The last air to air combat we had was during Desert Storm and that was more of an air to air ass-whipping. We have taken complete air dominance as a given for quite a while. Now that the defense budget has a lot of folks looking at it like a cash cow or an ox nobody minds goring, that is at risk of changing. We have been working for quite a while to replace our fighters and that costs a lot of money. When Congress starts looking for places to cut, they can always find some people willing to say the Pentagon should hold bake sales to fund itself. It is pretty easy to get sticker shock when you start pricing out brand spanking new fighter jets. It is more important to think about strategic shock when we can no longer count on our military being able to own the airspace over our troops.
Well Vlad the Impaler is back running things in Russia, actually he never really stopped, and they are certainly not ceding the air to us.
RIA Novosti reported last week that Russia’s next-generation long-range bomber, the PAK DA, will start arriving in 2020, and not 2025, as initially planned. In addition, Russia’s three other types of strategic bombers, which currently can carry a total of 850 long-range cruise missiles, are all scheduled for modernization. Last year, Russia began test flights of its new stealth fighter, the PAK FA, which is being co-produced with India. All this is a reminder that America’s air supremacy, which has been largely uncontested at least since the Soviet Union collapsed back in 1991, will be coming under increasing pressure. China is also modernizing and expanding its fleet of fighters and ground-attack jets, and by most estimates has a decided advantage over Taiwan and possibly even Japan.
It may or may not make you nervous to have the Russians and the Chinese building aircraft that can challenge us. But they are, and they have been pushy enough without them. The mighty reset button seems to have reset things in Syria back to the Cold War as the Russians send warships to support a proxy.
MOSCOW — Russia said on Tuesday that it had dispatched a flotilla of 11 warships to the eastern Mediterranean, some of which would dock in Syria. It would be the largest display of Russian military power in the region since the Syrian conflict began almost 17 months ago. Nearly half of the ships were capable of carrying hundreds of marines.
I wish we lived in a peaceful Shangri-La where unicorns frolicked and the earth flowed with the milk of human kindness. But we don't. I know it has been a hard decade of war and it would be wonderful to sit in the shade and watch the kids play in the sprinkler for a while. It would also be nice to take the money we will spend on those fighters and blow it on algae farms (well not really). But that would be a dereliction of the duty to first and foremost keep ourselves and our country safe. It would also be a job-killing gut punch to the hundreds of thousands of folks who work in the defense industry. When the world dials 911, the phone rings at the Pentagon. If we don't have the weapons we need to roll out, then bad things will happen.So we need to buy fighters, and aircraft carriers and new uniforms and bullets and all the rest. If they want to balance the budget, they need to look at the grotesque tentacles of Leviathan called Entitlements. The very idea that people are entitled to anything but air and opportunity is un-American.
So why you ask is noted knuckle-dragging, land ape Uncle J saying nice things about fighters? Well aside from the fact that I think it is nice that our troops aren't ducking into foxholes to avoid strafing runs, I took a trip to Lockheed Martin's F-35 simulator land today. A number of military writers and bloggers got a brief on the status of the F-35 program and also a chance to buzz the tower. The bottom line is that the birds are being delivered, they work and if our enemies try to raise up against them, we will strike them down with great vengeance and furious anger. Ooops that was Pulp Fiction, I meant we will hit the brakes, they will fly right by us we will get a good lock and SPLASH and then the remaining MIGs will bug out.
Here is what happens when you take a state of the art fighter and turn it over to a Special Forces Weapons guy. I feel the need, the need for speed.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.