Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

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Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Stacy S. » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:32 pm UTC

Critics Slam Obama Administration for 'Hiding' Massive Saudi Arms Deal

The Obama administration has quietly forged ahead with its proposal to sell $60 billion worth of fighter jets and attack helicopters to Saudi Arabia unhampered by Congress, despite questions raised in legislative inquiries and in an internal congressional report about the wisdom of the deal.

The massive arms deal would be the single largest sale of weapons to a foreign nation in the history of the U.S., outfitting Saudi Arabia with a fully modernized, potent new air force.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/critics-s ... 558&page=1

Good for you Obama. I can understand why you'd want to hide this but this is a great sale. I really don't see any downside. Fighter jets and attack helos are like ink-jet printers; the real profit comes well after the deal.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Roĝer » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:20 pm UTC

But is also means that Saudi Arabia, which is already economically very powerful because of its oil, now has military teeth too. I can see why some would not be happy with that.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Wnderer » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:24 pm UTC

"It is an attempt to bolster the Saudis at a time when the Iranians are trying to be a hegemonic power for the entire region," he said.


Got to maintain parity between the Sunni and the Shi'ite. Now that Iraq could go either way, the Saudi's are your best bet.

Arm sale. Good.
Missile shield. Good.
Start treaty. Good.

Somebody should smack Jon Kyl upside the head with a dead trout.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/opini ... art&st=cse

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Stacy S. » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:48 pm UTC

Wnderer wrote:
"It is an attempt to bolster the Saudis at a time when the Iranians are trying to be a hegemonic power for the entire region," he said.


Got to maintain parity between the Sunni and the Shi'ite. Now that Iraq could go either way, the Saudi's are your best bet.

Arm sale. Good.
Missile shield. Good.
Start treaty. Good.

Somebody should smack Jon Kyl upside the head with a dead trout.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/opini ... art&st=cse


The problem is that the missile shield and (new) START treaty are somewhat mutually exclusive. Maybe you should start a thread about the new START treaty.

But yea, Arms sales good. And since we control the supply chain, even better.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Tirian » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

Roĝer wrote:But is also means that Saudi Arabia, which is already economically very powerful because of its oil, now has military teeth too. I can see why some would not be happy with that.


Yeah, we should only be arming nations for free, and only long-term friends with solid governments. Like Pakistan.

Of course, this is only one more in a long line of reasons why we need to stop urging Saudi Arabia to become a democracy. But it's a big boost to American exports and American jobs, and a big change from the previous administration who thought that secretly selling our port security to Dubai was an American interest.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Telchar » Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:37 pm UTC

It's bound to piss off Israel in a huge way but that's almost inevitable when dealing with any nation in the region.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:45 pm UTC

Considering that terrorists and paramilitaries have never used fighter jets and so forth, I really don't see too much of a problem with this deal.

People always complain about the US being the biggest arms dealer and all, but keep in in mind that a single F-35 costs more than every AK-47 in the world combined. Which arms costs more, selling a hundred assault rifles and a few RPG's to some African criminal gang, or selling a transport helicopter to Saudi Arabia? Which arms deal does more harm?

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby PeterCai » Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:54 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Considering that terrorists and paramilitaries have never used fighter jets and so forth, I really don't see too much of a problem with this deal.

People always complain about the US being the biggest arms dealer and all, but keep in in mind that a single F-35 costs more than every AK-47 in the world combined. Which arms costs more, selling a hundred assault rifles and a few RPG's to some African criminal gang, or selling a transport helicopter to Saudi Arabia? Which arms deal does more harm?


first of all, what they are selling are not transport helicopters.

secondly, US/US based companies do both of these things, that's why it's the biggest arms dealer.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Internetmeme » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:13 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Considering that terrorists and paramilitaries have never used fighter jets and so forth, I really don't see too much of a problem with this deal.

People always complain about the US being the biggest arms dealer and all, but keep in in mind that a single F-35 costs more than every AK-47 in the world combined. Which arms costs more, selling a hundred assault rifles and a few RPG's to some African criminal gang, or selling a transport helicopter to Saudi Arabia? Which arms deal does more harm?


first of all, what they are selling are not transport helicopters.

secondly, US/US based companies do both of these things, that's why it's the biggest arms dealer.


First of all, they actually are selling some transport helicopters; black hawks to be exact
The Atlantic wrote:72 Blackhawk troop-transport helicopters

Source

Secondly, what? Please explain what you mean on your second point.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby PeterCai » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:28 pm UTC

Internetmeme wrote:First of all, they actually are selling some transport helicopters; black hawks to be exact
The Atlantic wrote:72 Blackhawk troop-transport helicopters

Source

Secondly, what? Please explain what you mean on your second point.


the first one was my fault. So, I change my point to: What US are selling are not entirely transport helicopters.

the second point though, US is one of the leading suppliers of small arms:
http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/stat ... rms-trade/

and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_arms_proliferation

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:46 pm UTC

Well, that's one way to reduce the deficit!
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby DaPwnzlord » Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:34 pm UTC

Selling high-tech jets to an oil-rich country run by a brutal dictatorial regime.

That's never turned around and bitten us in the rear before, now has it? :roll:


This is just asking for a comparison to selling arms to Iran. Thirty-odd years ago we were selling F-14s to our good buddy the Shah of Iran. What are the F-15s going to do for Saudi Arabia? What nation threatens Saudi Arabia enough to merit such a massive investment in weaponry? The U.S.A. would come down like a ton of bricks on any country that actually invaded Saudi Arabia. Those F-15s are going to sit in Saudi Arabia until the House of Saud gets overthrown in a bloody coup, and voila! You've got a rogue nation with a grudge against the U.S. with some nice jets. How is this a good idea?

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:47 pm UTC

Because the US can annihilate any jets, tanks, or cruisers. If the new rulers of Saudi Arabia try to match the US with a conventional army, they would be wiped out in a month (took 3 weeks for Iraq). It's the guerrilla warfare that the US can't fight.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby BlackSails » Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:16 pm UTC

Also the F-15 is a rather old plane. Its not like we are selling them F-35s

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Mabus_Zero » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:32 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:Also the F-15 is a rather old plane. Its not like we are selling them F-35s


The basic plane? Yes. The question is, what block are they giving to them?
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:53 am UTC

My question is why Saudi Arabia wanted this gear in the first place. They seem to be a dictatorship/theocracy, so I am a little concerned about the sale of these weapons.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Tirian » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:15 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:My question is why Saudi Arabia wanted this gear in the first place. They seem to be a dictatorship/theocracy, so I am a little concerned about the sale of these weapons.


They're probably concerned that they're about to become a neighbor of Iranq. I can't say that I blame them.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby BlackSails » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:30 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:My question is why Saudi Arabia wanted this gear in the first place. They seem to be a dictatorship/theocracy, so I am a little concerned about the sale of these weapons.


Every country always wants more and better weapons.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby SummerGlauFan » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:45 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:My question is why Saudi Arabia wanted this gear in the first place. They seem to be a dictatorship/theocracy, so I am a little concerned about the sale of these weapons.


Reason #1: Iran.

#2: Possibly Iraq, depending on Iraq's future.

Keep in mind, most of their neighbors are not very nice and/or are politically unstable.

Also, it's not like they are going to be using the planes and attack helicopters to keep their people submissive. It's much cheaper to do that with a few hundred guys with AK-47's.

I'm not saying I'm a fan of Saudi Arabia at all, but this isn't as scary as everyone seems to be thinking.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Obby » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:50 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:My question is why Saudi Arabia wanted this gear in the first place. They seem to be a dictatorship/theocracy, so I am a little concerned about the sale of these weapons.


Reason #1: Iran.

#2: Possibly Iraq, depending on Iraq's future.

Keep in mind, most of their neighbors are not very nice and/or are politically unstable.

Also, it's not like they are going to be using the planes and attack helicopters to keep their people submissive. It's much cheaper to do that with a few hundred guys with AK-47's.

I'm not saying I'm a fan of Saudi Arabia at all, but this isn't as scary as everyone seems to be thinking.


But... The terr'rists have planes now! And they don't even need to hijack them!
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:10 pm UTC

Obby wrote:But... The terr'rists have planes now! And they don't even need to hijack them!


Considering that the US will shoot down foreign airliners for the crime of heading in the direction of a navy ship, and Russia will also shoot down foreign commercial airliners, that's not a real problem.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Internetmeme » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:My question is why Saudi Arabia wanted this gear in the first place. They seem to be a dictatorship/theocracy, so I am a little concerned about the sale of these weapons.


Reason #1: Iran.

#2: Possibly Iraq, depending on Iraq's future.

Keep in mind, most of their neighbors are not very nice and/or are politically unstable.

Also, it's not like they are going to be using the planes and attack helicopters to keep their people submissive. It's much cheaper to do that with a few hundred guys with AK-47's.

I'm not saying I'm a fan of Saudi Arabia at all, but this isn't as scary as everyone seems to be thinking.


Reason #3: Yemen, which is rapidly becoming a the next Pakistan for Al Queda. Maybe there's some deal we don't know about where they'll use some of this to be our hitmen on them?
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Arete » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:28 pm UTC

Israel got them for free!


Arming Saudi Arabia is rather like military air traffic controls with no airforce or training pilots to be used in civil wars.


Bottom line: its the economy, stupid.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Rii » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:24 pm UTC

This deal is indeed 'large'. Coupled with the Tiffys, it'll give Saudi Arabia - on paper - something like the fifth most powerful air force on the planet (behind the US, China, Russia, India) by number of modern combat aircraft in service.

BlackSails wrote:Also the F-15 is a rather old plane. Its not like we are selling them F-35s


The F-15s rolling off the assembly line in 2010 are hardly the same aircraft as entered service with USAF in the 80s. A two-seat, twin engine, 45,000lb aircraft does have its advantages over the single-seat, 30,000lb F-35. Late-build F-15s such as those operated by S.Korea, Singapore and Saudi Arabia will likely be more than a match for the F-35 in the air combat/superiority regime.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:41 am UTC

Rii wrote:The F-15s rolling off the assembly line in 2010 are hardly the same aircraft as entered service with USAF in the 80s. A two-seat, twin engine, 45,000lb aircraft does have its advantages over the single-seat, 30,000lb F-35. Late-build F-15s such as those operated by S.Korea, Singapore and Saudi Arabia will likely be more than a match for the F-35 in the air combat/superiority regime.


The F-15 is still a "light bomber" or a Strike Fighter, meant for destroying things like tanks, ground installations, slow moving aircraft, and so forth. It just happens to be able to hold its own against any other aircraft of the mid-late 20th century. Even the most current F-15 would be eaten alive by a F-35 or Typhoon-II (aka, the Eurofighter), for different reasons. The F-35 because it's a stealth fighter, the Typhoon-II because it's a better plane.

The question of whether the F-35 or Typhoon II is better is up for debate.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Rii » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:13 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Rii wrote:The F-15s rolling off the assembly line in 2010 are hardly the same aircraft as entered service with USAF in the 80s. A two-seat, twin engine, 45,000lb aircraft does have its advantages over the single-seat, 30,000lb F-35. Late-build F-15s such as those operated by S.Korea, Singapore and Saudi Arabia will likely be more than a match for the F-35 in the air combat/superiority regime.


The F-15 is still a "light bomber" or a Strike Fighter, meant for destroying things like tanks, ground installations, slow moving aircraft, and so forth. It just happens to be able to hold its own against any other aircraft of the mid-late 20th century.


Other way around. The F-15 is a heavy air-superiority fighter that just so happens (in its E+ incarnations) to be a decent strike aircraft as well. The F-15's design motto, in fact, was 'not a pound for air-to-ground', reflecting a desire to avoid the jack-of-all-trades syndrome which afflicted the F-4. The F-15 is certainly far more a 'fighter' than the F-35 is, having the edge in:

Range
Radar (power/aperture size)
Speed/Acceleration/Rate of Climb
Armament (quantity of munitions)
Maneuverability

Reduced RCS is about all the F-35 brings to the table over the F-15 in the air-combat regime. Of course, it was also intended to be significantly cheaper to own and operate, but that prospect is long gone.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby BlackSails » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:42 pm UTC

Rii wrote:Reduced RCS is about all the F-35 brings to the table over the F-15 in the air-combat regime. Of course, it was also intended to be significantly cheaper to own and operate, but that prospect is long gone.


In modern air combat, does anything else really matter?

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby rath358 » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:48 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Rii wrote:Reduced RCS is about all the F-35 brings to the table over the F-15 in the air-combat regime. Of course, it was also intended to be significantly cheaper to own and operate, but that prospect is long gone.


In modern air combat, does anything else really matter?

does RCS stand for "radar cross section" in this context?
It seems the most likely out of the things offered by acronymfinder, but I can't be sure.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby masher » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:59 pm UTC

rath358 wrote:does RCS stand for "radar cross section" in this context?
It seems the most likely out of the things offered by acronymfinder, but I can't be sure.


Yes.

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Duban » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:23 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Rii wrote:Reduced RCS is about all the F-35 brings to the table over the F-15 in the air-combat regime. Of course, it was also intended to be significantly cheaper to own and operate, but that prospect is long gone.


In modern air combat, does anything else really matter?


Interesting point. Anyways I think even the carrier based F18 Superhornet is a better air superiority fighter than the F15E. F15s are good craft but the age of the basic design is showing. The F18, with superhornet upgrade, would probably qualify as a Generation 5 jet fighter if the definition of a gen 5 fighter wasn't defined and attempted to be trademarked by Lockheed. Conveniently, Lockheed is the creator of both the F22 and F35.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:27 am UTC

Wait... people actually use fighter jets still?
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Duban » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:30 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Wait... people actually use fighter jets still?

Yes, Stealth bombers are nice but when you want an extended bombing campaign you still need the good ol' B52s which need air support. Granted most nations the US has fought in recent history haven't even try to fight the US in the Air to Air role, but that's only because we maintain such superior fighters in the first place. Besides, most fighters these days still maintain a strong ground attack capability anyways.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:39 am UTC

I thought it was all drones and pin point bombing or long range missiles. Wouldn't the counter-measures to bombers be mostly Ground to Air stuff rather than fighters coming in that need to be countered?
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Solt » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:50 am UTC

Rii wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Also the F-15 is a rather old plane. Its not like we are selling them F-35s


The F-15s rolling off the assembly line in 2010 are hardly the same aircraft as entered service with USAF in the 80s. A two-seat, twin engine, 45,000lb aircraft does have its advantages over the single-seat, 30,000lb F-35. Late-build F-15s such as those operated by S.Korea, Singapore and Saudi Arabia will likely be more than a match for the F-35 in the air combat/superiority regime.



Yup. F15 > F-35. So it's a good thing we're not selling anyone our actual modern air-superiority fighter, the F-22.


Oh and Gelsamel, air superiority is the most important factor in conventional warfare. There haven't been many examples in the last half century, but the side with air dominance has always won. Check out the India-Pakistan wars or any conflict Israel has been in.

Obviously all bets are off when you talk about guerrilla wars, but when the other side is fighting you with planes and tanks and territory that actually means something, you want to be able to shoot them out of the air.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby BlackSails » Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:14 am UTC

Solt wrote: any conflict Israel has been in.


War of independence?


Back on topic - Has anyone found info on which variant is actually being sold?

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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Duban » Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:22 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:I thought it was all drones and pin point bombing or long range missiles. Wouldn't the counter-measures to bombers be mostly Ground to Air stuff rather than fighters coming in that need to be countered?

You see, the B2s go in first to take out the SAMs and radar, the risky stuff. Once the AA has been dealt with the B52s and other strike aircraft are free to do as they please. After that, in theory, hostile fighters pose a risk. In reality any attempt to attack our fighter aircraft would be futile anyways BECAUSE of our air superiority. The idea is to keep that air superiority.

Also, like I said most American fighters are multi-role and can strike ground targets efficiently. Our strike fighters are actually the ones doing most of that "pin point bombing", B52s are great for blasting swaths of hostile anything but require air support, drones are good against poorly armed insurgents but are sitting ducks against an actual military, and cruise missiles are extremely costly and can only target stationary objects.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Solt » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:56 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:War of independence?


I did say last half century. Back then (1948) war was different and air superiority didn't mean much. They aimed for big, stationary targets like cities and bomb factories and rail yards. The didn't have the efficiency to fly around looking for their targets or the speed to be called in as air support during a battle. They didn't even have smart bombs so they had to release a ton of bombs in the approximate area of the target and hope a few of them actually hit.

But once jet fighters and accompanying tech came into existence air power meant something. Case in point: Six Day War Israel won in six days because they achieved rapaciously good air superiority. I mean they destroyed entire air forces on the ground. The Yom Kippur war neither side could quite achieve air superiority- the Arab countries had SAM'd up but couldn't challenge the IAF outside of their SAM umbrella- so it ended up being a slow land war and dragged on for a while.
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Re: Largest Arms Deal In U.S. History

Postby Zamfir » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

Solt wrote:But once jet fighters and accompanying tech came into existence air power meant something. Case in point: Six Day War Israel won in six days because they achieved rapaciously good air superiority. I mean they destroyed entire air forces on the ground. The Yom Kippur war neither side could quite achieve air superiority- the Arab countries had SAM'd up but couldn't challenge the IAF outside of their SAM umbrella- so it ended up being a slow land war and dragged on for a while.


I would say this points to a difference between the importance of air superiority, and the importance of air superiority fighters. The last decades suggest that the key to air superiority lies mainly in destroying the ground-based defenses of the enemy, not so much in destroying or repelling enemy fighters.


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