According to simulations, the US Air Force will lose its advantage from 2027 on the current trajectory

“Wargaming simulations show that we are not accelerating fast enough,… we have to go faster”. It is in these terms that General Clinton Hinote, who leads operational foresight for the US Air Force, described the situation. during a webinar hosted by the Center for an New American Security. And according to him, where the United States hitherto estimated to have the advantage over China with current planning until at least the beginning of the 2030s, and the arrival of NGAD, these same simulations now show that the inflection point would be in 2027, a very symbolic date since it is the one advance for the Pacific Command as probable for a Chinese military operation against Taiwan.

For General Hinote, the observation is now very clear, the technological and industrial Tempo followed by the US Air Force, the very one which has nevertheless been considerably accelerated. since 2020 and the arrival of the new Chief of Staff, General Brown, is no longer sufficient to cope with the observed and anticipated advances in the Chinese defense industry, and this in the very short term, since 5 years in terms of military planning is an extremely short time to react. In other words, and in the absence of a massive and very rapid reaction in terms of planning, the US Air Force, and with it all the US and allied forces, will be locked in a strategic surprise situation, unable in any way to react quickly enough to maintain the operational advantage over the People's Liberation Army.

In just a matter of weeks, China unveiled the Electronic Warfare J-16D, shipborne J-35, two-seater J-20S / SA, and a fractional orbital bombardment system capable of dropping a hypersonic glider anywhere in the world. the planet.

To meet this sizeable challenge with potentially decisive consequences for the security of the United States and many friendly and allied countries, General Hinote is proposing technological avenues consistent with the particularly short deadlines available to the US Air Force. In the first place, taking up a now traditional litany for the USAF, it would be a question of remove all obsolete systems from service, to free up credits but also human resources in order to start this transformation. The “Legacy Systems” concerned were not clearly designated, but they are obviously the same as usual, such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the F-15C or the F- 16C / D in its oldest version. For General Hinote, it is now essential to rely on a growing number of combat drones capable of compensating for the rise in Chinese power, both in the air sector and in that of denial of access.


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