America Plays Wargame Catchup

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F-22, Typhoon, Rafale: Lessons From The Trilateral Wargame

Editor’s note:  This is an important article, delusional, but important, predicated on the concept that America’s long discredited foreign policy, the love of hegemony and terror groups, has moral relevance.

 

Air Force photo

US F-22 (left) flies with British Typhoon (top right) & French Rafale (bottom)

As former Air Force Chief of Staff “Buzz” Mosley once declared, “there is not a place on the face of the earth that the USAF will not fight their way into.” But this aspiration has been complicated by 15 years of fighting low-end opponents like the Taliban even as peer adversaries like China and Russia build up high-end anti-aircraft defenses. The result is dangerous atrophy in the technology and training required for US air (and naval) forces to project power offensively worldwide. Now, with Russian aircraft and air defenses firmly established at a new base in Syria — and clashing with NATO ally Turkey — the challenge of contested airspace is no longer a future possibility but a present reality.

It was this challenge that brought together the US Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and theFrench Armée de l’air in a recent trilateral wargame at Langley Air Force Base. The goals: recover lost skills, hone new ones, advance new concepts of operations, and shape a template for the 21st century transformation of each nation’s air combat force.

The close relationship between the real world and the exercise was highlighted in a remark made by US Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh at the media day held during on the exercise on December 15, 2015, “Interoperability among allies and deconfliction in the operations of air forces in close proximity is crucial, “Gen. Welsh said. “We are using the same communications processes in the exercise that we are currently using in the Middle East to provide for interoperability and deconfliction.”





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