Monday, April 1, 2013

F-35: Reality drives Pacific allies to F-35

That reality is posed in a quote at an Australian news site:
China is also flight testing two stealth fighters, the J-20 and the J-31, although they are not expected to enter service until the end of the decade at the earliest, military aviation experts said.

"It's an open question as to how advanced and sophisticated they actually are," said Andrew Davies, a senior strategy analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, referring to the Chinese fighters.

"But having said that, they make life more difficult for existing types, so the F-35 becomes more important." 
It is indeed "an open question" as to how advanced and sophisticated the Chinese 5th generation stealth aircraft are, but the bottom line is they not only exist, but are being developed for production.  Keep in mind this is China's first generation of stealth aircraft while the US is working on it's 3rd generation.

However the old military dictum comes to mind - one should always prepare for the worst case scenario.  In this case, the worst case scenario is China successfully develops sophisticated and advanced stealthy aircraft. 

Obviously, then, as Davies points out, "the F-35 becomes more important" than it was previously because of what our allied nations could conceivably face.

What should be just as obvious, but apparently isn't, is the F-35 is an aircraft designed with advanced capabilities in both the tactical and strategic sense.  It is designed to be extremely capable in a scenario that would include Chinese 5th gen fighters (i.e. "worst case") and to give us a clear advantage if facing 4th generation opposition.

Our Pacific allies and potential allies seem to hae figured this out.  Japan has committed to the F-35 as has Singapore and Australia.  South Korea, especially given what is going on now, will likely do so too.  They see the handwriting on the wall and realized the best option to counter the worst-case threat is the F-35.

Perhaps some day the critics here at home will come to that realization as well.


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