posted on Jun, 23 2004 @ 05:21 PM
Originally posted by Jonna
Maybe they do and it is...well...stealthy.
It is not logical to assume that the soviets never took an interest in stealth. (nor is it logical to assume that stealth is relevant to undetected
flight against modernized militaries, since simple modifications to radar systems (involving two stations working together and detecting interfering
objects) would be able to track radar deflecting or absorbing aircraft. The greatest advantage of stealth is actually the protection afforded against
SAMs, which would need heavier modifications and good communications to be remotely guided by such a system. This is probably the greater motivation
behind the RAM used on newer aircraft, and it bears mention that smaller nations could create cost-effective missile-resistant craft by only RAMing a
certain part of the aircraft, which the pilots could be trained to expose to the missile while manuevering away. In that sense, partial stealth could
actually proliferate quite a bit, while being less "stealthy" and more a passive countermeasure.
America's stealth really came into the open courtesy of the gulf war. In the 1970s and 80s, it was still largely a rumor, as can be seen in a chapter
of Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising. The chapter is titled "the saucers of dreamland". Russia has yet to fight a war that will really reveal their
abilities. The extent of the revelation in Afghanistan and Chechnya is that Russia does not employ proper combined arms tactics in urban environments,
has a leadership vaccuum because of the absence of an American (actually, a US MARINE is the best example) NCO structure. And of course, it has been
made pretty clear that Russian armor is highly vulnerable to infantry. We haven't gotten to see the Russians in action against heavy air defenses
yet, but to my mind the question is not "did they have stealth?" but "can it still fly?".
The next wave in aircraft, I believe, will be drone attack aircraft, building upon the predator concept. I wouldn't be shocked to see a miniature
remote-controlled helocopter developed for close support of infantry. This will cause the importance of manned fighters to shift to missions requiring
large payloads or extreme precision. Random sorties against tanks will probably be taken over a drone airforce that can field 5 or 10 times as many
planes that are smaller, more agile, and harder to hit, while using less fuel and costing less to transport. They are also more expendable.
I believe this is being kept in mind when Great Britain decided to reduce it's carrier force from 3 ships to 2. When the aircraft swarm concept is
realized, surface ships will again be chiefly be offshore artillery batteries, and carriers will be reduced in importance. Submarines continue to be
important, but the major benefit of being able to take out aircraft carriers is gone,