originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: mightmight
What we don't need is a fleet composed of lots of large bomber platforms trying to do every role. The force mix that is being built has worked, and
will still work for a while to come. It will be tweaked as new threats and counters emerge, but it works.
That's a rather naive take, isn't it? Yes, it worked in the past. Sort of. Doesn't mean a different approach would have worked too. What was the
mission of the past decades? Hauling ordnance for ground support in a non-threatening environment. Every modern platform could have done that and
indeed, every platform from the A-10 to the B-1 flew CAS missions.
But the GWOT was fought with the Air Forces available at the time. Air Forces still very much shaped by half a century of Cold War armament for a high
intensity conflict focused on the European theater.
Times have changed though. The threat Soviet Union morphed into a truncated Russia and China has risen as a major contender. Focus on Europe has
radically shifted to the Pacific and the solutions that worked in the European theater don’t work on the other side of the world.
It’s high time the US adapts to these changes. They are no longer preoccupied with fighting a global low intensity conflict and the Air Forces are
in dire need of rejuvenation. But simply relying on what was done before because ‘it worked’ will potentially have disastrous consequences going
forward since the Chinese no exactly what they are doing, building a force to actually fight the next war, not just relying on dated concepts of a
It’s also not enough to tweak once new threats emerge. The changes in the threat environment are too rapid for the slow pace movement of the past.
The US needs to get ahead of the curve and drive the change instead of playing catchup with the Chinese ten years after the fact.
The F-35 is a good aircraft. It’ll wreak havoc against anyone but the Chinese for decades to come. But if the US wants to confront China this
won’t do. Fielding the F-35 by the numbers envisioned by the US military means committing the US to an unworkable force mix until the turn of the
Whether we like it or not, the F-35 is simply the wrong tool for the job, it’s woefully inadequate for the vastness and emptiness of a Pacific
theater dominated by the Chinese Rocket force. As is any fighter jet for that matter.
The US needs a radical shift to long range platforms if it’s serious about confronting the Chinese. You know the situation as well as I do. Not
enough airbases too far away but still in range of Chinese missiles. Too few tankers to support enough jet sorties to matter and already threatened by
Chinese long range counter air. Carrier groups already on questionable ground against Chinese long range anti ship assets.
Nothing about this will change going forward. In fact it will only get much, much worse. The air war the US is sorta serious about fighting against
China if it had to would work today. It’ll probably sorta work five to ten years from now. It will most definitely not work in the 2030s and 2040s.
But the US will be stuck with thousands of F-35s.
Masisoar is right that is basically too late for a lot of things. They decisions made ten years ago aircraft procurement were wrong. I said this then
and I say it now. We can’t change that but it doesn’t mean we can’t start moving things in the right direction.
The B-21 and the entire LRS family is absolutely vital going forward. If the program fails or gets truncated to a couple of dozen airframes the US is
ceding the Western Pacific to the Chinese. The program needs to not only go forward undisturbed by political bickering but needs to be significantly
expanded. On top of that most of the existing bomber fleet needs to be retained. If that means cutting 500 or even 1000 F-35s I’m all for
edit on 29-11-2019 by mightmight because: (no reason given)