How did you celebrate your Fourth, Bros? Drinking some beers and dick waving your patriotism?
Well, the country you love did you one better, by putting one of the biggest existential threats to our continued dominance on fucking blast.
The U.S. Air Force produced a report about how a fictional war with China in 2026 (only ten years away) would play out, and man, our oft-maligned next generation fighters are going to do work.
From Government Executive:
In the fictitious war of 2026 they present, the enemy tries to jam radar and radio signals, allowing only stealthy planes like F-22 and F-35 fighters and B-2 and B-21 bombers to fly safely and strike targets, which are guarded by mobile surface-to-air missiles.
The Pentagon would spread its fighter jets around the Pacific in small numbers to military and civilian airfields, some as far as 1,000 miles from the battlefield, to prevent enemy ballistic and cruise missiles from delivering a devastating knock-out blow to a base. Today, the Pentagon tends to concentrate the majority of its planes at regional super bases.
Basically, we’d be a much more nimble, lithe fighting force, which means we’d win.
Here are some other choice excerpts from the report, titled ‘Fifth Generation Air Combat: Maintaining The Joint Force Advantage’:
Though some expeditionary airfields have navigation or air traffic control facilities, by 2026 F-35 and F-22 pilots arenow adept at conducting autonomous all-weather operations (such as landing in inclement weather using the aircraft’s own sensors to find the runway). This also reduces the number of personnel and equipment required for deployment, while greatly increasing the number of airfields available as the conflict breaks out.
As combat operations begin, US military fifth generation aircraft (both CONUS and forward-based assets), along with F-35s from coalition countries effectively integrate and collaborate in the opening phase of operations, thanks to prior consideration and exercising of security, maintenance, logistics, and C2 plans. There are no surprises concerning the multi-level security construct of the operation, as the US military has built transparent relationships with key allies and partners in the preceding years for just this sort of contingency.
During the opening days, fighting focuses on the battle for air superiority as aircraft from both sides clash over contested territory. Heavy radar and communications jamming confront US and coalition forces, but fifth generation aircraft leverage their networked multispectral sensors to detect and target enemy aircraft, while supporting a common operating picture through data links and communication architectures. Though legacy aircraft operate at a distance from the most dangerous threats, they provide critically important layered defense in depth for ongoing operations.
During the initial days of the conflict, F-35s occasionally return to their bases—only to discover several are heavily damaged from enemy missile attacks. Executing contingency plans, they divert to a nearby civilian airfield and use pilot swapout procedures to reposition aircraft to another F-35 operating location, allowing these assets to continue fighting despite heavy airfield attacks.
Also, because we’ve built such a good network of allies, we can leverage the dick out of them when fighting China.
In one instance, a USAF F-35 is forced to recover at an Australian F-35 airbase after an inflight malfunction makes it impossible to return to its original deployment location. Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) maintenance technicians are able to quickly repair, rearm, and refuel the USAF F-35 in a manner similar to US maintenance and regeneration practices. The F-35 in question rejoins combat operations the next day.
As the conflict continues, fifth generation aircraft seek out, degrade, and destroy advanced SAMs in contested territory, creating a more moderate threat environment. This enables legacy aircraft to operate alongside their fifth generation counterparts.
The mature integration and full operational capabilities of fourth and fifth generation aircraft working together proves the turning point in the conflict, as the mix provides US and coalition forces needed flexibility, mass, and depth of munitions to gain the advantage.
Basically our bomb ass super planes are going to kick ass.
The F-35 is expected to be ready for combat operations by the end of the summer.
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