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Moscow’s Perspectives on the Evolution of US Stealth Technology

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The growing number of stealth aircraft being fielded by the United States and its allies presents Russia with an unprecedented challenge. Yet, rather than acknowledge the qualitative leap in capability that a larger and more sophisticated fleet of stealth aircraft brings with it, contemporary Russian commentators and senior military officials have, for the most part, elected to follow a long-standing Russian tradition of publicly downplaying the utility of stealth. Their misleading and often inane statements on US and allied stealth aircraft are voiced with the purpose of bolstering the standing of the Russian Armed Forces in the eyes of the international community, instilling a sense of national pride among Russian audiences, and downplaying the severity of Russia’s stealth technology lag behind the United States. Derisive remarks by Russian officials can be expected to reoccur and perhaps intensify as not only the United States, but also American allies continue to field stealth aircraft in greater numbers. At the same time, seeing as more and more countries, including Russia’s strategic partner, China, are developing and/or introducing stealth aircraft, Russian officials may find it more difficult to justify their claims to Russian and international audiences.

The growing number of very low-observable (stealth) aircraft in the United States Air Force’s (USAF) inventory, and the introduction of stealth aircraft in the US Navy, US Marine Corps and in the air forces and naval air forces of allied states, presents American adversaries and competitors —chief among them Russia and China— with an unprecedented challenge. This has elicited frequent remarks from contemporary Russian commentators and senior military officials on the matter. Their remarks, however, may come as a surprise to some observers. Rather than acknowledge the qualitative leap in capability that a larger and more sophisticated fleet of very low-observable aircraft offers the United States and its allies, they have elected to follow a long-standing Russian tradition of publicly downplaying the utility of stealth. For US and NATO defence planning staffs, understanding the motives and origin behind Russian statements and views on this matter enables the formulation of more accurate and less exaggerated estimates of Russia’s military capability.  

Before and after Desert Storm: A Mixed View

In the late Cold War, the Soviets paid close attention to developments in US stealth technology. “An analysis of Soviet open literature,” notes a declassified 1984 CIA intelligence assessment, “indicates that their understanding of the theory of radar cross section reduction is comparable to that in the United States.”1 A subsequent CIA memo, dated late 1988, further observed that “[t]he Soviets likely have a good understanding of US Stealth programs and technology from successful Western technology acquisition, their research and development efforts, and their analysis of the Western press.”2

At the time, the effectiveness of very low-observable aircraft, which had yet to see combat, was debated extensively in the West. In the early 1980s, for example, the USAF requested that a low-altitude penetration capability be added to the then-in-development B-2 stealth bomber as a hedge against possible advancements in Soviet air defences.3 Some Soviet military commentators writing in the late 1980s, meanwhile, expressed confidence that existing Soviet air defences were effective against stealth aircraft.4 This, however, ran contrary to a 1985 CIA assessment, which concluded that Soviet “air defences will remain vulnerable to penetration by Stealth aerodynamic systems for at least the next decade.”5

The successful employment of the F-117 during the 1991 Gulf War vindicated the utility of stealth. Soviet/Russian opinions, however, were mixed, often assuming a dismissive tone. As former Senior Research Associate at the RAND Corporation, Dr. Benjamin Lambeth, observed in a 1992 RAND study on Soviet/Russian reactions to Operation Desert Storm, “there was a tendency in some Soviet circles after the Gulf war ended to depreciate the tactical advantages offered by the F-117’s low-observability features during the earliest days of Desert Storm.”7 These claims, however, were erroneous, running contrary to findings by the comprehensive Gulf War Air Power Survey (commissioned by the USAF following the war), which concluded that USAF “EF-111s never provided jamming into the Baghdad area during the first strikes, so that F-117s that attacked the first targets in the capital… flew into, over, and through the heart of the fully operating air defences of Baghdad with no support from electronic countermeasures.”8

Despite the numerous dismissive remarks, far from all Soviet/Russian reactions at the time were so skeptical. As the aforementioned RAND study points out, even prior to the 1991 Gulf War, some Soviet commentators displayed an appreciation of advances in US stealth technology, emphasising the USSR’s urgent need to catch up,9while other Soviet commentators warned of the challenge posed by America’s development of very low-observable aircraft and cruise missiles.10 During the war and in the months following it, Soviet military commentators and officials also expressed recognition of the utility of stealth technology and US leadership in this crucial field.11 They included some of the most senior military officials, notably Chief of the General Staff Vladimir Lobov and Soviet Defence Minister Yevgeny Shaposhnikov.12 Speaking in September 1991, Shaposhnikov stated that“[o]thers are far ahead of us, such as the US Stealth technology,” emphasising that “[t]he Soviet Union has to keep up, even speed up its research.”13

Recognition of the advantages offered by stealth technology, and calls for Russia to close the gap in this field can also be found in more recent Russian defence academic literature. “At present, the lag of the Russian Armed Forces behind foreign armies in critical technologies is especially dangerous,” asserts one article in the December 2006 edition of the authoritative journal of the General Staff Voyennaya Mysl’ (Military Thought), further observing that “[t]here exists a need to develop and introduce ‘stealth’ technology not only for aviation, but also for missiles, especially cruise [missiles].”14 In addition to very low-observable manned aircraft and cruise missiles, Russian commentators writing in the mid-2000s also warned of the challenge posed by emerging stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV). “It is obvious that an American UCAV will be an extremely difficult target for an air defence system,” notes one commentator in a 2005 Vozdushno-Kosmicheskaya Oborona(Aerospace Defense) journal article discussing the cancelled Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program (which was active at the time), adding that UCAVs have the potential to be highly stealthy.15

Notable, too, is a 2007 Vozdushno-Kosmicheskaya Oboronaarticleco-authored by four members of the Russian Defence Ministry’s 2ndCentral Scientific-Research Institute (now Ministry of Defence’s Central Scientific-Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Troops), including the institute’s head, Major-General Sergei Yagolnikov. “Achievements in various fields of science and technology,” the article asserts, “have created sufficient prerequisites for successfully resolving the tasks of providing the military superiority of the United States and NATO countries. These [achievements],” it continues, “no doubt, include stealth technologies.” The article also emphasises the survivability of stealth aircraft, noting that “[t]he combat employment of low-observable aircraft allows them to strike well defended stationary and mobile ground targets practically without losses.”16

The Shootdown of “Vega 31” and its Impact

Whereas recognition of the many military advantages enjoyed by the United States due to its leadership in stealth technology can — on rare occasions — be found in Russian academic literature, the same cannot be said about contemporary public statements by senior Russian military officials. As will be subsequently discussed, a major theme in these public statements traces its roots to the loss of a single F-117 to a Serb SA-3 surface-to-air missile (SAM) battalion during the 1999 Operation Allied Force. 

On the night of 27 March 1999, a Serb Soviet-built P-18 low-frequency surveillance/acquisition radar detected an F-117 (callsign “Vega 31”) at a distance of less than 30 km (19 miles)from the SA-3 battalion. Once the stealthy aircraft entered the engagement envelope of the SA-3 SAM system, the Serbs activated the system’s fire-control radar in order to attempt and “lock” the target.17 The fire-control radar was activated only for short time intervals so as not expose the system to NATO suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) assets. The first two attempts failed. The third, however, was successful and was followed by the launch of two SAMs at the F-117, which, at this point, was just 13km (8 miles) away. One of the missiles detonated near the aircraft, bringing it down.18 The shootdown served to re-enforce popular Russian notions dating back to the Cold War that Soviet/Russian air defences would be capable of effectively intercepting US stealth aircraft. Nowadays, the incident is frequently cited by former and incumbent Russian military officials who argue that modern Russian air defence systems are likely to be very effective against stealth targets given that even an old Soviet-built system succeeded in downing one.19

For example, during a 2015 interview, head of the VVS Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops (now Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily—VKS) Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops), Major-General Sergei Babakov, made a likely reference to the shootdown, noting that “even old [radar] stations, for example the P-18 [are] excellent means for detecting [stealth].” Babakov then reiterated that “[i]t is possible to combat” stealth aircraft, “[t]here are means to detect them.”20 Similarly, commenting on the F-117 shootdown in a 2017 Svobodnaya Pressainterview, former commander of the 4thAir and Air Defence Army, Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko, asserted that “the vulnerability of stealth aircraft was well demonstrated by the war in Yugoslavia.” Gorbenko then proceeded to speak about the F-35, stating that “despite all its problems, it is still likely a good fighter… but, [it] will be detected anyway.”21

With regard to the above, a number of senior former Russian military officials have been even more dismissive of US fifth-generation fighters (the F-35 and F-22), often resorting to highly unprofessional remarks.  For instance, in a 2016 interview, ex-Chief of the General Staff of Air Defence, Colonel-General Igor Maltsev, went as far as claiming that US stealth aircraft turned out to be “paper fiction.”22 Other officials did not limit their remarks to the fighters’ stealth characteristics, preferring to throw insults at their combat capabilities as a whole. When asked by Russia’s TASS news agency in a 2017 interview why do the Americans not participate in Russia’s annual “Aviadarts” exercise, ex-commander of the VKS, Colonel-General Viktor Bondarev, simply responded with “because they are afraid that their F-22 and F-35 will not hit anything.”23 A similarly contemptuous statement was made by the former commander of the Moscow Military District (later merged to form the Western Military District), Colonel-General Yuri Soloviev; arguing that, if one looks at the characteristics of modern Russian air defence systems, the F-22 and F-35 have “no ability at all” to overcome them.24

Contemporary Russian Statements: Misleading and often Inane

While an extensive discussion of stealth and “counter-stealth” technology and tactics is beyond the scope of this article, it is nevertheless necessary to briefly address the misleading and often groundless remarks – such as those previously noted – that Russian officials have made on this subject. Though, as Russian officials note, no stealth platform is entirely invisible to radar (and, for that matter, to infra-red sensors), a very low-observable aircraft has a much smaller radar (and often also heat) signature than a conventional aircraft. Ergo, stealth aircraft are able to navigate through much denser adversary air defenses undetected and/or to engage air defenses from much closer distances without being detected and targeted.

When Russian military officials speak about being able to detect stealth aircraft, they often refer to low-frequency radars. Both Russia and China have invested considerable resources into developing modern low-frequency (typically VHF, UHF and L-band) surveillance/acquisition radars that are far more advanced than old Soviet-era systems such as the aforementioned P-18 VHF-band radar.25 Due to the design features of contemporary stealth fighters, such as the inclusion of tail surfaces, and the sizes of the wings and other structures, the F-35 and F-22 have higher radar cross sections (RCS) at lower frequencies. Modern low-frequency radars, for example the Russian RLM-M VHF-band radar of the “Nebo-M”multi-band radar system, may therefore be able to detect and track them at considerably longer ranges than higher frequency systems.26 These low-frequency radars, however, are not an effective solution against broadband stealth aircraft such as the USAF’s B-2 and upcoming B-21 bomber, which are designed to have very low-RCS at both lower and higher frequencies.27

As for the F-35 and F-22, though more vulnerable to detection by modern low-frequency systems, the detection of an aircraft is merely the first step in a complex “kill chain,”each subsequent step of which requires successful execution in order to achieve target interception.28 Given that low-frequency radars, even modern ones, have poor resolution and accuracy (and are therefore not well suited for the missile guidance role), engaging a target after it has been detected by a low-frequency surveillance/acquisition radar requires detecting and tracking it using a higher frequency (typically X-band) fire-control radar in order to attempt and guide a missile towards it. However, the F-35 and F-22’s RCSs are very low at higher bands (particularly head-on), meaning they are highly unlikely to be successfully detected at tactically relevant ranges by higher frequency fire-control radars, including by those found in modern Russian SAM systems and fighters. Indeed, as an Aviation Week & Space Technology special on stealth observes, “[t]he manufacturers of the Su-35 and S-400 claim good performance against ‘stealthy’ targets, but their own numbers do not substantiate this.”29

Consequently, if an F-35 or F-22 is successfully detected and tracked by a modern low-frequency surveillance/acquisition radar at considerable range, the adversary will merely be alerted to the fighter’s presence. Even if an adversary then detects and tracks an F-35 or F-22 using a fire-control radar, successfully completing the kill chain against it will be substantially more challenging than it was for the Serbs to complete against the F-117 in 1999. Indeed, though modern Russian air defense systems and fighters are far superior to their Soviet-era predecessors, the F-35 and F-22 are also markedly more advanced and sophisticated aircraft than the F-117. Moreover, in the event of conflict, these fighters will be employed in conjunction with other friendly assets to detect, suppress and destroy adversary air defences.   

In addition to stealth aircraft, among the greatest challenges facing Russian air defences are very low-observable cruise missiles. Russian officials, however, have shown little public appreciation of this specific challenge. Indeed, whereas Russian officials and commentators frequently discuss and warn of the challenges posed by large numbers of US cruise missiles,30their comments are typically directed at non-stealthy Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) or are expressed in a very general manner (without specifying the cruise missiles in question), and rarely touch upon the topic of stealth. 

Indeed, professional Russian military publications have surprisingly little to say on the issue of addressing the challenges presented by US advances in stealth technology. While the theme of a possible surprise enemy air attack on the Russian Federation is commonplace in such articles, the gap between US and Russian stealth technology is decidedly absent. Such works cover a wide range of themes in relation to the modern use of air power, protection of critical infrastructure against enemy high-precision strikes, as well a wide array of analysis of modern Russian air defence capabilities. Yet, there is marked silence on how these forces can hypothetically counteract an attack involving advanced stealth platforms and weapons systems.31

This is also evident when Russian specialists in air power and air defence consider their advances in computer modeling and simulation of potential air combat. One illustration of this occurred in the September 2018 issue of Voyennaya Mysl’, in an article examining progress in simulation of aerial combat. The focus of the three authors was on the development of modern computer-based simulation models. They particularly highlighted the introduction of interactive simulation models using modern information technologies and high-performance computers. According to the authors the existing mathematical formulae combined with these technologies were synthesized to create the Kolchuga 7.0 modeling unit at the Marshal G.K. Zhukov Military Aerospace Defense Academy in Tver. Nevertheless, there was no reference to factoring into such modelling the potential use or ability to counteract enemy stealth capability.32

These themes are also intrinsically linked to what Western militaries and analysts refer to as anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capability. While this capability exists in Russia’s military, its specialist literature does not really categorise it in the same way. Instead, the tendency is to use phrases such as “restriction and denial of access and maneuver” (ogranicheniye i vospreshcheniye dostupa i manovra). Their approaches to strategic and operational-tactical air defence is characterised as zonal, overlapping air defence and the consequent formation of “air defense bubbles.” These have been much in evidence in the protection of Russian military facilities in Syria. Yet, within the Western analytical literature there is a tendency to present these capabilities mainly in terms of concentric circles to show the maximum ranges of some of these advanced systems. Many Russian commentators noted in the first US Tomahawk SLCM strike against Syria’s al-Shayrat Airbase in April 2017 that somehow it exposed the weaknesses of systems such as the S-400. In reality, despite the concentric circles approach – which overly simplifies the Russian A2/AD capability — these bubbles are quite effective but smaller than often presumed. As Colonel-General (Ret) Maltsev observed following the Shayrat strike, to adequately protect even a single airbase in Syria would demand a mix of aerial platforms, S-400 systems deployed near the base, and a network of surveillance radars distributed further out.33 It would also require Pantsir-S1 systems. Indeed, the Pantsir-S1 is the Russian air defence system designed against cruise missile attacks.

The Pantsir-S1, however, it is not without vulnerabilities. Each such system typically has twelve launcher tubes, approximately 700 rounds of ammunition for each one of its twin-barrel guns, a known limit of simultaneously engaged targets, a known reaction time, and other known performance parameters, meaning that the required number of cruise missiles and/or other precision-guided weapons to overwhelm or neutralise the Pantsir-S1s can be estimated, followed by additional precision-guided munitions to attack the enemy ground target(s) covered by them.34In this regard, it is worth noting that there is a dearth of analysis in Russian military literature attempting to assess the Pantsir-S1 radars’ capacity to locate and track stealth cruise missiles, let alone whether the system can complete the kill chain against such targets in time.

Despite the above, Russian military officials continue to publicly express confidence in the ability of modern Russian air defence systems to repel adversary air attacks, including those involving stealth aircraft and cruise missiles. For example, following the US-led cruise missile strikes against three Syrian chemical weapons-related facilities in mid-April 2018, which saw the launch of 105 cruise missiles (some of them stealth) from sea and airborne platforms, Russian Defence Ministry chief spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, claimed without any proof that “[i]n total, the Syrian [air defence] systems eliminated 71 cruise missiles of 103 (sic).”35 Realising that the West had called its bluff, Moscow subsequently held a press briefing led by the head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, showing recovered remnants from cruise missiles that were allegedly intercepted.36The briefing, however, did little to support earlier Russian claims.

The remnants displayed at the briefing appeared to have come only from a small number of cruise missiles. Though some contained visible signs of damage from air defences, others, as some analysts have noted, may have come from missiles that malfunctioned or that succeeded in hitting their target, including from missiles employed during the previous year’s US strike against al-Shayrat.37 Most notably, however, the briefing did not appear to display any remnants of highly stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM).  A total of 19 JASSMs were launched by two USAF B-1 bombers against the Barzah Research and Development Centernorth of Damascus (a heavily defended area), suggesting that not a single one of them was intercepted by Syria’s Soviet/Russian-built air defences.38

Russian Statements on Stealth: Implications for the US and NATO

Western officials and military planners must not underestimate Russia’s air defences, but should also strive to understand the complex motives behind the misleading and often inane statements by Russian officials on US stealth aircraft. Such derisive and depreciative remarks are not limited to stealth alone and are frequently voiced by Russian officials and commentators with regard to various Western military systems. They are omnipresent in Russian media reports and military documentaries, and are aimed at the Russian general public as well as international audiences who do not posses an in-depth understanding of military affairs and weapons systems. In other words, they aim to bolster the standing of the Russian Armed Forces in the eyes of the international community and to instill a sense of national pride among Russian audiences.

To what degree Russian officials and commentators genuinely believe their claims is difficult to judge given their own continuous exposure to — and upbringing in — an environment that promotes such views. Interestingly, unlike China’s 2015 Military Strategy, which observes that “[l]ong-range, precise, smart, stealthy and unmanned weapons and equipment are becoming increasingly sophisticated” [emphasis added],39 Russia’s 2014 Military Doctrine highlights the deployment of high-precision weapon systems, but makes no specific mention of stealth.40 This, however, should not be interpreted as indicating that the challenge posed by advancements in US stealth technology is not acknowledged by the Russian military. Indeed, the existence of Russian academic literature on the subject matter (aimed at professional Russian audiences and not at the general public), as well as Russia’s own continued investment in stealth technology alludes to the notion that the utility of stealth is well recognized in at least some Russian military circles.

It should be noted, however, that Russia’s approach to stealth fighter design differs from that of the United States, placing much less emphasis on low-observability. For example, though often classified as fifth-generation fighter prototypes, the Sukhoi S-37 and MiG Izdeliye 1.44 technology demonstrators, which first flew in 1997 and 2000, respectively, had somewhat reduced radar signatures, but were not stealthy, incorporating only very limited low-observable design features. Similarly, although the Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA (Su-57) has a smaller radar signature than contemporary 4/4.5-generation fighters, its RCS is estimated to be much greater than that of the F-35 or F-22, and therefore not a genuine stealth fighter by American standards.41

The motive behind the smaller emphasis on low-observability stems from major deficiencies in Russia’s defence-industrial base with respect to stealth aircraft design, development and manufacturing.  In terms of the problems with the development of the T-50, it seems this also relates to the challenges in developing the new “second stage” Izdeliye 30 engines. As a result, initial production version Su-57s will be delivered to the VKS with “first stage” AL-41F1 engines that have greater heat and radar signatures.42 Deliveries of production version Su-57s with “second stage” engines are not expected before 2023.43 In the case of the Su-57, Russia has attempted to partially compensate for the fighter’s inferior low-observability via the inclusion of other features;44however, in the case of non-fighter types such as Sukhoi’s S-70 OkhotnikUCAV and Tupolev’s in-development PAK DA stealth bomber, low-observability will be far more crucial to mission survival. 45Persisting deficiencies in Russia’s defence-industrial base will therefore severely impact the performance of these platforms.

The continued absence of a truly stealthy Russian design, and ongoing delays in realising the mass production of existing low-observable platforms (namely the Su-57)46may serve as another explanation to the often-derisive statements by Russian officials on US stealth aircraft. Their purpose may be to create the impression that Russia’s lag in stealth technology is of lesser significance to Russia than it truly is and to deflect public attention from Moscow’s own problems in producing effective stealth platforms. Such statements can therefore be expected to reoccur and perhaps intensify as not only the United States, but also American allies continue to field stealth aircraft in greater numbers. In this context, the authors argue that despite the claims made by Russia’s defence officials and its military analytical community, in real terms the stealth technology lag behind the US remains very large. At the same time, seeing as more and more countries, including Russia’s strategic partner, China, are developing and/or introducing stealth aircraft, Russian officials may find it more difficult to justify their claims to Russian and international audiences.

Dismissive Russian statements should not be permitted to erode the confidence of the US and NATO in the utility of stealth. Although this may be less of an issue in the US and the UK (particularly within the USAF and the Royal Air Force (RAF)), it could be more widespread in other NATO member states, especially in its central, western and northern European members, including those acquiring the F-35 (Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark and Norway). NATO’s European members are new to stealth aircraft. Unlike the US, they have never utilised stealth aircraft in combat and are therefore more prone to skepticism. Many central and western European states are also more subject to Russian state influence than the US and the UK, and are therefore more sympathetic towards claims of Russia’s military superiority.  Ergo, it is necessary to place greater emphasis on countering Russian claims regarding the utility of stealth (not only within NATO air forces, but in other service branches of NATO militaries as well). 

While Russia’s stealth aircraft are of inferior quality and will not be introduced in large numbers in the near term, Russia’s continued investment in stealth technology represents a new challenge to US and NATO forces, which are not used to facing an adversary that fields low-observable assets. This is particularly true with respect to Russian low-observable cruise missiles, some of which are already in operational service and are being fielded in growing numbers. In fact, Russia’s growing inventory of cruise missiles (both low-observable and not) and other precision-guided standoff weapons represents among the greatest challenges to NATO. Strengthening air defence, particularly against cruise missiles, should therefore be prioritised in NATO.47

This article was first completed in February 2019 and only covers materiel available prior to this date.

Header Photo: A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and two F-22 Raptors from the 199th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, fly in formation near Diamond Head State Monument, Hawaii, during an interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019. Three B-2 bombers and more than 200 Airmen deployed here in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s bomber task force mission. Bomber aircraft regularly rotate through the Indo-Pacific region to integrate capabilities with key regional partners and maintain a high state of aircrew proficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Barley)

Guy Plopsky

Guy Plopsky holds an MA in International Affairs and Strategic Studies from Tamkang University, Taiwan. He specializes in air power, Russian military affairs and Asia-Pacific security. You can follow him on Twitter at @GuyPlopsky

Roger N McDermott

Roger N McDermott is Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Department of War Studies (School of Security Studies), King’s College London.


  1. Central Intelligence Agency, Soviet Work on Radar Cross Section Reduction Applicable to a Future Stealth Program (Langley, VA: Directorate of Intelligence, CIA-RDP86R00254R000100050001-4,February 1984), available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP86R00254R000100050001-4.pdf/(accessed February 2, 2019).
  2. Central Intelligence Agency, US Stealth Programs and Technology: Soviet Exploitation of the Western Press (Langley, VA: Directorate of Intelligence, 0000500640,August 1988), available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000500640.pdf(accessed February 2, 2019).
  3. Rebecca L. Grant, B-2: The Spirit of Innovation(West Falls Church, VA: Northrop Grumman, 2013), 55-57.
  4. Gregory T. Hooker, “Trends in the Developments of Soviet Air Defense Forces,” Air Power Journal 5, no.2 (Summer 1991): 14.
  5. Central Intelligence Agency, Soviet Reactions to Stealth (Langley, VA: Directorate of Intelligence, 0000261288,July 1985), available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000261288.pdf(accessed February 2, 2019). 
  6. Benjamin S. Lambeth, Desert Storm and its Meaning: The View from Moscow(Santa Monica, CA: RAND, R-4164-AF, 1992), 84.Soviet Air Force (VVS) and Air Defence Troops (V-PVO) generals as well as industry officials continued to express confidence in the ability of Soviet air defences and argued that the F-117 was able to successfully strike targets in Baghdad solely due to support from electronic warfare (EW) and other aircraft.6Ibid., 84-85.
  7. Eliot A. Cohen et al., Gulf War Air Power Survey Volume II: Operations and Effects and Effectiveness (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1993), 123-124.
  8. Lambeth, Desert Storm and its Meaning, 57.
  9. Mary C. Fitzgerald, The Soviet Military on SDI(Alexandria, VA: Center for Naval Analyses, August 1987), 24.
  10. Benjamin S. Lambeth, Russia’s Air Power at the Crossroads (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1996), 240-241.
  11. Mary C. Fitzgerald, “The Soviet Military and the New Air War in the Persian Gulf,” Air Power Journal 5, no. 4 (Winter 1991): 72, 77.
  12. Eric Schmitt, “Stealth Technology: Elusive in more Ways than One,” New York Times, October 13, 1991, https://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/13/weekinreview/the-nation-stealth-technology-elusive-in-more-ways-than-one.html(accessed February 1, 2019). 
  13. Major-General I. N. Vorobiev (Ret.) and Colonel V. A. Kiselyov, “Perspektivnost’ oborony [Prospectiveness of Defense],” Voyennaya Mysl’, no. 12 (December 2006), http://www.avnrf.ru/index.php/publikatsii-otdelenij-avn/nauchnykh-otdelenij/voennogo-iskusstva/246-perespektivnost-oborony(accessed February 5, 2019).
  14.  Sergei Sokut, “Nebo budushchey voyny [Sky of a Future War],” Vozdushno-Kosmicheskaya Oborona, January 1, 2015, available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20170618125729/http://www.vko.ru/koncepcii/nebo-budushchey-voyny(accessed February 1, 2019).
  15. Major-General Sergei Yagolnikov et al., “Vidimost’ ‘nevidimok’ [Visibility of the “Invisibles”],” Vozdushno-Kosmicheskaya Oborona, May 29, 2017, available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20180425133032/http:/www.vko.ru/koncepcii/vidimostnevidimok(accessed February 1, 2019).
  16. TangoSix, “Predavanje Zoltana Danija o obaranju aviona F-117A [Lecture by Zoltan Dani on the F-117A Downing],” YouTube Video, 31:35, April 26, 2017, https://youtu.be/hvgyiFCoG0U(accessed February 8, 2019).
  17. Sebastien Roblin, “Stealth Shootout: In 1999, a US Air Force F-117 Was Shot Down. Here’s How it Went Down,” The National Interest, December 3, 2018, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/stealth-shootout-1999-us-air-force-f-117-was-shot-down-heres-how-it-went-down-37762(accessed February 8, 2019).
  18. For example, see: Igor Korotchenko, “Moskva prikryta ot udarov vozdushnogo protivnika s veryatnost’yu 99% [Moscow is Protected from Enemy Air Strikes with a 99% Probability],” Natsional’naya Oborona, April 23, 2015, http://www.nationaldefense.ru/includes/periodics/authors/2015/0423/132315591/detail.shtml(accessed February 3, 2019).
  19. Igor Korotchenko, “Glava zenitnykh voysk RF: Protivovozdushnyy boy dlitsya ne boleye 1.5 minut [Head of the Russian Federation’s Anti-Aircraft Troops: Anti-Air Combat Lasts No Longer Than 1.5 Minutes],” Life.ru, July 5, 2015, https://life.ru/828877(accessed February 3, 2019).
  20. Anton Mardasov, “‘Divizion S-400 ne zametil ataki F-35 pod Damaskom’ [S-400 Battalion did not Notice F-35 Damascus Attack],” Svobodnaya Pressa, February 17, 2017, https://svpressa.ru/war21/article/166554/(accessed February 5, 2019).
  21. Yekaterina Zgirovskaya, “Stels-tekhnologiya okazalas’ bumazhnoy fiktsiyey [Stealth Technology Turned out to be Paper Fiction],” Gazet.ru, August 20, 2016, https://www.gazeta.ru/army/2016/08/20/10142231.shtml?updated(accessed February 8, 2019).
  22. “Senator Bondarev: menya vsegda tyanet v nebo [Senator Bondarev: I Am Always Drawn to the Sky],” TASS, November 1, 2017, https://tass.ru/interviews/4688271(accessed February 7, 2019).
  23. Zgirovskaya, “Stels-tekhnologiya okazalas’ bumazhnoy fiktsiyey”
  24. Dan Katz, State of Stealth(New York: Aviation Week Network, 2017), 17, https://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/uploads/2017/12/12/State%20of%20Stealth%20FINAL%20121317.pdf(accessed February 3, 2019).
  25. For a description of the Nebo-M multi-band radar system, see: JSC Aerospace Defense Concern Almaz-Antey Press Service, “Rekordsmen po mnogofunktsional’nosti [Record Holder for Multifunctionality],” Gazta.ru, December 11, 2018, https://www.gazeta.ru/army/vko/2018/12/11/12091891.shtml?updated(accessed February 5, 2019).
  26. For a comprehensive discussion of stealth and “counter-stealth” technology, see: Katz, State of Stealth.
  27. Mark Barrett and Mace Carpenter, Survivability in the Digital Age: The Imperative for Stealth(Arlington VA: Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, 2017), 16, http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/a2dd91_cd5494417b644d1fa7d7aacb9295324d.pdf(accessed February 5, 2019).
  28. Katz, State of Stealth, 3.
  29. Thomas R. McCabe, “The Russian Perception of the NATO Aerospace Threat,” Air & Space Power Journal30, no. 3 (Fall 2016): 66.
  30. G.N. Shcherbakov and Yu.A. Shlykov, “Zashchita vazhnykh nazemnykh obyektov ot vozdushnogo terrorizma [Protection of Important Ground Facilities against Air Terrorism],” Spetsial’naya Tekhnika, no.1 (2008); V.L. Arkhipov, A.N. Chebotaryov, and R.Yu. Oparin, “Sootvetstvovaf veroyatnym ugrozam bezopasnosti okhranyayemykh obyektov [To Be Up to Potential Threats to Security of Protected Facilities],” Voyskovoy Vestnik, no.1 (2016); Radioupravleniya. Avtonomniye i kombinirovanniye sistemy navedeniya[Command Radio Control Systems. Autonomous and Combined Guidance Systems], Ed. by A.I. Kanashchenkov and V.I. Merkulov, (Moscow: Radiotekhnika Publishers, 2004); Ye.G. Borisov and V.I. Evdokimov, Vysokotochnoye oruzhiye i bor’ba s nim [High-Precision Weapons and Fight against Them], Teaching Aid (St. Petersburg: Lan’ Publishers, 2013).
  31. Major-General I.P. Churkin, Colonel S.A. Kostrov (Res.) and Colonel S.G. Beglarian (Ret.), “Imitatsionnoye modelirovaniye vooruzhennogo protivostoyaniya v aerokosmicheskoy sfere, [Simulated Modeling of Armed Confrontation in the Aerospace Sphere],” Voyennaya Mysl’, no.9 (September 2018): 41-47.
  32. Mikhail Khodarenok, “S-400 za Shayrat ne otvechayet [S-400 not Responsible for Shayrat],”Gazeta.ru, April 7, 2017, https://www.gazeta.ru/army/2017/04/07/10615685.shtml(accessed February 17, 2019).
  33. For a description of the Pantsir-S1 system’s capabilities, see “Pantsir-S1,” Rosoboronexport,  http://roe.ru/eng/catalog/air-defence-systems/air-defense-systems-and-mounts/pantsir-s1/(accessed February 8, 2019).
  34. “Briefing by Defense Ministry Official Major General Igor Konashenkov,” Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, April 16, 2018, http://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12171611@egNews(accessed February 11, 2019).
  35. Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, “Chief of Main Operational Directorate of Russian General Staff held a briefing,” YouTube Video, 12:52, April 25, 2018, https://youtu.be/m8AetEXh80s(accessed February 11, 2019).
  36. Jeremy Binnie, “Russia displays cruise missiles ‘shot down’ in Syria,” IHS Jane’s 360, April 26, 2018, https://www.janes.com/article/79615/russia-displays-cruise-missiles-shot-down-in-syria(accessed February 11, 2019).
  37. John A. Tripak and Brian Everstine, “Syria Strike Story Shifting: AFCENT Says F-22s Flew Strike Cap, Basic JASSM’s Used,” Air Force Magazine, April 20, 2018, http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2018/April%202018/Syria-Strike-Story-F-22s-AFCENT-JASSMs.aspx(accessed February 11, 2019).
  38. China’s Military Strategy 2015, http://eng.mod.gov.cn/Press/2015-05/26/content_4586805.htm, May 2015.
  39. Russian Federation Military Doctrine 2014, http://www.mid.ru/foreign_policy/official_documents/-/asset_publisher/CptICkB6BZ29/content/id/976907, December 2014.
  40. Mark B. Schneider, “The F-35 vs. the Russian Su-35 and the PAK FA,”Real Clear Defense, November 4, 2015,https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2015/11/05/the_f-35_vs_the_russian_su-35_and_the_pak_fa_108649.html(accessed February 10, 2019).
  41. Leonid Nersisyan, “Novyy dvigatel’ istrebitelya pyatogo pokoleniya Su-57 v nebe – chto eto znachit? [New Engine for Su-57 Fifth-Generation Fighter is in the Sky – What does it Mean?” Regnum, December 9, 2017, https://regnum.ru/news/2354896.html(accessed February 17, 2019); Leonid Nersisyan, “Rossiyskiy istrebitel’ 5-go pokoleniya T-50 PAK FA: problemy i perspektivy [Russian Fifth-Generation Fighter T-50 PAK FA: Problems and Prospects],” Regnum, January 1, 2017,https://regnum.ru/news/2223929.html(accessed February 17, 2019).
  42. “Minoborony Rossii v ramkakh foruma ‘Armiya-2018 podpisalo 31 gosudarstvenyy kontrakt na summu svyshe 130 mlrd rubley” [Russian Defense Ministry signed 31 contracts worth over 130 billion Rubles as part of the Army 2018 Forum], Tv Zvezda, August 22, 2018, https://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201808222137-mil-ru-sd99e.html(accessed February 11, 2019).
  43. Tyler Rogoway, “No, the Su-57 Isn’t ‘Junk:’ Six Features We Like on Russia’s New Fighter,” The Drive, April 30, 2018, http://thedrive.com/the-war-zone/20434/no-the-su-57-isnt-junk-six-features-we-like-on-russias-new-fighter(accessed February 10, 2019).
  44. Tyler Rogoway, “Detailed New Photos of Russia’s ‘Hunter’ Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle Emerge: Our Analysis,” The Drive, January 24, 2019 http://thedrive.com/the-war-zone/26146/detailed-new-photos-of-russias-hunter-unmanned-combat-air-vehicle-emerge-our-analysis(accessed February 10, 2019).
  45. Franz-Stephan Gady, “Serial Production of Russia’s Su-57 Stealth Fighter Delayed Until At Least 2020,” The Diplomat, January 17, 2019, https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/serial-production-of-russias-su-57-stealth-fighter-delayed-until-at-least-2020/(accessed February 11, 2019). 
  46. See: Roger N McDermott, “Putin Promotes New Hypersonic Weapons,” Eurasia Daily Monitor 16, no. 26 (February 26, 2019):https://jamestown.org/program/putin-promotes-new-hypersonic-weapons-systems/(accessed February 28, 2019); Guy Plopsky, “The Kh-101 and Syria: Maturing the Long-Range Precision-Strike Capabilities of Russia’s Aerospace Forces,” From Balloons to Drones, October 18, 2017, https://balloonstodrones.com/2017/10/18/the-kh-101-and-syria-maturing-the-long-range-precision-strike-capabilities-of-russias-aerospace-forces/(accessed February 28, 2019).

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