The U.S. Air Force, an informal mouthpiece of the U.S. Air Force, reported that the U.S. Air Force will restore guaranteed sky superiority after 2020, referring to adversaries such as Russia and China. The author of the publication, the head of John Tirpak, nevertheless, acknowledged that Russia and China are reducing the technological gap at a shocking pace.
According to Tirpak, Moscow and Beijing had a “window of opportunity” because of Washington’s short-sightedness, which “after the victory over the USSR,” to put it mildly, relaxed. He was told about this by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments ( or CSBA – Avt.), which reported that integration into a single mechanism of Russian missile defense and high-altitude aviation, as well as achievements in EW ” undermined America’s advantage in the Air Force.”
As the Yankees will restore the former power, shared with compatriots the director of air and cyber operations of the U.S. Pacific Air Force, Major General Scott L. Pleus. “The F-35 and F-22 will sneak into contested airspace and “like vacuum cleaners” to suck away information, passing it to heavily armed fourth-generation aircraft outside the disputed area,” he said. “But these aircraft need longer-range missiles, with SCRAMJET (hypersonic direct-jet engine) technology… that will fly much farther, much higher, much faster.”
This ideal weapon of destruction of enemy aircraft should be the AIM-260 missile, which from 2017 is being developed by Lockheed Martin Corporation. It is designed to replace the AIM-120 AMRAAM (“American battering, with a range of 50 km in the first version), which Scott L. Pleus called “the undisputed champion of air combat since the early 1990s”.
Despite his high-stability, Plus didn’t really dare against the truth. Recall, AIM-120 was developed in response to the Soviet air missile R-27, which significantly outplayed in the 80s of the last century the then most advanced American missile AIM-7 Sparrow – “Sparrow”.
By this time, the USSR was already working on the creation of the R-77 missile (with a range of 110 km), which was to “outdo” the AIM-120. But the era of Yeltsinism for many years delayed its serial production. Thus, the Americans have formed a temporary superiority in air-to-air missiles, which has now been completely undermined, even according to pentagon experts.
Despite a number of upgrades, the “American Ram” is now morally obsolete. And even the increase in range and the set of equipment to counter the EW no longer make the “American ram” a guaranteed killer of Su and MiG fighters. The AIM-120D version, capable of attacking enemy aircraft from a distance of 180 km, has a price tag of $2 million. – expensive even for the U.S. Air Force. It is purchased in very small batches for heavy F-22 fighter jets, including because of its dubious value.
As the popular US news portal, Jejaktapak writes, “the main reason for replacing AMRAAM is the increasingly sophisticated use of enemy aviation.” The publication even gave an offensive example for the Pentagon, when Americans were “disgraced in full program.”
In February 2019, the Indians offered the Americans to “shoot down” their Su-30MKI best missile AIM-120C – certainly not in a real attack, but in a combat simulation. This is likely after Lockheed Martin unveiled a new f-21 light multirole fighter for India and India on February 20, 2019.
We are talking about a special version of the F-16 fighter, which was to supplant our MiG-35 in the multi-year tender MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) for the purchase of 114 state-of-the-art “medium multi-purpose combat aircraft” for the Indian Air Force.
The Americans brought with them software for virtual training, including to simulate air combat. Most likely, the weekend signals of the Su-30 MKI cockpit simulator were connected to a mathematical model developed by Lockheed Martin, and at the helm sat a real pilot of the Indian Air Force. «… Using a combination of EW systems complex and high-altitude maneuvers thanks to a controlled thrust vector, the Su-30 MKI fighter dodged five AIM-120S missiles,” Jejaktapak notes.
Meanwhile, the Su-30 was developed in the 1990s, which means the more advanced Su-35 and Su-57 fighter jets will cope with attacks even the F-22 – not to mention the F-16. Thus, high maneuverability not only gives a great advantage in air combat at short ranges but also allows the aircraft to more easily avoid long-range missile attack.
In fact, it was the high-speed guided thrust of our aircraft that prompted the Pentagon to develop a long-range and hypersonic AIM-260 missile to “reduce the reaction time of an enemy fighter to perform a missile maneuver.”
Overseas experts, by the way, have already estimated the likely cost of the “killer Su-57 and MiG-35.” According to the most modest calculations, the new “American battering ram” will cost no less than $4 million. Although it is likely that the price will increase at least twice. It was reported that Lockheed Martin plans to install an active phased antenna grille on AMRAAM-2. This will allow, according to the developer, to provide a wider radar coverage and prevent the departure of Russian fighters during the maneuver from the interceptor radar zone. By the way, the U.S. does not hide that the idea “borrowed” from the description of the newest Russian K-77 missile.
So only a dozen AIM-260s will cost American taxpayers as much as one “golden” F-35 fighter. Again, the U.S. Air Force buys from Lockheed Martin, in fact, pieces of outdated missile AIM-120D at a real need many times more. For example, the Indian Air Force recently purchased 1,000 R-27 missiles from Russia for $220 million. only for the local conflict in Kashmir.
A simple calculation shows that even ten billion dollars will not be enough to provide the latest American combat aviation with the latest AMRAAM-2. By comparison, the Entire Pentagon Budget in 2019 is $716 billion.
It would be good if AIM-260 really justified the title of 100% “killer” Of the Su-57 and MiG-35, but such a guarantee is not even in Washington. First, the U.S. today has not created a really working hypersonic direct air-jet engine, capable of staying in flight at least a few miles. Meanwhile, the new “American ram” should race to the goal of about 400 km. Secondly, the question is involuntary, how much fuel does a rocket have to carry to overcome such a distance? Tons,” the experts say. Or you need to have a nuclear power plant, as in the Russian “Thunderbird.”
And thirdly, in future wars, one Russian fighter will accompany up to a dozen false targets, giving the same picture on the interceptor’s radars as the aircraft itself. In this case, to intercept, for example, the MiG-35 will require so many missiles that the cost of them will be many times higher than the attacking machine. In this regard, Jejaktapak logically concludes on plans to “return domination in the sky after 2020”: “The ability of the AIM-260 has yet to be proven, but there seems to be enough room to improve the design of the AIM-120.”
However, the top three world leaders in combat aviation have already entered the arms race in the field of the most expensive tactical weapons – air missiles. Here, however, the potential of the entire economy, capable of providing the defense with high government spending, is critical. The United States and China, apparently, this heavy burden, though with difficulty, will carry away. And Russia may breakthrough.