Between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the 2010s, Western air forces, and American air forces in particular, were certain of being able to impose their superiority in the air on any other power, to the point of engaging in major campaigns without ever needing to deploy ground troops, as in Kosovo in 1999 during Operation Allied Force, or in Libya in 2011 during Operation Harmattan for France and Unified Protector for the UN. But the gradual arrival of new anti-aircraft defense systems, such as the S-400 (2007) and the S-350 (2019) in Russia, and the HQ-9B (2007) and the HQ-16 (2012) in China, and the improvement in the effectiveness of integrated multi-layer anti-aircraft defenses , have profoundly eroded these certainties, to the point of now speaking of denial of access, that is to say of systems capable of prohibiting on their own enter protected airspace, but also naval .
The initial response to this major threat to Western air forces, which alone today carry more than 75% of Western firepower, was summed up in one characteristic, stealth, widely highlighted for almost 15 years to promote the commercial success of Lockheed's F35. But the increasingly rapid arrival of detection systems designed to counter this characteristic , such as low frequency radars, passive radars, or multistatism, have largely eroded the aura of invincibility of the F35, which otherwise faces to other maintenance and budget constraints, and certain characteristics of which prove to be a handicap, such as its short range of action . At the same time, Moscow and Beijing, but also their allies, have deployed dense and effective anti-aircraft defense networks, against which the air forces in Europe or the Pacific have few solutions, except is the extensive use of electronic warfare aircraft like the EA-18G Growler.
To each Shield, its Spear
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