“Physics probably favors detection and the ultimate demise of stealthy systems.” So predicted the Hart-Rudman Commission in 1999. Sixteen years later, it’s time for the Department of Defense to ask tough questions about whether to continue investing scarce resources into stealth technology. Foremost among those questions is this: Are we sacrificing too much capacity in a quest for an exquisite capability, a capability that may not offer the edge it once did and whose efficacy is in decline?
As the Air Force Times recently reported, the F-22 and F-35A conducted their first integrated training mission earlier this month. Several observers declared this mission, which included offensive counter air, defensive counter air and interdiction operations, to be a success. But if the planes are to actually operate as a cohesive strike package in the complex A2/AD environments of the future, the services will first need to address a glaring gap in interoperability: data links.
Iranian bloggers revealed earlier this month that an official photo showing Iran’s recently unveiled stealth fighter, the Qaher-313, in flight is in fact a fake photoshopped image. Despite claims by the Iranian government that the aircraft is patrolling the skies, sharp-eyed bloggers spotted that the image was taken from the unveiling ceremony in Tehran and superimposed onto a different background.
While many Iranians (possibly including the military) have taken to Facebook to excitedly promote the Qaher-313, many bloggers view the image as an opportunity to mock the Tehran regime. Adding substance to their mockery are allegations that the photograph of a monkey that Iran supposedly sent into space is also a fake.