters) as a tool in their arsenal to attack their enemy. Initially, the LTTE used aircraft for their propaganda efforts. On 26 March 2007, attacks launched by LTTE's light aircraft succeed in killing and wounding military personnel and after a few trial raids, LTTE had the audacity to launch a pre-dawn combined arms assault on 22 October 2007, again killing and wounding military personnel. Since November 2004, Hizballah have also launched UAVs (including UAVs capable of carrying explosives) into Israel and it is now standard procedure for Israeli forces to shoot down these Hizballah UAVs. It is clear that FTOs (or non-state actors) have evolved their use of air assets over the years.

Some countries are now in a general state of Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) and cannot let their guard down. LIC denotes a condition of irregular and interminable warfare waged across a broad front; from physical/cyber attacks and economic sabotage to social disruption and psychological dislocation. And it can persist for long periods from troubled peace to hot war. It follows then that, full-spectrum response to a LIC scenario means that the operational readiness posture of security agencies must fit a "pulse-and- plateau" profile, rather than the "ramp-and-spike" profile of conventional threat scenarios. LIC can have disproportionately devastating effects through the sheer cunning of asymmetry and suicidal surprise.

Beyond LIC, the homegrown terror threat is also a source of concern. According to the August 2007 report from the New York Police Department's Intelligence Division - Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat by Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt, the radicalization process has four steps:
1. Pre-Radicalization. Pre-Radicalization is the point of origin for individuals before they begin this progression. It is their life situation before they were exposed to and adopted jihadi-Salafi Islam as their own ideology.

2. Self-Identification. Self-Identification is the phase where individuals, influenced by both internal and external factors, begin to explore Salafi Islam, gradually gravitate away from their old identity and begin to associate themselves with like-minded individuals and adopt this ideology as their own. The catalyst for this "religious seeking" is a cognitive opening, or crisis, which shakes one's certitude in previously held beliefs and opens an individual to be receptive to new worldviews.

3. Indoctrination. Indoctrination is the phase in which an individual progressively intensifies his beliefs, wholly adopts jihadi-Salafi ideology and concludes, without question, that the conditions and circumstances exist where action is required to support and further the cause. That action is militant jihad. This phase is typically facilitated and driven by a "spiritual sanctioner".

4. Jihadization. Jihadization is the phase in which members of the cluster accept their individual duty to participate in jihad and self-designate themselves as holy warriors or mujahedeen. Ultimately, the group will begin operational planning for the jihad or a terrorist attack. These "acts in furtherance" will include planning, preparation and execution.​

These new range of threats now require a greater degree of intelligence and operational integration, that is able to sustain a level of higher alertness and operational responsiveness in moments of peace.
 
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OPSSG

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15. Resident Powers in Asia

(1) Beijing is wary of Washington’s alliances with Japan and South Korea and sees them, as being part of a containment strategy against China. On the other hand, from US perspective, there is a long history of bilateral defense industrial cooperation between the US, its Asian allies and partners. Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand fly F-16 aircraft; Australia and Malaysia have bought F/A-18s; Singapore, Japan, and South Korea the F-15. However, these sales have been ad hoc purchases of aircraft originally designed for American services. These earlier aircraft sales did not reflect intentional policy or strategy of the US. Whereas, the sale and intended sale of the F-35 to US allies and partners is a deliberate US strategy, to draw them closer to the US geo-political orbit. Beyond hard power, access to markets play an important role in fostering ties. In that regard, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) took step forward when Canada assented to Japan’s participation in April 2013 (Japan has a population of 127 million and the world’s third largest economy). Begun in 2010, the American-led TPP now encompasses a dozen countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The TPP's twelve countries (including Japan) has a population of 790 million and a combined GDP of US$27.5 trillion.

(2) This article by Bonnie S. Glaser, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, namely, "Armed Clash in the South China Sea: Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 14", provides more details on the options and concerns relating to the US position on disputes in the South China Sea. Make no mistake, China's military capabilities are growing each year but there are limits to Chinese power projection capabilities and its military-industrial base for certain key industries. The extract of an article from the Economist quoted below, serve to illustrate this point.
The Economist said:
Extracts from China’s military rise: The dragon’s new teeth
The Economist - Apr 7th 2012 - A rare look inside the world’s biggest military expansion

...There are three limiting factors...

First, unlike the former Soviet Union, China has a vital national interest in the stability of the global economic system. Its military leaders constantly stress that the development of what is still only a middle-income country with a lot of very poor people takes precedence over military ambition. The increase in military spending reflects the growth of the economy, rather than an expanding share of national income. For many years China has spent the same proportion of GDP on defence (a bit over 2%, whereas America spends about 4.7%). The real test of China’s willingness to keep military spending constant will come when China’s headlong economic growth starts to slow further. But on past form, China’s leaders will continue to worry more about internal threats to their control than external ones. Last year spending on internal security outstripped military spending for the first time. With a rapidly ageing population, it is also a good bet that meeting the demand for better health care will become a higher priority than maintaining military spending. Like all the other great powers, China faces a choice of guns or walking sticks.

Second, as some pragmatic American policymakers concede, it is not a matter for surprise or shock that a country of China’s importance and history should have a sense of its place in the world and want armed forces which reflect that. Indeed, the West is occasionally contradictory about Chinese power, both fretting about it and asking China to accept greater responsibility for global order. As General Yao Yunzhu of the Academy of Military Science says: “We are criticised if we do more and criticised if we do less. The West should decide what it wants. The international military order is US-led—NATO and Asian bilateral alliances—there is nothing like the WTO for China to get into.”

Third, the PLA may not be quite as formidable as it seems on paper. China’s military technology has suffered from the Western arms embargo imposed after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. It struggles to produce high-performance jet engines, for example. Western defence firms believe that is why they are often on the receiving end of cyber-attacks that appear to come from China. China’s defence industry may be improving but it remains scattered, inefficient and over-dependent on high-tech imports from Russia, which is happy to sell the same stuff to China’s local rivals, India and Vietnam. The PLA also has little recent combat experience. The last time it fought a real enemy was in the war against Vietnam in 1979, when it got a bloody nose. In contrast, a decade of conflict has honed American forces to a new pitch of professionalism. There must be some doubt that the PLA could put into practice the complex joint operations it is being increasingly called upon to perform...
(3) Below is an extract of an article from the South China Morning Post which illustrate the point that there are limits to China military-industrial base for certain key industries. In a world where great power conflict is unlikely, the fact remains that the capabilities great powers matters has shaped other conflicts. International norms and legitimacy are still largely the product of a concert of powerful states, the big issues between China, Japan, South Korea, India and the US still matter.
Choi Chi-yuk said:
Extract from a South China Morning Post article dated 6 April 2013, Progress slow in developing fighter jets, Major General Zhu Heping says:

General says weak foundation in sosphicated machinery is among the obstacles facing the PLA in its efforts to upgrade its home-made fighters

A weak foundation in building sophisticated machinery and a lack of innovation are major obstacles for the People's Liberation Army in upgrading its latest domestically produced jet fighters, military experts say.

Major General Zhu Heping - vice-president of the Air Force Command Academy and the grandson of the father of the Red Army, Zhu De - talked about the constraints facing the PLA in an interview with the South China Morning Post. He said one key hindrance was the state of the country's machinery industry, even though the PLA had been upgrading to a more hi-tech force for a decade. Another problem was the lack of innovation in the industry sector.

Zhu said those 10 years, under the rule of former president Hu Jintao and former premier Wen Jiabao, had seen crucial gains made in military modernisation. "Taking the air force as an example, we managed to take a huge step forward by replacing second-generation jet fighters with third-generation ones as the main force," he said. Zhu said big strides had been made in developing anti-aircraft weapons and giving information technology a bigger role. "More importantly, we saw an enormous improvement in the quality of our pilots," he said... However, Zhu said, Chinese industry had not progressed quite so rapidly... Zhu cited as an example the fact that the air force had to buy foreign engines for home-made fighter jets.

Before President Xi Jinping went to Russia last month on his maiden overseas visit as a head of state, Beijing and Moscow signed an agreement that will see China buy 24 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia - with analysts estimating the deal to cost around US$1.56 billion. China can make most of the parts for fourth-generation fighter jets, but falls down when it comes to the likes of the Su-35's sophisticated 117S engines...

..."Beijing could spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the aircraft, dissect them and pore over the advanced engines inside and out before trying to copy their design," he said. "But they are doomed to fail to overcome the predicament presented by the lack of the materials and techniques required to make them." He said it would be hard to make significant progress in machinery production capabilities in a decade or two...

Veteran Macau-based PLA watcher Antony Wong Dong said innovative ideas could play a key role in technological advancement but he was not optimistic. "Independent thinking is the last thing the current education system under the [Communist] party's leadership intends to encourage or highlight," Wong said...
(4) While most of China's land boundary disputes have been settled on terms favourable to China's neighbours, except for its continuing disputes with India and Bhutan, its maritime boundaries in the East China and South China Seas are contested. In early 2013, the dispute between Japan and China over small islands (known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China) in the East China Sea escalated, with incidents of Chinese frigates of locking its weapons-tracking radar on a Japanese destroyers. In a related string of incidents over the last year, where Chinese maritime surveillance aircraft also flew into the airspace around the Japanese-controlled islands and Tokyo scrambled F-15 fighters to meet them and on occasion, China then sent fighters too. This led to Japan considering the use of a civil airfield at Shimojijima Island to base F-15s, because those based on Okinawa are too far away. As these disputes go through cycles of escalation and de-escalation, Japan and ASEAN members will be watching how China deals with its neighbours and lessons will be drawn on the impact for them of a rising China. However, the rise of both China and India, is occurring against a geopolitical environment that lacks a formal security architecture (for arms control regimes or for structured conflict-resolution).
 
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16. On Final Approach

(1) Acquiring hardware does not automatically mean better military capabilities. Qualitative factors — adequate numbers of well-trained, motivated personnel, efficient logistics, comprehensive doctrine, effective cooperation between branches of the armed forces, and high readiness levels — are critical in distinguishing those air forces which are developing real capabilities, from those which are merely on a shopping spree.
Concept Check on Military Readiness:-

What do: [A] the Battle of Savo Island; Kasserine Pass; [C] Task Force Smith; and [D] Operation Eagle Claw have in common? They were all U.S. military disasters that were the result, broadly speaking, of inadequate readiness.

[A] In the first example, an allied naval force of some 22 surface warships was trounced by a Japanese flotilla one third its size in a night engagement that demonstrated the Imperial Navy’s superior training, coordination and weapons.

Kasserine Pass witnessed the mauling of the green U.S. II Corps by a numerically inferior German force from General Erwin Rommel’s battle hardened Afrika Korps.

[C] Task Force Smith was a hastily-assembled, poorly equipped force from the U.S. 24th Division (which had been on garrison duty in Japan for more than five years) that was sent to South Korea in 1950 only to be overrun by a North Korean armored column.

[D] Finally, Operation Eagle Claw is better known as the failed Iranian hostage rescue attempt in 1979 during which eight American servicemen died as a result of poor planning, inadequate coordination and a lack of prior training.


You may remember the movie Top Gun which was loosely based on the training regime at the U.S. Navy’s Fighter Weapons School. The school was set up in 1969 in response to the inadequate performance of Navy fighters in the skies over North Vietnam. Navy analyses concluded that the core reason for the inability of U.S. fighters to dominate their adversary was inadequate training in air combat maneuvering skills. With proper training, the ratio of kills to losses against the North Vietnamese Air Force went from 3.7:1 to 13:1.

Many factors contribute to military readiness... Readiness, once lost, is not easily recovered. An aircraft squadron that is not allowed to practice its combat missions for three months may require six to regain its prior level of proficiency...


*The above is an extract of a March 2013 blog post by Dr. Daniel Goure: "On The Razor’s Edge Of Military Readiness."
(2) All modern air forces fight as a system and other relevant factors to consider include:-

(a) budgeting and planning to raise, train and sustain a force (as a general rule of thumb:- personnel costs is about 20%, sustainment costs is about 33%, other operating costs like fuel is about 22% and finally the acquisition cost is typically less than 25% of the costs of an aviation centric platform);

(b) quality of people, and technical competence (no. of annual fight hours, aircrew proficiency, training syllabus, large force employment exercises, and so on);

(c) leadership, training, doctrine and tactics (which includes mission planning), force balance, type of platform, number of aircraft, logistics, mid-air refueling platforms, and enablers for sortie generation, communications, and weapons;

(d) presence of force multipliers like combat controllers and other enablers like UAVs, airborne radar early warning support, the capability to conduct suppression of enemy air defences, engage in electronic warfare, and gather signal intelligence; and

(e) the level of command and control systems integration with other services and partners/allies.
(3) Despite the improvements in sensors and PGMs, this thread is not just about air forces wanting to go out and defeat an enemy’s air force and then to continue deep to bomb his centre of gravity.
 
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The Future of PGMs and Sensors:-

...It is not unreasonable to expect that, in the future, a core competency of an advanced air force will be the ability to provide precision strike, with accuracies less than two metres from an aim point, to any point on the globe... In many ways, the ‘calculus’ of modern warfare has already changed. One study, by the RAND Corporation, concluded that:

The results of our analysis do indicate that the calculus has changed and air power’s ability to contribute to the joint battle has increased. Not only can modern air power arrive quickly where needed, it has become far more lethal in conventional operations. Equipped with advanced munitions either in service or about to become operational and directed by modern C3I systems, air power has the potential to destroy enemy ground forces either on the move or in defensive positions at a high rate while concurrently destroying vital elements of the enemy’s war fighting infrastructure. In short, the mobility, lethality, and survivability of air power makes it well suited to the needs of rapidly developing regional conflicts.

As technology changes, the nature of the precision weapon will change as well... These include advanced cruise missiles to conduct electronic countermeasures attacks, autonomous miniature munitions to stop invading armies, hard-target munitions and robotic micro-munitions to attack deeply buried hard targets, hypersonic missile concepts (on the order of 5 km/sec) to strike rapidly and at long range... The dividing line between what is now considered a precision-guided munition and an unmanned vehicle will increasingly blur...

Intelligence, sensor development, and targeting have always been key issues in aerial warfare, but are now of even greater importance than at any previous time. Precision weapon employment requires intelligence of a sufficiently high order to enable a desired mean point of impact to be established on an individual target...

The profusion of advanced sensor and intelligence gathering and exploiting platforms — space-based assets, UAVs, manned airborne systems, for example — offer the hope that many of these problems will be overcome... Sensors fall in three broad physical categories:

(i) electro-magnetic (for example, electro-optical, radio frequency, and low frequency);

(ii) mechanical (acoustic, seismic, and inertial); and

(iii) chemical or biological.

Fusing passive and active sensors into working architectures involving space-based systems, standoff airborne systems (such as JSTARS), unmanned air vehicles, unattended ground sensors, ground and airborne command and control systems, and aircraft carrying precision weapons is a key requirement now and will obviously grow in importance in the future.


*The above is an extract of a 1995 paper by Richard P. Hallion: "PGM and the New Era of Warfare."
Rather, control of the air is an indispensable precondition for joint-force victory on the ground or at sea. It must also be able to perform the job faster or better to be the relevant force of choice in a joint service environment.

(4) The level of funding given to an air force by a government to support its national strategy boils down to political will and intent. However, it cannot be assumed that the average politician understands the four roles of air power, the importance of control of the air or the second and third order effects that come from a failure to be superior in the air; and relevant to the land or sea battle. Therefore, the defence establishment needs to engage the disinterested general public and politicians in power by explaining, providing details, and demonstrating what air power can or cannot do — or go down the path taken by New Zealand (NZ) and the Philippines (as the metaphorical grasshoppers of in Asia).
The Grasshopper(s) and The Ant(s) in Asia

NZ in 2001 (see the February 2001, Review of the Options for an Air Combat Capability) and Philippines in 2005 are countries each without an air combat arm. Politicians in these two countries decided to disband their respective air forces' air combat capability.

The key task of the NZDF is to respond to contingencies in the neighborhood, which are mostly humanitarian in nature, and to participate in UN-sanctioned peacekeeping missions. NZ's distant location and the presence of natural boundaries means that it faces no threat. Much of the NZDF is geared towards overseas operations supporting peace.

Historically, Philippines is a house divided with presence of internal insurgents (which includes numerous insurgent groups, like, the New People's Army, the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front). The southern Philippines lies along a strategic fault line, with its porous borders, weak rule of law, long-standing and unaddressed grievances of Muslim minorities, and high levels of poverty and corruption offering a fertile field for nurturing terrorist groups. Therefore, the key task of the Philippine military is address the threat faced by internal insurgents, and if possible, to participate in UN-sanctioned peacekeeping missions. Much of its force is geared towards internal security operations.

Each of these two governments made their own decision, that the opportunity cost of funding an air combat capability was too large for their respective air forces. An analogy relating to the issue of thinking by an informed electorate, when applied to the question of the need for an air combat arm for an air force, may be useful.

Q1: Is it impossible that a person will need the A&E department of the nearest hospital?

Q2: Or is it merely that it is unlikely that that person will need the A&E department of the nearest hospital?​

What if, we pointed out that 90% to 95% of A&E department cases were not medical emergencies and that a 24 hour clinic could serve the same purpose. Would a politician advocate as a cost saving closing down the A&E department of the nearest hospital? The 'A&E department' and 'hospital' in the above analogy can be replaced with 'air combat force' and 'air base', respectively. Time will tell if these self inflicted political decisions, are wise, given the documented use of air power by non-state actors and that the rest of Asia are on Alert 5.

In other words, NZ and the Philippines have decided that they will never need to go to war with another state (as an instrument of state policy) and hence have disbanded their air combat arm of their respective tiny air forces by budget choice. The second order effect of their budget decision is to make their respective countries less relevant on the international stage, in an era where other powers, like the US, are looking for burden sharing partners/allies to manage issues relating to the global commons. The third order effect is the contraction of the geostrategic depth of these two nations in an era of a changing balance of power in Asia and the Pacific. The military skill sets lost when the Philippines decommissioned its aging F-5s in 2005 are not so easy to regain.
(5) The effective use of the technology of air power is not a natural phenomenon but a product of a deliberate national strategy to resource an air force to enable it to develop the capability to contest for control of the air and defend a country's national interest. Governments dictate the capacity and capability models by funding and ideology.
 

OPSSG

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Postscript to reactions by neighbours on advances in Russian and Chinese AirPower
Su-22 could have been shot down with gunfire alone... with no air to air combat capability.
Correct, simply pointing out that this example does not demonstrate that "These days combat jets have such power EW it makes BVR virtually impossible"...
1. Agreed and weapons development is part of the systems fight between tertiary air forces. It would be much better if this discussion took into consideration AirPower resource threads created for new members, as follows:

(i) A brief history of LO (read this first, for the foundation to understand the other threads)​
(ii) Air Power 101 for New Members (read this second)​

2. Since the invention of airborne early warning aircraft like the Beriev A-50, advanced air forces, like that of Russia and China (or even Russia’s best client, India), no longer think in terms of plane vs plane contest. A number of Chief defence scientists, including that of Singapore have stated that our goal is:

(i) to acquire a systems capability [rather than too much focus on a single platform]; and​

(ii) to invest in key technologies that ensure a clear lead.​

Like Taiwan, Israel, Sweden and Finland, there are several other roads in Singapore which can be turned into alternate runways in emergencies. Exercise Torrent 2016 is a demonstration of alternate runway operations capability (on public roads) in the event of enemy attack on Singapore air bases. For a comprehensive discussion on this at NATO and USAF level against peer competitors, see this 2015 Rand Study.

...As I said earlier, I would submit to you that the significant investment we see in weapons like R-77, AMRAAM, Meteor, R37, PL12/15/21 etc indicates that quite the opposite is true.
3. Agreed. At a system of systems level, a tertiary air force needs to perform in all 4 roles of Air Power despite enemy attack (including, airborne early warning to vector fighters, air to air refuelling, SEAD and EW support).

4. The goal of a tertiary air force is be able to take an enemy’s first punch; thereafter respond to conduct Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) missions, if required. Therefore, any new fighter aircraft like that of the J-20 or the Su-57 is not just to enable a country’s fighters to face-off against the enemy in close combat. Rather the goal is to have the systems to contest for control of the air and the electromagnetic spectrum at stand-off ranges.

(i) Israel and the US have demonstrated the importance of the conduct of the SEAD mission, via the dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum, in Bekka Valley in 1982 and in Gulf Wars I and II. Hence, the concern with electromagnetic space.​

(ii) In an 2011 interview with Vice Admiral David J. Dorsett, Deputy CNO for Information Dominance that discusses China's new military technology. Dorsett states in that interview that he is most concerned about is China's focus and attention on trying to develop capabilities to dominate in the electromagnetic spectrum, to conduct counter-space capabilities, and clearly to conduct cyber activities. Fast forward to 2020, the Australians and Americans have established an international agreement concerning the cooperative development of Airborne Multi-Platform Electronic Warfare capabilities (AMPEW Project Arrangement). “The AMPEW Project Arrangement establishes a cooperative project to jointly design, develop, test, and demonstrate dynamic multi-platform electromagnetic manoeuvre warfare resource allocation management (EMW RAM) tools and decision aids,” Air Vice-Marshal Roberts said.​

(iii) Small countries like Taiwan, Norway, Singapore or Finland cannot afford to buy too many different types of aircraft with the same or similar capabilities. Each aircraft type, be it the F-16V (for Taiwan), the F-35A (for Norway), STOVL F-35B or the F-15SG (for Singapore) or the HX project (to replace Finland’s Hornets), must enable these fighters to play a district role in their respective electronic order of battle — so that they are carrying the correct ordinance, pods (eg. the ALQ-184 self-protect ECM & EW pod used in Taiwan and the US) or EW hardware internally (in the case of the F-15SG), for efficient air tasking to perform the 4 roles of air power. Hence the focus on a systems fight at BVR ranges with a strong focus on stopping the enemy’s electronic attack and thereafter killing force multipliers like AWACS.​

Why not excel at both BVR and WVR?
5. If you read the above links, you would know that this is the wrong question to ask. Su-57’s agility is only a small part of its capability set and has been in development since 2002. It is considered a key part of Russia's arms export industry as a fifth-generation fighter to compete with rival systems such as America's F-35 aircraft. The jet made its first flight approximately ten years ago yet the widely advertised system has not yet been incorporated into the Russian military or any foreign militaries despite Russian promises to the contrary. There have been a series of recent test flights of the aircraft, including the deployment of a handful of prototypes to Syria in 2018 and 2019. Apparently, the jets did not conduct any live firing or strike missions, while the Kremlin has claimed otherwise without offering evidence. Furthermore, development challenges and recent crashes have continued to delay the advanced fighter bomber's initial operational capability (IOC) until the mid-2020s at the earliest.

6. Not only are advanced air forces learning to team both 4th and 5th generation fighters, at a systems level the USAF, NATO, and partners are training to defeat LO aircraft in air warfare, including the Su-57 and the J-20, which I believe has hit IOC. There are now reports on the F-117's aggressor support mission in Dec 2019 when evidence emerged of F-117s, flying under their now well-known "KNIGHT" callsign and working with 64th Agressor Squadron F-16s.

(i) These F-117s participated in a complex air combat exercise likely related to the prestigious USAF Weapons School. Now, it seems clear that this mission has migrated to the much larger Red Flag exercise.​

(ii) We do not like to use the word 'stealth', in the context of an intelligent discussion on the impact of LO on air warfare. A reader must understand that D + 1 and D + nn days of war are going to be conducted differently and to understand JSF program, a reader must understand this basic conceptual point. The JSF program also enabled the development a few key technologies that would benefit F-35s and other 4.5 gen platforms, like the F-15EX and block 3, F-18E/Fs, to enable the USAF and US Navy, to more effectively perform certain existing mission sets in slightly different ways and to take on new mission sets that was not previously possible on a fighter sized platform. This approach enhances the survivability of sympathetic platforms and will obviously bring some changes to the way of war.​

(iii) Having six F-117s during the last week of Red Flag 20-3 seems very similar to the strip alert-like tactics used by aggressors. Tonopah Test Range Airport was turned into the sprawling installation it is today thanks in part to its use as a clandestine location to fly captured Soviet fighters out of during the twilight of the Cold War.​
But, if it is truly “stealthy” of all it’s other attributes, why is turn radius so important?
Close combat should be the mode of last resort.
7. Agreed. Great counterpoint to the WVR arguments presented by HeimDefan.
 
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OPSSG

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General guidance to all and directed to no one specifically.

The Moderators have to strike a balance between catering to egotistical members (who refuse to read sources provided) and keeping experienced members, providing guidance to others, happy. Your ethnicity or nationality is much less relevant to the knowledge you can share to enrich the content of any thread. No thread should be a ghetto of the ill informed by virtue of nationality, ethnicity or prior service background.

In view of the increased frequency of thread vandalism by certain egotistical members, our tolerance mode may soon be set to “off”, by default soon. To that end, let us clarify 4 points:

1. Everyone is free to have express own opinion (even if it is mistaken).

Close combat is still most important. Super Hornet shot AMRAAM at 1970s Su-22 and missed.
This is incorrect. The Super Hornet in question fired an AIM9X, which was likely a dud. No report of flares/IRCM being deployed from those involved in the incident – that idea was dreamed up in the blogosphere by Kyle Mizokami. The subsequent AMRAAM actually hit its target and successfully brought it down.

Thanks for posting to correct the deliberate mis-information being generated by HeimDefanso’s post. The Ja'Din shootdown incident occurred when a US Navy F/A-18E, shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 Fitter with an AIM-120 AMRAAM missile after it reportedly attacked U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces positions. Here is a video that recreates the sequence of events on 18 June 2017.
2. If an opinion held by person XYZ is not based on fact (as shown by HeimDefan’s post) other members of DT are free to express their opinion that XYZ's opinion is based on a mistake of fact (as shown by Boagrius’ reply) or that XYZ opinion is worthless based on observed fact (as shown by the additional link and facts provided by me).

3. But XYZ is not allowed to continue presenting a mistaken opinion as fact, especially when it is proven as wrong — as the example above shows.

I was at a bookstore in Waterloo a couple of weeks ago and they suggest it is most likely Canada will go for Gripen.
4. Citing a bookstore or wiki, is not considered presenting a valid fact. While we are quite amused at the creative attempt (to pass of an invalid opinion as fact), we would like to clarify that DT members do not have to accept these citations as valid sources.
 
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