AFA 2015: Russia has closed air power gap with NATO, US warns

  • Russia’s military modernisation has diminished NATO’s air superiority in Europe
  • The Pentagon is most alarmed by Russia’s ability to create A2/AD challenges

Russia’s military modernisation has diminished NATO’s air superiority in Europe, US Air Force (USAF) General Frank Gorenc, the commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, said during the Air Force Association’s annual symposium on 14 September.

“They have closed the gap,” Gen Gorenc, also the chief of Allied Air Command, told reporters during a briefing.

“The advantage that we have from the air, I can honestly say, is shrinking,” he added. “But the more alarming thing is their ability to create anti-access/area denial [A2/AD].”

Following difficulties that Moscow experienced during the 2008 invasion of Georgia, Russia initiated “a very large modernisation”, Gen Gorenc said. “They learned a lot along the way, and they made moves to close the asymmetric advantage posed by the quality of our air force; they’ve done it.”

Gen Gorenc is particularly concerned about two A2/AD zones – Crimea on the Black Sea and Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. “Some of the array that’s in Kaliningrad extends into Poland today,” he said. “That’s a fact.”

Full article: AFA 2015: Russia has closed air power gap with NATO, US warns (IHS Jane’s 360)

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