Video Above: With MLRS Systems, Ukrainians Could Destroy Russian Launchers
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shaken the foundation of European security to its core and generated a host of sweeping future plans to expand, strengthen and improve NATO moving into the future.
Russia Ukraine | NATO Response
In close coordination with European members, the Pentagon will pre-position equipment, pursue “scalable” forward formations, streamline multi-national command and control and emphasize rapid deployment ability to respond to future contingencies. It is increasingly becoming clear that tomorrow’s NATO will be quite different in scope and tactical ability.
“NATO is also making plans to strengthen its deterrence and defense posture for the longer-term, especially along the eastern flank,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said following a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Belgium.
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The particular configuration of NATO’s forward posture in coming years has yet to be determined and will likely be a large focus of upcoming discussions at a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain. However, it would be entirely reasonable to expect that the alliance’s forward footprint will expand as well, with a special emphasis upon rapid deployment. Austin said elements of NATO’s Response Force have already been deployed.
“Our Allies have activated NATO's defense plans. They've deployed elements of the NATO Response Force and they've placed tens of thousands of troops in the eastern areas of the Alliance, along with significant air and naval assets under the direct command of NATO and supported by Allies' national deployments,” Austin said.
F-35 and Abrams Tank
There are several additional elements to this, including a possible scale-up in the Baltics to deter any possible Russian invasion, as in years past think tanks such as Rand have raised concerns that the Baltics could indeed be quite vulnerable to being quickly overrun by invading Russian forces. However, that concern was voiced years ago, well before the world observed Russia’s surprisingly poor performance in Ukraine. Nonetheless, it seems entirely realistic that additional forces or forward positioned assets such as the F-35 might operate as a deterrent in the region.
Any deterrence posture on the Eastern flank will likely include several key elements, to include a sizable “wall” of mechanized armored forces, ballistic missile defense and 5th-generation stealth aircraft. Poland, for example, is now receiving a new order of US built export variants of the US Army’s Abrams main battle tank, and Poland has also become an F-35 customer.
Therefore, the combination of heavy armor and 5th-generation air power might be sufficient to prevent Putin from risking an attack upon NATO areas in Eastern Europe. Operating in close proximity to the Russian border, Polish or Finish F-35s would be in position to destroy Russian air defenses as well as long-and-intermediate-range ballistic missile launchers. Russian rocket launchers, many of them mobile, would likely be extremely vulnerable to above attack from 5th-generation stealth aircraft such as F-35s and F-22s.
Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. 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.