In light of the termination and replacement with inferior substitutes of almost all new U.S. air defense systems over the last 10 years and the deployment of advanced defenses by Russia, it may be able to exploit U.S. vulnerabilities despite inferior aircraft. More Western emphasis on 4th generation aircraft would also increase this vulnerability. It is unlikely that just an IR guided long-range air-to-air missile will make 4th generation aircraft the equal of the PAK FA. Stealth remains an important attribute for high intensity conflict.
Dr. Mark Schneider is a Senior Analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy. Dr. Schneider earned his Ph.D. in history at the University of Southern California and Juris Doctorate from George Washington University. He specializes in missile defense policy, nuclear weapons, deterrence, strategic forces, arms control, and arms control verification and compliance issues.
This first appeared in RealClearDefense in 2015 and is being reposted due to reader interest.