A US Air Force (USAF) general is banking on the mere sight of two Air Force and two US Marine F-35s at airshows in the UK helping to deter a resurgent Russia.
“Fundamentally, deterrence is credibility, capability and willingness,” Gen. Frank Gorenc told Defense News.
“That airplane is going to make what we do from the air and across the board – it will in itself help” to deter enemies of the West, he said.
Though he didn’t mention them by name, Russia has been conspicuously building up defensive and offensive capabilities along its Western border with European nations, prompting US Army Gen. Ben Hodges to declare that the US has lost air superiority in Eastern Europe.
Independent military analysts at the RAND Corp. have voiced similarly troubling claims that Russia’s conventional forces could blow through NATO’s defenses in the Baltic states in as little as 36 hours.
Additionally, the F-35’s development has been plagued by bugs and reports of poor performance throughout its development. Only recently has good news about the plane’s readiness, operational capability, and costs come to light.
Yet Gorenc remains confident that the F-35 debuting at two airshows in the UK will make Russia think twice about its newfound air superiority.
“To actually see it, I think, is an important step in the procurement of that airplane and a reinforcement that what we have is real,” Gorenc said. “It’s real, we have thousands of hours already, in fact, my son-in-law flies F-35s, so it’s real.”
- Lockheed Martin/Angel Delcueto
I think that the F-35 is going to do for NATO what the F-16 did, in the sense that many of the partners and many of the allies were flying it, and so we’re going to share common tactics, techniques, procedures (TTPs), concepts of operations, we’re going to leverage the logistics systems, the training system. I think that’s going go a long way to provide the interoperability that we strive for in the NATO concept.