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S-400 vs F-35: Can The Russian S-400 Missiles Really Take Down American F-35 Jets?

Russian S-400 Missiles vs F-35 Fighter Jets: Why is the US apprehensive of exposing its stealth fighter jet – F-35 against the S-400s?

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Russian S-400 Missiles vs US’ F-35 fighter jets is one of the most contested debates on the social media platforms. The Russian S-400 is by far the world’s most advanced air defence systems while America F-35 jet is a 5th generation stealthy aircraft that is considered far superior to any of its nearest rivals. 

F-35 Jets vs S-400 Missiles

The F-35, an American 5th Generation fighter with advanced stealth, fighter speed and agility is “designed to overwhelm today’s most advanced threat systems both in the air and on the ground, as well as those expected to emerge in the decades to come,” mentions the F-35 website.

Tod Wolters, the commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe explains – “You cannot operate an F-35 in the vicinity of an S-400. They won’t talk to each other, and what the two military devices will aim to do, certainly the S-400s against the F-35s, is to exploit the F-35’s capabilities.”

Ever since the deployment of Russia’s S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) within Russian borders in 2007, it has garnered an impression of being one of the most lethal air defence systems in the world and purchase orders from China, Turkey and India only added to its reputation.

“The S-400 is among the most advanced air defence systems available, on par with the best the West has to offer,” according to Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) arms transfers and military expenditure programme.

The US Officials have repeatedly expressed apprehensions that the Russian S-400 could potentially weaken the American F-35 fighter aircraft by gathering critical information on its stealth capabilities since, the fighter jet’s external shape, internal carriage of weapons and fuel, and embedded sensors, all have been designed to maximize its stealth performance.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter originally branded as the ‘future of Stealth Technology’, has often been within the radar of questioning for its primal feature. The stealth coating that has to be reapplied each time after a flight becomes a painstaking process combined with about the requirement of about 41.75 and 50.1 maintenance man-hours per flight hour which is about 3 times more than the other similar fighter aircraft.

Nitin J Ticku, a MARCOM specialist and defence analyst with the EurAsian Times points out – the fact that the US tried to make the plane invisible does not mean that it really is. And it’s not for nothing that the Pentagon abruptly announced the need for the additional testing in late 2018 before handing it over to the Israel defence forces operating in Syria (for a possible encounter with S-300s).

That was one obvious indication that the US themselves were uncertain about the competence of F-35 against the S-300 air defence systems.

The US, Israel Study S-300 Capabilities

Nitin J Ticku further writes – The S-300s were put into service way back in 1978. During that time, the air defence systems were analysed by Western experts only twice. Once – when the Greek Cypriots due to political hurdles agreed to install the complexes on the Greek island of Crete. Iran reportedly began to negotiate with Russia on buying the S-300 for its defence, Israel paid Greece a lot of money to lay their hands on the Russian systems.

The second time when western experts got access to Russian missile defence technology was when the US bought parts of the complex through Belarus. However, it should be noted that those were early versions of the S-300s and the difference between early versions of S-300s and modern versions of S-400’s have enormous differences, warns Nitin J Ticku.

S-400 vs F-35: What Do Experts Say?

Despite the evident drawbacks that might need more speculation, the price of the F-35 Jets is worth a king’s ransom. Rakesh Krishnan writes “The F-35 has become the fighter that is more expensive than Australia. This is because the programme will eventually cost more than $1,500 billion – a sum greater than Australia’s GDP.

At the same time, it is an aircraft that has been critiqued by global aviation experts as overpriced, overweight and under-armed. One report has claimed the only thing stealthy about the F-35 is its price”

The S-400, on the other hand, is an upgrade of the S-300 series of surface-to-air missile systems and is believed to be twice as efficient as the previous defence system. “Deploying one S-400 system allows you to cover an entire spectrum of aerial threats,” according to Nitin J Ticku.

Along with autonomous detection and targeting systems, multifunction radar, launchers, command and control centre, the S-400 is equipped with anti-aircraft missile systems which are intelligently designed to create a layered defence by firing four different types of missiles.

James Bosbotinis, a UK-based freelance defence analyst says – The S-400s can be equipped with four missile types: the 40 km-range 9M96; the 150 km-range 9M96E2; the 200-250 km-range 48N6; and the 400 km-range 40N6.

The system is intended to engage manned aircraft and missile threats, including medium-range ballistic missiles. The high modularity and mobility of the system to engage with its targets within a matter of minutes.

S-400 Batteries Could Expose The F-35s?

The Americans believe that the S-400 could expose sensitive information about the F-35s, a fighter jet that was meant to serve as the backbone of the US Airpower. However in 2018, when the previous version of S-400 which is the S-300 was deployed in Syria, Israeli media reported that the Russia-backed Syrian forces failed to detect Israeli F-35 jets flying over Damascus.

On the flip side, some experts rather question the accuracy of the Russian S-400 system. Mike Kofman, a research scientist specializing in Russian military affairs at CNA Corporation said: “Russia has invested in low-band early warning radars, with some great variants out there, but can it use these to put a good picture together, and process it to develop a track against low-observation aircraft?”

“It’s great being able to see an aircraft or parts of it, but getting accuracy such that you can confidently get a missile near the target is the primary challenge,” Kofman adds.

Nonetheless, the United States has been constantly making efforts to preserve the F-35 data. Recently in 2019, the diplomatic spat between Turkey and US over the buying of S-400 by Turkey, a NATO member, led Washington to kick out Ankara from the F-35 program, halting all the training and planned delivery processes of the fighter jets.

Clearly, the US does not want to expose the F-35s to Russian S-400s. Forget shooting down an F-35, a mere detection of so-called ‘invisible’ F-35 jets by the Russian air defence systems could crash the sales Lockheed Martin and dent the great American pride, concludes Nitin J Ticku.

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Israel Media Blames Turkey, Iran For Supporting ‘Violent Riots’ In The US

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Israeli media has accused Turkey and Iran of supporting violent demonstrations in the US over the killing over the Afro-American person. Turkey is one of the world’s biggest detainers of journalists while Iran butchered over 1,500 protesters last year, but leaders in both nations cynically attempted to exploit recent protests in the US, writes the JPost. 

The report writes that Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted that “if you’re dark-skinned walking in the US, you can’t be sure you’ll be alive in the next few minutes.”  Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the killing of George Floyd was “deeply disturbing and upsetting’ and that it was part of a scheme by global powers and the “current world order.”

JPost says that It was hard to gauge the writers who penned the tweets for Ahmadinejad and Khamenei in English, some of them seem to be inspired from college activists in the US as it drifted from the standard vocabulary of the Iranian regime.

Even as Iran’s regime was backing the violent demonstrations in the US, Tehran was gunning down peaceful Kurdish “kolbars” or people who move goods across the border, claims the report.

Turkish President Erdogan, who championed in ethnically wiping-off the Kurds in northern Syria and whose army carried out a drone strike that killed two civilians recently Iraq, also supported the US demonstrations.

Erdogan also declared that Turkey denounces the “inhuman mentality” in the US and that Ankara stands against all attacks targeting humanity.  Despite these assertions, Turkey invaded Syria last year resulting in horrendous persecution of Kurds and not to forget the lynching a young female Kurdish activist -Hevrin Khalaf.
Over the weekend Kurdish and Yazidi women were found to be held in clandestine confinement cells run by Turkish-backed Syrian radicals in Syria. Almost every week in Turkey journalists and activists are arrested writes the Jpost while taking a dig at nations that oppose Trump and his policies.
Turkey claimed that it wished that  “perpetrators of this inhuman act shall receive the punishment they deserve” and that Ankara would be watching the US. Ankara’s remarks are in contradiction to how the US State Department does not critique Turkey for its extensive human rights violations including the mass detention of media professionals and persecution of Kurdish people.
Turkey has recently attempted to imprison and eliminate more opposition mayors in Kurdish areas. Ankara carries out drone strikes frequently and systematically massacring innocent people in Iraq and even bombing refugee camps.
Yet Turkish media is rejoicing the violent demonstrations and looting in the US over the weekend. It is in contradiction to how Turkey’s pro-government calls any demonstrators or critics in Turkey “terrorists.”
The decision by Turkey and Iran to engage themselves in the protests is part of their scheme to project themselves as tolerant and liberals to the international audience. The same Iranian regime that killed over 1,500 protesters last year, pretends to show compassion with US demonstrators, the report says.
The hypocritical remarks by Ankara and Tehran and their use of the term “world order” appear to be a form of similar messaging that describes a view that Iran and Turkey could work together to reduce the US role in the world.
When Erdogan said that there is an “unjust order we stand against across the world” and Ahmadinejad wrote that there is a “current world order which we all must unite against,” Jpost says that either both the tweets were written by the same person or a systematic propaganda is being flamed in Turkey and Iran to exploit US demonstrations.
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Trump Postpones G-7 Summit; Plans To Invite India, Russia For September Meet

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US President Donald Trump has postponed the G-7 summit from June to September 2020. For the G-7 summit, Washington plans to invite India, Russia, South Korea and Australia according to latest reports from the White House.

Chinese Military Commission Leaves Door Open For ‘Forceful Takeover’ Of Taiwan

Speaking to reporters, Donald Trump said the G-7 in its current format was a “very outdated group of countries”. “I’m postponing it because I don’t feel that as a G-7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world,” Trump said.

It was not very clear whether Trump’s wish to invite the more nations was an attempt to permanently expand the G-7. On various occasions, Trump had suggested that Russia must be added due to Moscow’s global strategic importance.

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said on Saturday that Doland Trump wants the nations to discuss China at the G-7 summit.

The US president has consistently criticised Beijing over its handling of COVID-19 pandemic. Trump also ordered his officials to start the process of ending special US treatment for Hong Kong in retaliation for China’s decision to impose a new security law on the region.

Trump had cancelled an in-person G7 meeting that was scheduled for March as the virus spread but had recently attempted to revive it.

French President – Emmanuel Macron also supported the idea of an in-person meeting, according to the White House, but Canadian PM Justin Trudeau refused to approve it, saying there were too many health-related questions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had earlier declined to accept Trump’s offer to attend the G-7 in the US. “The federal chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit at the end of June in Washington.

As of today, recognising the overall pandemic, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to Washington,” a media report quoted German government spokesman Steffen Seibert as saying. “She will, of course, continue to monitor the development of the pandemic.”

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Americas

Donald Trump Suspends Ties With WHO; Slams China For COVID-19, Hong Kong

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US President Trump has announced that he is immediately suspending American membership from the World Health Organization over its response to China’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

China Mocks Trump, Pompeo Over Subduing Minnesota & Provoking Hong Kong Protesters

In a press briefing at the White House, Donald Trump said, “We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”

The US President said the decision end ties with WHO was because they “failed to make” reformations. Last week, Trump sent a letter to WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressing his views on how the WHO favours Beijing and urged the health body to “commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days.”

The U.S. is WHOs biggest contributor, providing around $450 million a year, according to Trump. The level of financing the U.S. provides to WHO has been pinching Trump, who growled at the press briefing that the U.S. pays significantly more than China, but it is Beijing that benefits at WHO (with roughly about $40 million funding to the organization).

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1262577580718395393

On Hong Kong, Trump said, “China claims it is protecting national security… Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society. Beijing’s decision reverses all of that.

The US President also said he will also initiate a ban on Chinese researchers studying in the US who are recognised as possible security risks. “For years, China has conducted elicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets, of which there are many. Today I will issue a proclamation to better secure our nation’s vital university research…,” he said.

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