The Buzz

Russia and China Could Crush the U.S. Air Force in a War Using This Trick

The U.S. Air Force has looked at dispersed basing and developing robust logical trains to supply those austere airstrips to counter China's A2/AD capabilities in the Pacific theatre. However, the Air Force does not appear to have fully developed a plan to protect its tanker, ISR and command and control assets from enemy air attacks. The only answer the service has to the problem is that those aircraft will have to be pulled back to safety outside the effective range of the Chinese threat. However, that would also shorten the effective range of the Pentagon’s short-range tactical fighters—reducing their ability to strike deep inside Chinese territory.

Thus, with the information available, it is likely that Russian and Chinese deployment of long-range air-to-air missiles—and the fifth-generation fighters to carry those weapons—could pose a significant problem for the Pentagon. It’s a problem that certainly bears watching in the coming years.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

This first appeared earlier in the year. 

Image: Reuters.