As we all know, stealth is becoming one of the most powerful and desireable technologies available for military aircraft. You cannot kill what you
cannot see, after all. Air superiority fighters, I'll use the F/A-22 as an example, are becoming harder to track, harder to engage, and thus more
and more difficult to shoot down. Engagments are taking place at longer ranges, where only radar can identify a target. As we move into the future,
this technology will, without a doubt, become far more advanced.
The US won't be the only one advancing in this technology. Other world powers will be following suit, and following quickly in order to compete, I
imagine. Let's say in the future that the US and Russia develop two new stealth planes. Both are completely invisible to radar. Taking it further,
let's say the US gets into a conflict with either Russia, or a country that Russia has sold these new stealth fighters to. Two invisible plans,
perhaps even equipped with jamming devices that will render enemy radar useless.
Stealth stalemate. They can't see or track one another. A long range engagement is then out of the question, since their missiles can't lock onto
something that they cannot see. So, what then? Will the two planes have to resort to dogfighting, or will they simply bug-out and go home since
it's impossible to lock on with longer range missiles?
Concerns and issues with a 'stealth stalemate':
- Fighting new with old? The age of dogfighting is no more, and something that's more suited for past conflicts. But in the event of a stalemate,
how do you fight stealth when you yourself are just as stealthy? Will pilots (either conventional pilots or remote pilots controlling unmanned
aircraft) be forced to visually identify targets and then move in to engage in close range fighting like pilots from previous wars?
- Guns. In the event of the above scenario happening, pilots may have to rely on guns rather than most missiles again. But, one of the only
aircraft today that still uses a gun regularly is the Warthog (praise be to the 'hog). Air-to-air combat pilots are used to missiles. In the event
of stealth stalemate, will pilots of the day be too inexperienced with guns to successfully engage with them, if guns are still on planes with a
decent load of ammunition at all? Will planes then be reconfigured to rely more on sophisticated guns than missiles?
Debate the above comments as you will. But, pleaaaase don't anyone say 'Ha, Russia can never catch the US in stealth or aviation technology!' For
the sake of discussion. Add in any other concern/issues if you wish.