It’s been a pillar of the U.S. military’s approach to high-tech warfare for decades. And now, it could become obsolete in just a few years.
Stealth technology — which today gives U.S. jets the nearly unparalleled ability to slip past hostile radar — may soon be unable to keep American aircraft cloaked. That’s the potentially startling conclusion of a new report from Barry Watts, a former member of the Pentagon’s crystal-ball-gazing Office of Net Assessment and current analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.
“The advantages of stealth … may be eroded by advances in sensors and surface-to-air missile systems, especially for manned strike platforms operating inside defended airspace,” Watts cautions in his 43-page report The Maturing Revolution in Military Affairs (.pdf), published last week.
That could come as a big shock to the U.S. Air Force, which has bet its future on radar-dodging technology, to the tune of half-a-trillion dollars over the next 30 years.
So, should Canada proceed with purchasing the F-35, or save money and pick up the F-18 Super Hornet? This could get very entertaining over the next 12 months as costing concerns keep being raised in Washington.