The U.S. Air Force was able to bomb Libya with impunity after knocking out its relic of an Integrated Air Defense System, but what if the country had actually maintained a competent IADS network?
That would pose a different challenge altogether.
Russia’s S-400 system, for instance, mixed with other overlapping missile batteries, fighter aircraft and command and control nodes, would have tested America’s ability to carry such an air raid like never before.
And that’s part of the reason why U.S. lawmakers, defense officials and the White House have been oddly unified in preventing Turkey from acquiring the S-400 alongside the F-35 joint strike fighter.
It’s not because the U.S. would attack Turkey, but because the systems its leaders are looking to acquire could be used to gather intelligence on how America’s latest generation fighter, the F-35, and possibly others, operate. That information could then end up in the hands of the Russians.
“It’s astounding to see everyone in the same direction on this,” said Rick Berger, a defense budget and military acquisition researcher at AEI and former Senate Budget Committee staffer.