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January 7, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

Recrafting the Fighter role

ROBBIN LAIRD, © 2018 FrontLine (Vol 15, No 6)

It's clear that combat capabilities and operations are being recrafted across the globe and, as operational contexts change, the evolution of the role of fighters is at the center of that shift. This year's International Fighter Conference held in Berlin provided a chance to focus on the role of fighters in the strategic shift from land wars to higher intensity operations. The baseline assumption for the conference can be simply put: air superiority can no longer be assumed, and needs to be created in contested environments.

Competitors like China and Russia are putting significant effort into shaping concepts of operations and modernizing force structures which will allow them to challenge the ability of liberal democracies to establish air superiority and to dominate future crises.

There was a clear consensus on this point, but, of course, working the specifics of defeating such an adversary brings in broader concepts of force design and operations. While the air forces of liberal democracies all face the common threat of operating in contested airspace, the preferred solutions vary greatly from one nation to another, so the conference worked from that common assumption rather than focusing on specific solutions.

The coming of the F-35 global enterprise is a clear force for change. In one presentation, a senior RAF officer outlined how the UK would both contribute to and benefit from the F-35 global enterprise. “The future is now,” he began, as he laid out how he saw interactions among F-35 partners in shaping common and distinctive approaches to air power modernization driven by the introduction of the F-35.

Full article: https://defence.frontline.online/article/2018/6/10980-Recrafting-the-Fighter-role

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