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Friday, August 7, 2015

Russian technology to shoot down B-2 stealth bombers might be sold to Iran in future?

Russian technology to shoot down B-2 stealth bombers might be sold to Iran in future? HT: IMRA.

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA - 7 August 2015:

IMRA contacted two experts who write about defense technology asking them to react to the claim by Russian Major General Sergei Babakov that Russia has the technology to shoot down B-2 stealth bombers and the possibility that Iran may buy and implement this technology, thus effectively denying the United States a conventional surgical strike option.

Their responses:

I agree with your analysis...I have been thinking about a longer piece on stealth in general, because like any other technology it has a half life, and I think we are on the downward slope as to what can be achieved given advances in radar and other detection systems such as the Czech-developed (now US owned) Vera system (see Incidentally Vera is an interesting story in and of itself and I analyze it in my forthcoming book Technology Security and National Power: Winners and Losers. Dr.Stephen D. Bryen SDB Partners

Other professional appointments Senior staff director of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Trade Security Policy Founder and first director of the Defense Technology Security Administration Commissioner of the U.S. China Security Review Commission

“... it does not surprise me that the Russians (and the Chinese) have systems that can detect and potentially shoot down a B-2. That's clearly a reason behind LRS-B, but by the time that platform gets into service, the GBADS threat will have developed further. It does raise the question whether the very long development cycles for new combat aircraft are an Achilles heel given the quicker development cycles and incremental improvement of defence systems including counter-stealth radars. A better solution than a small number of very advanced bombers might be larger numbers of lower-tech but capable bombers carrying lots of really advanced high-speed long range cruise missiles. If you need to penetrate an IADS then invest in a small number of advanced UCAVs or find an entirely different approach to precision attack on a hardened or mobile target. The point is, the current operational paradigm is on borrowed time from my perspective.”

Dr. Malcolm Davis Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University Australia Other professional appointments Assistant Director - Strategic External Relations and Education - Strategic Policy Division, Department of Defence Assistant Director - Strategic Policy Guidance - Strategic Policy Division, Department of Defence

IMRA wrote to Dr. Avner Golov:

You write that "the United States must rehabilitate the credibility of a military option in the form of a surgical strike". Given that the American surgical strike plan today hinges on the use of B-2 stealth bombers with bunker busters and the Russians already claim to have the ability to shoot down B-2's (Major General Sergei Babakov quoted in US ‘Stealth’ Bombers Can’t Hide From Russian Anti-Aircraft Missiles SputnikNews Military & Intelligence 17:50 05.07.2015(updated 18:01 05.07.2015)) isn't it reasonable to assume that there is a significant possibility that within the next decade Iran will have in place an anti-aircraft system that effectively denies the United State a conventional surgical strike option?

Dr. Avner Golov replied:

Regarding your very interesting question: my advice is to treat General Babakov's statement with a grain of salt. Every anti-aircraft system has a weak link and if there is one air force that has the capability to find this link and exploit it is the US Air Force. I can think at least on one other country that can develop similar capabilities if needed in the next decade.

However, it is anything but clear that Russia will sell this advanced system (whose extended form is not yet operational) to Iran in the next decade, after the embargo-related-sanctions are lifted. There is a Russian commitment to arm Iran with the S-300 system but this decision was postponed so far. Before start talking about more advance systems, the Russian will have to deliver this promise and it is going to take a while as both the US and Israel will surely act to prevent it.

Lastly, a decade is a long time: the negotiations over the agreement and its interpretation have just started. A new president in the US is going to enter the White House in 2016 and nobody knows what the future holds for the Iranian regime.

Altogether, right now it seems that the prospects for Iran to deny the American military option de facto are low. As US-Israel cooperation in the field of active defense missile systems taught us: when the US and Israel collaborate even the sky is not the limit. Maintaining a credible military option against Iran is not different in this regard. Hmmmm.......Anymore doubts the Obama 'admin' gave Iran the means to build and keep he bombs? Read the full story here.

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