The new U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff is warning his service it faces stiff competition in a future war, involving aircraft and personnel losses not seen for 80 years. General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. believes the Air Force must work to accelerate change, adapting to new technologies faster than its potential adversaries. Brown warns that “good enough today will fail tomorrow,” with grave implications for the entire country.
He also goes as far as to predict WW II level loses for USAF against peers. This is really a classic "cry wolf" situation because Pentagon inflated threats so many times that when, actually, the statement has a ring of truth to it, few will publicly aknowledge its merit. USAF, of course, still blows the smoke up out asses because what the USAF wants is to fight some third-tier opponent with grossly inferior air-force in order to make such statements (famous "analyst" Mizokami does it for them):
The Air Force has essentially been the supreme air force on the planet since 1991. The destruction of the Yugoslav Air Force in 1999 marked the beginning of more than 20 years of virtually uncontested air operations for the service lasting to this day. Since then, combat operations over Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere have largely been uncontested.
For starters, Mizokami mixed two different things. "Uncontested" merely meant that the US was and is bombing the shit out of countries which didn't have viable air forces to start with. Yugoslav Air Force was barely a factor in NATO's gang-rape of Serbia, which didn't prevent the US from threatening Russia trying to ensure that no S-300 AD complexes ever made it to Serbia. Moreover, in Syria the USAF is contested in a sense that Russia's VKS guard vast territories of Syria from the US control. Russia closes her eyes mostly on Israel's operations against Iranian assets there. The decision is purely political and underscores an immense complexity of politics in the Middle East. Lastly, the USAF met a proper peer in a proper, classic, air-to-air combat only in Korean War against Soviet 64th Fighter Corps and it was an unpleasant account for USAF. I do not include Vietnam here, but even there Vietnamese gave a good account of themselves in the air, while making sure that Air Defense becomes a more complex affair than merely AAA and dogfights. They, with the help of the USSR, surely succeeded.
Today we are deep inside Real Revolution in Military Affairs where the USAF faces insurmountable barrier of advanced technologies and operational concepts which make all, grossly backward, views on the air-war as merely a contest between two opposing air forces as relevant to reality on the ground, or in the air, for that matter, as having a crank-shaft for 2020 Toyota Camry or Chevrolet Camaro as means of starting the engine. It is good that Charles Brown acknowledges possible losses for USAF in the modern peer-to-peer war, but as Russians say--best air defense is our tanks at enemy's airfields. Russia is not going to be sending tanks to take Rammstein or whatever forward jump air strips may be chosen in case the US and NATO want to commit physical suicide, but modern air war, even before any aircraft reaches the edges of weapons' release, which in itself a dubious proposition, will pretty much have no airfields to come back to, nor, very possible, countries from which any attempts may be made against Russia or, for that matter, China.
Reality of modern air war is such that every single NATO aircraft will be tracked the moment it takes off from any field in Europe, in fact, many will be tracked while at the runway getting ready to take off, the first wave of counter-strike will be in the air shortly after that and even before those aircraft are properly airborne things will start happening which USAF never encountered before, ranging from great degrading, or complete shut-down, of communications to long-range EW, to disabling GPS and the list is too long to continue. And this is before anything happens at all. USAF never in its history operated in the environment like that and the remedy it suggests is, oh, boy...
How will the Air Force do this? Drones, drones, and more drones. Manned military aviation has been in a death spiral for some time. Technological complexity leads to increasingly sophisticated aircraft that require more time and money to develop. As a result, planes like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter require two decades to develop, cost $90 million each, and require months to build. The result is a smaller air force where even brand-new fighter jets feature 20-year-old technology, which isn't capable of making up for World War II-style losses.
I am having a... facepalm. A real drone, capable of any real military impact while carrying out whatever mission: strike, recon, air-to-air etc. will still be subjected, in the war against peer (Russia and China), to the same set of threats and counter-measures, which will either mitigate their impact or derail drones' mission altogether, unless it is a drone which is...well..expensive and extremely valuable, which brings us all back to the square one. The United States, as Andrei Raevsky once succinctly observed, can not fight wars on cheap, period. In fact, the ratios of US military technology costs relative to the same by peers continue to grow across the board for the United States. This is not a good indicator at all, for ANY military technology the United States procures or is about to. Same applies to drones. The world changed and any most "advanced" technologies the US tries to develop and procure are already obsolete the moment they leave manufacturing floor.
Without understanding of modern peer-to-peer conflict as a whole, as a vertical engagement from a strategic down to tactical levels, with all forces involved in it and interacting constantly across modern battle-space, all this silly talk is just...well, silly. At least RAND's big air operations honcho understands that:
Well, good that he at least understands that. As per "aggression" tropes, as I say non-stop: it so tired, it is so contrived and its really so rich coming from people whose actual combat score against peaceful weddings exceeds that against competent and determined air forces as of lately, that one has to simply dismiss this BS and admit that at this stage US military simply cannot adapt and develop a viable fighting doctrine and technology to fight serious adversary capable of rearranging stones, even without any nuclear weapons, anywhere in the world. In related news, Boeing wants at least 20% of its labor force to be black, while Hollywood issued new guide-lines for Oscars on inclusion (wokeness, that is). What can possibly go wrong? s/