Alex Lockie for Business Insider in a piece titled NATO will lose its next air war to Putin’s ‘formidable beasts’ if it waits for the F-35 to save it:
“If we think we’re going to wait for the next generation to sort the problems out, I can categorically tell you we will fail when next major conflict occurs.” Simon Rochelle, the Royal Air Force’s air vice-marshal, told the Royal United Service Institute’s Combat Air Survivability conference on Wednesday.
“In 2030, 80% of the European NATO forces – should one of those situations occur, God forbid – will be gen 4 fighters. You can’t walk away from that,” he continued, referring to pre-stealth jets as belonging to a fourth generation of fighters.
While Rochelle sounded confident in the F-35’s ability to meet current and future threats, he stressed that NATO wouldn’t hit critical mass in its fifth-generation fleets in time for the next big conflict.
This is hyperbole. Russia’s air defense technology is nowhere near as effective as the air vice-marshal paints it. I would recommend having a look at FOI’s new report on the overrated nature of Russia’s A2/AD capabilities.
Of course it is a good idea to upgrade 4th generation fighters with new technology. But there is no reason to get alarmist about it.