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Thread: Role of European Air Forces in an Asian Century

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    Role of European Air Forces in an Asian Century

    As we all know the US is planning to redistribute its focus to Asia. This means more units deployed to Asia or rotated to Asia. The Navy will have 60% of its fleet assigned to Pacific.

    With potential future budget cuts as well as possible changes in China relationship, this could be further adjusted in Pacific's favour.

    Right now NATO is highly reliant on US for many major functions - logistics, strategic transport, air to air refuelling, ISR, E3, ELINT, SEAD/DEAD and specialist ground attack (A-10A/C, AC-130, MQ-1).

    Some of these assets are already being pulled out of European theatre - e.g. the only USAFE squadron with A-10A/C is scheduled to deactivate (and would appear to have already commenced deactivation: http://forum.scramble.nl/viewtopic.php?p=609334 ).

    Also no F-22s have been deployed to USAFE though PACAF has 3 squadrons, and units in Japan are some of the first scheduled to get the F-35.

    In Libya and Mali, we can see the US allowing NATO partners to take lead roles in actions with US support.


    So what role does the European Air Force have in an Asian Century?

    The Europeans seem lacking in many capabilities as listed above. Despite the low scale of Mali operation, NATO still had to chip in with tactical and strategic transport despite France having the most potent military in Europe.

    Would the Europeans be able to conduct operations ala Kosovo 1999 or even Libya 2011 with limited access to US resources?

    Are the Europeans planning to be militarily engaged in any US military operations in Asian region? E.g. would a war against China result in NATO forces being sent to Pacific?

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    NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has no jurisdiction nor biz in Asia.
    The Brits & French will have some power projection owing to their Carriers,
    enough for some African 3rd world countries
    the missile will require about five times the G capability of the target to complete a successful intercept.
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    Remember that NATO technically did not have any jurisdiction in Afghanistan yet Article 5 was invoked in 2001 allowing NATO participation in the occupation of Afghanistan.

    NATO has also expanded operations/activities to include:

    - Libya
    - Gulf of Aden anti-piracy patrols (Ocean Shield)
    - Training mission in Iraq.
    - Invited India to be part of Ballistic Missile Shield.
    - Istanbul Cooperation Initiative - helping expand ties with oil rich Persian Gulf Arab countries.
    -Mediterranean Dialogue with Middle Eastern and African countries ala Mauritania

    NATO's current role is confused.

    - It's a defence treaty without any substantial external threats.
    - Some partners wish it to become a global police force.
    - Many partners use it as a way of cutting defence expenditure to bare minimum
    - There's a push by some countries such as Australia to expand NATO membership to include non-European countries.
    - Many NATO partners might approve policing roles but do not contribute.

    However I can see in say a Taiwan or South China Sea scenario that NATO would become involved even if most members only contribution is a paper sign off for British/French involvement under NATO banner.
    Last edited by thobbes; 24th January 2013 at 01:08.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thobbes View Post
    Remember that NATO technically did not have any jurisdiction in Afghanistan yet Article 5 was invoked in 2001 allowing NATO participation in the occupation of Afghanistan.
    You show that you have misunderstood the geographical limits of NATO. The NATO area refers to where an attack on a NATO member takes place. NATO is not (& never has been) restricted to operating only within the area. If an attack is launched from outside that area, it has always been the case that NATO is free, under the terms of the alliance, to retaliate against that location.

    This is the justification for the operation in Afghanistan. The 11-09-2001 operations against the USA (i.e. within the NATO area) were planned & directed from Afghanistan, by allies of the Afghan government. NATO members offered help to the USA under Article 5 before this was known, because of the locations of the attacks. When it was ascertained that they'd been launched from Afghanistan, there was unanimity within NATO that action against Afghanistan was covered by the treaty.

    Quote Originally Posted by thobbes View Post
    NATO has also expanded operations/activities to include:

    - Libya
    - Gulf of Aden anti-piracy patrols (Ocean Shield)
    - Training mission in Iraq.
    - Invited India to be part of Ballistic Missile Shield.
    - Istanbul Cooperation Initiative - helping expand ties with oil rich Persian Gulf Arab countries.
    -Mediterranean Dialogue with Middle Eastern and African countries ala Mauritania
    These are separate issues. The military operation against Libya was voluntary, like the anti piracy operations. NATO countries are free to participate or not. Germany, for example, did not assist the Libyan operation. It was an ad-hoc operation using NATO facilities, with the consent of the countries which supplied those facilities.

    Since the planning & control facilities of NATO consume resources which members could otherwise have devoted to national facilities, it makes sense for those members to call on those facilities for operations which are not formally mandated as alliance operations. It's like using a clubhouse you've paid part of the cost of for a private party. Happens all the time, & most clubs think it's perfectly acceptable, as long as it doesn't interfere with core club activities.

    As for the rest - what's wrong with that? If you have an organisation for co-ordinating such initiatives, why not use it? Why reinvent the wheel?
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    Quote Originally Posted by thobbes View Post
    The Europeans seem lacking in many capabilities as listed above. Despite the low scale of Mali operation, NATO still had to chip in with tactical and strategic transport despite France having the most potent military in Europe.
    I wouldn't bet on France having "the most potent military in Europe", certainly not overall if you include all branches of the armed forces!

    Indeed individual European countries lack in areas when compared to others in the European Union, the UK with Carrier capable fixed wing aircraft, France with strategic transport/logistics etc, for example. Though bring all these European countries' capabilities together you've got yourself a very capable, and formidable force, providing they don't moan and bicker amonst themselves. But, you're asking few questions that will be heavily out-weighed by answers. Somewhat simple yet still a little complicated at the same time...

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    Quote Originally Posted by swerve View Post
    This is the justification for the operation in Afghanistan. The 11-09-2001 operations against the USA (i.e. within the NATO area) were planned & directed from Afghanistan, by allies of the Afghan government. NATO members offered help to the USA under Article 5 before this was known, because of the locations of the attacks. When it was ascertained that they'd been launched from Afghanistan, there was unanimity within NATO that action against Afghanistan was covered by the treaty.
    What a bunch of lying, deceiving and propagandistic crap.

    NATO should be disbanded at once. Europe should create it's own defence treaty, europeans are more than able to defend themselves. An european defence treaty means a new life for the european defence industry too, stimulating the high-tech developement and creating countless jobs and large amount of revenue. Enough with these corrupt governments selling their countries and their country's independence to the despicable american interests! What in the name of god should we do in Asia, being dragged (or more like forced) by the americans in a war against China, like many delusional individuals in the leadership (not to mention their brainwashed society) of the US dream ?! Are you serious? What did China do to us ?!

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    the way I see it Germany and Eastern Europe want the US to stay in Europe to deter Russia

    but since the demise of the USSR there's little need for this, as its military lacks the ability to launch a serious military offensive, and any provocation will lead to a swift deployment of European and US forces, which Russia can never hope to compete with conventionally

    not that Russia has much real interest in starting a war it can't win with its biggest export partners. even Germany alone would probably break a Russian attack today

    the US wants to stay in Europe in order to divide the EU, because if it were to truly unify it would be the single greatest power in the world. so one has to divide and conquer. by threatening to pull out of Europe they've forced German political positions for decades

    today it seems the US military presence in Europe is mainly a transit station to war in the Middle East (notice how almost all major US operations since Vietnam seem to center around Iran? )
    Europe has aligned interests, and the Middle East is their back yard, moreso when Turkey joins the Union, so their influence their (and as we've seen more recently in Africa) is only natural

    now the Pacific is a lot further for Europe, other than the English I don't think anyone has a serious military presence there, or reason to do so

    although I do believe China will not provoke a war in the East, not with Japan or Taiwan, not unless it's certain it'll win (like in Tibet). as with Russia and Europe, China going to war with its two biggest export partners would simply not be in their own interests

    plus a few years from now China will be able to simply buy most of the rest of the planet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanem View Post
    the way I see it Germany and Eastern Europe want the US to stay in Europe to deter Russia...
    You did not try to count the number of times the European countries attacked Russia and Russia several times to attack Europe? If you know the story and draw the correct conclusions, it will help you get rid of paranoia

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    What a bunch of lying, deceiving and propagandistic crap.
    Which part is a lie?. Which part deceit and which part propaganda?. What Swerve wrote is factually accurate in every way. If it doesnt sit well with your political agenda I suggest thats something you need to deal with without calling people liars and branding them propagandists!.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanem View Post
    not that Russia has much real interest in starting a war it can't win with its biggest export partners. even Germany alone would probably break a Russian attack today
    lol.
    http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/9098/rsz11rsz3807.jpg

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    TR1 , Sanem said "probably"

    The German Bundeswehr is a hell of a fignting force , don 't underestimate it TR1 .
    And air dominance would be on Europe 's side .

    Cheers .
    I say what I mean and I do what I say .

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    At Swerve:

    Article 6:

    For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:


    on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer; on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

    So according to this the US could draw on NATO in for combat in North Asia?

    E.g. a US destroyer gets attacked Vietnam style in Yellow Sea or even an attack on a US base in Asia.

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    Like the spoil sport i am, i can feel the Mods axe swinging at any moment..

    This faul thread does not belong in the Aviation Forum.
    Thanks

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    It's very aviation based - the issue is the role of NATO airforces in the 21st century.

    Are we going to see continued use of air power in small interventions in Africa or are European Airforces going to become more globally involved?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    TR1 , Sanem said "probably"

    The German Bundeswehr is a hell of a fignting force , don 't underestimate it TR1 .
    And air dominance would be on Europe 's side .

    Cheers .
    He said Germany.

    Not Europe.
    http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/9098/rsz11rsz3807.jpg

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    Well, if we include the middle east, I think European airforces will play a role in Asia.
    Much tallk about British and French increasing their engagement on the Arabian peninsula. Probably with permanent deployments to UAE or Oman.

    Right now NATO is highly reliant on US for many major functions - logistics, strategic transport, air to air refuelling, ISR, E3, ELINT, SEAD/DEAD and specialist ground attack (A-10A/C, AC-130, MQ-1).
    Most of these abilities are available or are about to get operational. Either on individual basis or as colaborative effort like NATO airlift.

    Just read today the Merkel government is getting serious about the purchase of UCAV's. Let's see if the Luftwaffe get's what it wants. (Reaper).
    First Eurohawk is delivered (ELINT asset), first A-400M got it's French roundels last week and so on...

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    The Bundeswehr is a fighting force that would never be used. Germany won´t engage in conflicts for a long time, especially after the Afghanistan Adventure ends.

    But then the question is what defense needs does Europe have? A Russian invasion is unrealistic, armed conflict between European states is unlikely (civil wars aside) there is no external threat either. If Europe understands that it does not have the be the lapdog of the US, it can scale back its armed forces even more. For those who wish to play "power protection" around the globe, they need to invest more, but this is no European need. I hope we will see another round of massive cuts in the future. Maybe some countries will disband their armed forces completely.
    Member of ACIG

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack8 View Post
    What a bunch of lying, deceiving and propagandistic crap.
    You have called me a liar. Retract & apologise at once or I will lodge a complaint, asking for you to be banned.
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thobbes View Post
    At Swerve:

    Article 6:

    So according to this the US could draw on NATO in for combat in North Asia?

    E.g. a US destroyer gets attacked Vietnam style in Yellow Sea or even an attack on a US base in Asia.
    No, it can't, and this is exactly why NATO wasn't brought into Vietnam. If you actually read Article that you yourself quoted you will clearly see where the treaty applies. It ONLY applies to attacks on member states that happen with their home territories, the North Atlantic, and those territories specifically mentioned. Nowhere do these include anywhere in the Pacific, the South Atlantic (which is why NATO wasn't involved in the Falklands), or other places.

    If a government or other organisation launches an attack that strikes within the territories to which the treaty applies, then the Allies can respond.
    "Quicquid agas age"

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    Quote Originally Posted by thobbes View Post
    At Swerve:

    Article 6:

    So according to this the US could draw on NATO in for combat in North Asia?

    E.g. a US destroyer gets attacked Vietnam style in Yellow Sea or even an attack on a US base in Asia.
    No. Of course not. Asia is not in North America or Europe, is it? The Yellow Sea is not the Mediterranean, or the North Atlantic north of the Tropic of Cancer.

    Read it again.

    For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:


    on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer; on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.
    It's very restrictive. When the Falklands were invaded, Article 5 was not invoked, because it couldn't be: the Falklands are outside the specified area. That is entirely deliberate. The area was carefully defined to exclude most of the colonial & overseas territories of the UK, France*, Netherlands & Portugal, & the Pacific territories of the USA. Portugal could not invoke Article 5 when India seized Goa, Daman & Diu. And so on.


    *Except Algeria, which was then legally a constituent part of France.
    Last edited by swerve; 25th January 2013 at 13:02.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thobbes View Post
    As we all know the US is planning to redistribute its focus to Asia. This means more units deployed to Asia or rotated to Asia. The Navy will have 60% of its fleet assigned to Pacific.

    With potential future budget cuts as well as possible changes in China relationship, this could be further adjusted in Pacific's favour.

    Right now NATO is highly reliant on US for many major functions - logistics, strategic transport, air to air refuelling, ISR, E3, ELINT, SEAD/DEAD and specialist ground attack (A-10A/C, AC-130, MQ-1).

    Some of these assets are already being pulled out of European theatre - e.g. the only USAFE squadron with A-10A/C is scheduled to deactivate (and would appear to have already commenced deactivation: http://forum.scramble.nl/viewtopic.php?p=609334 ).

    Also no F-22s have been deployed to USAFE though PACAF has 3 squadrons, and units in Japan are some of the first scheduled to get the F-35.

    In Libya and Mali, we can see the US allowing NATO partners to take lead roles in actions with US support.


    So what role does the European Air Force have in an Asian Century?

    The Europeans seem lacking in many capabilities as listed above. Despite the low scale of Mali operation, NATO still had to chip in with tactical and strategic transport despite France having the most potent military in Europe.

    Would the Europeans be able to conduct operations ala Kosovo 1999 or even Libya 2011 with limited access to US resources?

    Are the Europeans planning to be militarily engaged in any US military operations in Asian region? E.g. would a war against China result in NATO forces being sent to Pacific?
    Going through your points, while I agree that European Air Forces are too reliant on US support, I'm not sure it's in the ways that you describe.

    Logistics and Strategic transport are certainly an area where Europe lags, but then again, the UK has a small C-17 fleet, as does NATO, and I wouldn't be surprised if France now sees the benefit of having this capability and gets some before the production line closes. When European nations need something more An-124s can be chartered, but for most individual European nations there simply isn't the justification to operate a strategic transport fleet.

    As for tanking, with the British and French A330s (if and when bought), Italian 767s, Dutch KDC-10s, German A310 MRTTs, Europe has enough tanking to get by, and the same can be said for E-3s.

    SEAD/DEAD are a weakness, but the 'specialist attack' role as you put it is also a bit misdirected, as the A-10 is going to be retired by the US in the not too distant future, and replaced by the F-35, which will be in European service, as is the MQ-1/9, and similar UCAVs, whereas the AC-130 is very much a niche capability that is nice to have, but not vital.

    From my armchair point of view, European forces are limited mainly by Intel/Electronic warfare capabilities (as you say), and numbers. Numbers of crews, aircraft and weapons on hand. In Lybia, European members of NATO were often limited by their low stocks of bombs/missiles. If the political will and economic basis for increased funding return then European nations can build up most capabilities they are lacking in like these even if buying from the US wasn't an option.
    "Quicquid agas age"

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    If we look at what is going on right now some will see a very needy Europe as far as US support is concerned and some will see Europe getting it house in order. As you say the US are pulling there A10’s out of Europe but I feel the Harrier Force was a bigger lost to the region. As for strategic -tactical transport and air to air refuelling Europe has two key projects coming on line in A330MRTT and A400M as for the French in Mali had A400M been on line when it should have been they would have been able to conducted operations just fine. I do however feel NATO has had its day and a new European defence alliance should be look in to. Talking hypothetically if when the QE2 class carriers come on line along with the French carrier and the Italian and Spanish light carriers if each European county supplied 1 warship all year round this would mean they could have a European carrier group at sea all year round. And the same can be done with the air transport assets with each air force sending an aircraft every 4-6 weeks this is already being look at by the Nordic states and so it can go on with air and land combat assets. this already happen in part but is to messed up politically for this to fully work

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    The Spanish light carrier has been retired. Spain will only have an LHD with a part-time carrier capability for the foreseeable future.
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    IMHO
    the European Conuntries have not a clear political view on their possible role (or if they should have a role at all) in case of conflicts in Asia.

    So without a political agenda it is hard to estabilish a role for the "European Air Force" as the topic starter called it.

    By the way, I don't foresee (or maybe I don't want foresee) a conflict between China and USA, as the topic starter supposed.

    More probable are more limited conflicts and frictions between the different emerging Asian powers.

    @ jbritchford
    I agree with most of what you wrote, but on the "low stocks of bombs/missiles" by European members of NATO during the Lybian operations.

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    The weapons stocks issue has been debated in detail elsewhere. The only European NATO country which anyone found a specific reference to running short of PGMs was Denmark. The RDAF was reported to have asked for replenishment in early June, after dropping 565 PGMs. It asked the Dutch, who apparently had PGMs to spare.

    France & the UK certainly didn't run short - and they did the bulk of the bombing, between them.

    Italian published stats: 730 PGMs, including 20 Storm Shadow. The rest were Paveways & JDAMs. That's a lot less than the pre-war JDAM deliveries, let alone any reasonable estimate of combined JDAM & Paveway stocks. Italy didn't place any new orders during the war, presumably because it didn't need to. Other countries did place orders, e.g. the UK ordered more Brimstone to DMB conversions.

    David Cenciotti gives the final tally as 3,644 LGBs, 2,844 GPS-guided bombs, & 1,150 missiles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swerve View Post
    The Spanish light carrier has been retired. Spain will only have an LHD with a part-time carrier capability for the foreseeable future.
    Although this LHD "Juan Carlos I." is actually a step in capability.
    Member of ACIG

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    Sorry remove the Spanish light carrier but the Italians have 2 carriers that still leaves 5 European carriers and 4 helicopter carriers at this time and the French are looking for a new carrier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest414 View Post
    Sorry remove the Spanish light carrier but the Italians have 2 carriers that still leaves 5 European carriers and 4 helicopter carriers at this time and the French are looking for a new carrier.
    Thanks for the nice picture of the Cavour, I have a more recent one with the "new" 76/6 Strales .



    Anyway to be fair, about the Italian Navy, the Garibaldi is unable to operate the F-35 and works to revert the ship to a Helicopter carrier are already in progress.
    Last edited by Glendora; 25th January 2013 at 15:12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paralay View Post
    You did not try to count the number of times the European countries attacked Russia and Russia several times to attack Europe? If you know the story and draw the correct conclusions, it will help you get rid of paranoia
    you mean like Napoleon, Hitler, the US (1918)... ?
    fair point, but no one is going to believe it more likely that Europe would attack Russia sooner than Russia would attack Europe
    that's like saying Canada is more warlike than the US
    not counting ofcourse the EU's operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, Mali, Syria?... hang on...

    Quote Originally Posted by TR1 View Post
    He said Germany.
    Not Europe.
    feel free to correct me if you disagree
    but if you just look at the air force fighters for example, Germany has 85 Typhoons, against 250 Su-27s, 220 Mig-29s, 180 Mig-31s and another 10 Su-30s and 15 Su-35s

    while these numbers seem huge, Germany would have the advantages of both quality and home front

    - quality: like Israel had in its wars, Typhoons would be greatly superior over most Russian fighters, equiped with better offensive and defensive systems, were most Russian aircraft are cold war relics
    the Typhoons would be able to engage them at long range with their very capable AMRAAMs, while Russian missiles would have a hard time hitting the Typhoons. in dogfights the Russian numbers would be a huge advantage, but with super cruise I don't see why the Typhoon would let themselves be drawn into such a situation
    also German pilots are highly trained to the highest standards, an import advantage against the Russian pilots who struggle to get enough flight hours
    only the Su-35s and maybe Su-30s would be advanced enough to stand against the Typhoons

    - home front: as Russia showed many times when defending against foreign invaders (as paralay pointed out ), the sheer distance between Russia and Germany is an important factor, meaning Russian fighters would be operating from forward bases at best, probably with limited radar and tanker coverage, in hostile territory (I understand the Polish have a history of not enjoying Russian "visits") and outside their own SAM coverage
    Russia also has the trouble of having to defend a huge area, neighbouring the US, China... so they can't focus all of their power on Germany, where Germany can focus all its power in a concentrated area, even from their home bases
    Germany also has a frightfull potential, Russian (or any other country) hostility would likely provoke a fast political and social response that would see its industrial and technical powers focused on war. I can easily image Merkel going all Tacher on Putin's ass

    in todays world, Russia might be able to somehow defeat Germany if it didn't have to fight its way through Eastern Europe and could deploy and motivate enough of its military to actually risk their lives, but even then it would suffer such losses that it would lack the power to occupy Germany, never mind face off against the rest of Europe. Russia simply lacks the military, political and social power to invade Europe (no more than Europe could invade Russia I think)

    probably the greatest power Russia has would be to turn off their gas lines, but then who'll pay for all those new toys Putin has promised his generals? (which is planned on the energy market prices of this last few decade, and completely ignores the global recession that's supposedly not happening )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanem View Post
    you mean like Napoleon, Hitler, the US (1918)... ?
    fair point, but no one is going to believe it more likely that Europe would attack Russia sooner than Russia would attack Europe
    that's like saying Canada is more warlike than the US
    not counting ofcourse the EU's operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, Mali, Syria?... hang on...
    In Russian can be read here: http://voprosik.net/obzor-istorii-bo...protiv-rossii/
    You do not have enough fingers and toes to accommodate all kinds of European aggression against Russia
    Russian also made ​​mistakes, such as Finnish War of 1939 or Afghanistan in 1979. In most other cases, the Russian war - the defense of Mother Russia. In the event of aggression against the Russian, Europe will save a miracle. Americans no longer fight as only Russian will bomb American cities. It is better to think of how to help the Russian in 2032 to stop, win and baptize China
    Last edited by paralay; 25th January 2013 at 18:17.

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