The Russian Air Force’s Super Weapon: Beware the PAK-FA Stealth Fighter

 

The Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter could prove to be a formidable competitor to American fifth-generation combat aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Indeed, in some measures, the new Russian warplane will exceed both U.S.-built jets, but the PAK-FA is not without its flaws.

“The analysis that I have seen on the PAK-FA indicates a pretty sophisticated design that is at least equal to, and some have said even superior to U.S. fifth-generation aircraft,” former U.S. Air Force intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula told the National Interest. “It certainly has greater agility with its combination of thrust vectoring, all moving tail surfaces, and excellent aerodynamic design, than does the F-35.”

Indeed, the PAK-FA appears to be optimized for the air-superiority role like the F-22 more so than the multirole, strike-optimized F-35. Like the Raptor, the PAK-FA is being designed to fly high and fast to impart the maximum amount of launch energy to its arsenal of long-range air-to-air missiles—which would greatly increase the range of those missiles. Continue reading

Russian President Vladimir Putin promises new weapons will outstrip Western defence technology

Putin wants ‘new weapons’ to defy west

 

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has promised his military commanders a new array of weapons — from intercontinental nuclear missiles to aircraft and submarines — to counter what he calls ‘growing Western aggression’.

Mr Putin’s statement came as the military successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile launched from a nuclear submarine yesterday.\Putin accused the West of using the crisis in Ukraine to reinvigorate NATO, warning that Moscow will ponder a response to the alliance’s decision to create a rapid-reaction “spearhead” force to protect Eastern Europe.

His comments came as Russia’s relations with the West have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War due to Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine. They appear to show that the Russian leader is determined to pursue a tough course in the face of more Western sanctions.

“We have warned many times that we would have to take corresponding countermeasures to ensure our security,” Putin said, adding that he would now take personal charge of the government commission overseeing military industries.

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Rising red tide: China’s navy, air force rapidly expanding its size and reach

Away from the Chinese military’s expanding capabilities in cyberspace and electronic warfare, Beijing is growing the size and reach of its naval fleet, advancing its air force and testing a host of new missiles, the Pentagon said Thursday.

An annual report to Congress on China’s evolving military capability concluded that the modernization was being driven in part by growing territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, as well as by Beijing’s desire to expand its presence and influence abroad. Continue reading

Bears Buzz Alaska Again — Russian military again flies strategic bombers near Alaska

If they can reach the northern California coast with aged bombers during dry runs, imagine what the capabilities will be in 2020 when over 70% of their forces are modernized.

Russian strategic bombers conducted flights within the U.S. defense zone close to northern Alaska and the Aleutian Islands last week in Moscow’s latest incident of nuclear saber rattling against the United States, according to defense and military officials.

Two Bear H nuclear-capable bombers were detected flying into the military’s Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) near the Aleutians, where a strategic missile defense radar is located, and Alaska’s North Slope region by the Arctic and Chukchi Seas on April 28 and 29, military officials told the Washington Free Beacon.

Lt. Cmdr. Bill Lewis, a spokesman with the U.S. Northern Command, confirmed the fighter intercept of the latest bomber incursion but declined to provide details. Continue reading

Past inattention, present budget woes mean US Air Force must keep its aging warhorses flying

As the US Air Force technology becomes outdated, it becomes more expensive to maintain. Ironically and unfortunately, cuts have been made mostly in newer tech which only further compounds the problem of an aging military power.

For decades, the U.S. Air Force has grown accustomed to such superlatives as unrivaled and unbeatable. These days, some of its key combat aircraft are being described with terms like geriatric, or decrepit.

The aging of the U.S. Air Force, a long-simmering topic in defense circles, made a brief appearance in the presidential debates when Republican nominee Mitt Romney cited it as evidence of the decline of U.S. military readiness. His contention that the Navy is the smallest it’s been since 1917 got more attention, thanks to President Barack Obama’s quip that the Navy also has fewer “horses and bayonets.” Continue reading

How to Defeat the Air Force’s Powerful Stealth Fighter

Day by day, America is losing its edge in military superiority. Alarm bells should be ringing.

The fast, stealthy F-22 Raptor is “unquestionably” the best air-to-air fighter in the arsenal of the world’s leading air force. That’s what outgoing Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz wrote in 2009.

Three years later, a contingent of German pilots flying their latest Typhoon fighter have figured out how to shoot down the Lockheed Martin-made F-22 in mock combat. The Germans’ tactics, revealed in the latest Combat Aircraft magazine, represent the latest reality check for the $400-million-a-copy F-22, following dozens of pilot blackouts, and possibly a crash, reportedly related to problems with the unique g-force-defying vests worn by Raptor pilots.

The results were a surprise to the Germans and presumably the Americans, too. “We were evenly matched,” Maj. Marc Gruene told Combat Aircraft’s Jamie Hunter. The key, Gruene said, is to get as close as possible to the F-22 … and stay there. “They didn’t expect us to turn so aggressively.”

Gruene said the Raptor excels at fighting from beyond visual range with its high speed and altitude, sophisticated radar and long-range AMRAAM missiles. But in a slower, close-range tangle — which pilots call a “merge” — the bigger and heavier F-22 is at a disadvantage. “As soon as you get to the merge … the Typhoon doesn’t necessarily have to fear the F-22,” Gruene said.

It remains to be seen whether the Raptor and its AMRAAM missiles can reverse these trends. If long-range tactics fail, the F-22 force could very well find itself fighting up close with the latest fighters from China, Russia and other rival nations. And if the Germans’ experience is any indication, that’s the kind of battle the vaunted F-22s just might lose.

Full article: How to Defeat the Air Force’s Powerful Stealth Fighter (Danger Room)