USAF: The F-35’s UK airshow debut will help deter Russia

Frank Gorenc us air force general
US Air Force General Frank Gorenc. USAF

A US Air Force General is banking on the mere sight of two Air Force and two Marine F-35s at airshows in the UK helping to deter a resurgent Russia.

“Fundamentally, deterrence is credibility, capability and willingness,” Air Force General Frank Gorenc said to Defence News.

“That aeroplane is going to make what we do from the air and across the board — it will in itself help” to deter enemies of the West.

The BBC reports the F-35 Lightning II will appear at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough Air Show in July.

Though he didn’t mention them by name, Russia has been conspicuously building up defensive and offensive capabilities along its Western border with European nations, prompting US Army General Ben Hodges to declare that the US has lost air superiority in Eastern Europe.

Independent military analysts at RAND Corp have voiced similarly troubling claims that Russia’s conventional forces could blow through NATO’s defences in the Baltic states in as little as 36 hours.

Additionaly, the F-35’s development has been plagued by bugs and reports of poor performance throughout it’s development. Only recently has good news about the plane’s readiness, operational capability, and costs come to light.

Yet, General Gorenc remains confident that the F-35s debuting up at two airshows in the UK will make Russia think twice about their newfound air superiority.

“To actually see it, I think, is an important step in the procurement of that aeroplane and a reinforcement that what we have is real,” Gorence said. “It’s real, we have thousands of hours already, in fact, my-son in-law flies F-35s, so it’s real.”

F-35A F-16
Big and Little Brother: An F-35A sits in a run station on the Fort Worth, Texas, flight line, while an F-16 Fighting Falcon, also produced at the Fort Worth plant, takes off in the background. Learn more about F-35 production. Lockheed Martin/Angel Delcueto

“I think that the F-35 is going do for NATO what the F-16 did, in the sense that many of the partners and many of the allies were flying it, and so we’re going share common tactics, techniques, procedures (TTPs), concepts of operations, we’re going to leverage the logistics systems the training system,” Gorenc said.

“I think that’s going go a long way to provide the interoperability that we strive for in the NATO concept.”

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