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US Afghan Air War Commander: Air Assets Might Deter Russia from Attacking NATO

Air assets include F-35s, F-16s and B-52s

By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

Intv. with Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

Hello and welcome to Warrior Maven, the Center for Military Modernization. I'm Kris Osborn, very significant guest today and amazing American, the Commander of the Gulf War air campaign as well as Operation Enduring Freedom, retired Lieutenant Colonel David Deptula. He is a former F-15 pilot as well and currently serves as the Dean of the very prestigious Mitchell Institute for Aerospace studies. Sir, it's a pleasure to have you thank you for your expertise.

Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance

Kris Osborn

Recognizing, of course, that NATO in the US does not want to engage Russia in any kind of fifth generation air combat, one has to think that with these air defenses on the ground, certainly something like F-35s would be a paradigm changing capability, because right now, it's all fourth generation at the most. 

Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

No, that's it. That's true. But once again, what's at play here is NATO and the United States do not want to take actions that would escalate this conflict into one that would involve all of Europe, as opposed to only Ukraine

And so there's a fine line to walk here, between what capabilities and information to provide Ukraine. And quite frankly, one of the critical elements that is being provided to Ukraine, on behalf of NATO in the United States, is information. The panoply of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets that can contribute to the awareness of what the Russians are doing, where their locations are, in what they're up to, is one of the significant elements that is assisting the Ukrainians in attaining the advantage against their outnumbered forces on the ground and in the air. 

Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

Kris Osborn 

Well, I was thinking about this, sir, given that you are in charge of ISR for the Air Force for many years, I understood that there are some surveillance assets that don't necessarily have to be over Ukraine, but have the high fidelity, high resolution long range sensors to be a potential use for the Ukrainians recognizing there may be security limitations to what what gets discussed on this front. But sir, one has to imagine, as you just mentioned, there is an ISR component, that's why impactful? 

Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

No, that's exactly what I'm what I wanted to get across. Absolutely. In many of that you can see on internet sites, you can see which NATO US aircraft are airborne, to include many of the ones I mentioned earlier, the RC 135, rivet joint, the Global Hawk, a F-35s, which, by the way, are more than just fighters. They have one of the most capable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suites to be able to collect and share information of any aircraft that we have. So there are a variety of different sources that are being used to acquire intelligence and then having it shared with the Ukrainians. 

Global Hawk Drone

June 24, 2021 – (PHOTO RELEASE) On the heels of the successful first flight of Japan’s RQ-4B Global Hawk in early April, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) recently completed additional successful flights for the second unmanned air vehicle (UAV) for Japan. Global Hawk is the only high-altitude, long-endurance UAV to deliver near real-time on demand data around the clock.

F-35s

Kris Osborn

Certainly, the Pentagon and others want to avoid any kind of force on force major, great power confrontation, at the same time, in terms of just pure deterrence, some have to be thinking about a number of variables, and certainly with F-35s being sent to the eastern flank, and the number of F-35s sort of arriving with member countries throughout Europe, that has to be one would think a pretty significant deterrent, given that once air superiority were established in some way, ground forces would have very little opportunity to do a whole lot. And looking at numbers and fifth generation. The western NATO clearly clearly is mismatched. It would seem just based on an initial look against the Russians. 

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Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

When when you say mismatch, you're talking about the Russians being under matched?

Kris Osborn

No, I mean, the US be yeah, I'm saying the US and NATO being being able to achieve air superiority. 

Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

Yeah, there's no question and that's why you have seen the deployments of F-35, F-16s, B-52s to the variety of different NATO nations. There's a very strong interaction and unified set of command and control architectures that are in place to deter any thought from Putin or his Russian military from expanding this conflict outside of Ukraine that might take on NATO.

B-52

B-52

Putin doesn't want to take on because given the incredibly poor performance of his military forces so far, evidence in Ukraine, he would not his military forces wouldn't last very long in a NATO engagement. 

Kris Osborn

I want to thank you I'm trying to sparing and your expertise is quite significant for our viewers and readers. I want to appreciate your time as a Gulf War air commander, also with OEF. You certainly know a few things about air power and its significance in this very sensitive time, sir, thank you very much. 

Video Above Russia Has Precision Weapons & Could Avoid Attacking Children & Civilians

Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

You bet. Chris, have a great, great day and thanks for the opportunity to chat with you

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President, Center for Military Modernization