This post first appeared on Russia Insider
The US Air Force is struggling with how to train its pilots to fight against advanced Russian and Chinese fighters. Following its standard practice, the Pentagon has asked contractors for help. The Air Force needs targets that can accurately simulate enemy aircraft, especially the Chinese J-20 and J-31 and the Russian Su-57 (still in development). Does the US anticipate having to go up against these planes soon?
- Hello, Vadim.
- Good evening.
- Am I right in that the undertaking is hopeless?
- Specialists have said that it's just money thrown down the drain. The Americans are alarmed because they overlooked Russia and China developing 5th-generation jets.
The successful operation of the Su-57 supersonic stealth jet became a revelation to the USA. At the same time, America's 5th generation fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, can't fly properly due to a number of problems. Now, decommissioned aircraft are used as air targets. Until recently, the Pentagon wanted to use UAVs built on the basis of the old F-16 fighter jets as a Su-57-like target. However, the U.S. Air Force insists on the need to create clones of the latest Russian fighters. Experts say that making an exact copy without knowledge of the materials and technologies that were used is almost impossible and unreasonably expensive.
Andrey Krasnoperov, flight instructor: "They want to but I don't think they can. I think creating an identical model is improbable. Maybe they can create a model scaled ten to one, cover it with a similar coating, they don't know the exact formula, but they can use a similar one, launch the thing and watch the radar screens to see what mark the thing creates. That's the most they can do."
In general, creating an air target isn't a very expensive job. All we need is to take an unmanned aerial vehicle, a hot-air balloon would do, a corner reflector is attached to it having an effective dispersion area approximately corresponding to the target aircraft, but the enemy is also detected in the infrared range, therefore, the target must be equipped with thermal emitters that mimic aircraft engines. Professional military men surely know all of this. But you shall admit, the newest Russian aircraft is a wonderful reason to ask for additional funding.
The Pentagon has become skilled at it. The U.S. military budget is growing constantly. The discussion of record military spending this year hasn't quite ended, it was $716 billion, and the Department of Defense has issued a request on the allocation of funds for 2020... $750 billion. There's so much money allocated for military purposes that they can hardly spend it all. State institutions in the United States are funded on a “spend it or lose it” basis. It means that if they have money by the end of the year, they will later receive less. So this means that in the last month of the fiscal year, the Pentagon is on the loose. In the rush of budget development, no one takes count of where the money goes to.
Nevertheless, the statistics count everything. In September of 2018, the Pentagon spent almost $5 million on lobsters and crabs, more than $7 million on iPhones and iPads, $308 thousand on spirituous liquors, and twice as much on golf cars. Apparently, soldiers go to the barracks in them.
Alexander Asafov, political analyst: "Since the Pentagon has never undergone a full audit, since the moment it was founded until today, attempts at this only started last year, the Pentagon, according to even American experts, is a black financial hole which Donald Trump pumps more and more money into. We're going to witness even more of these kinds of stories."
There have been enough examples. Let's take the old program on creating an aircraft equipped with laser weapons. It was appraised at $5 billion. But after eight years of development, it ended. It was considered to be inefficient.
- Thank you. That was Vadim Zavodchenkov on the impracticable American dream.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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