Recently, the North Atlantic Alliance is experiencing a real "second youth." Americans are moving new units to Eastern Europe, military budgets are growing, large-scale maneuvers and exercises are regularly held. In general, everything is like the good old days of the Cold War. In the course of one of the last NATO exercises, two of the newest fifth-generation American fighter F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II "clashed" in Norway. But the most interesting thing is that the results of the training battles were never published.
Who won this epic battle?
The exercises, held in Norway, are aimed at strengthening the Alliance’s defense capability and strengthening its deterrent capabilities in relation to Russia. It is no secret that after 2014 the Baltic states and the Scandinavian countries seriously fear the appearance of "green men" on their borders. In order to appease the European allies, the Americans demonstrated the latest fifth-generation fighter F-22 Raptor. It is curious that the planes were redeployed for just one day, and after the end of the exercises they again returned to the place of their permanent deployment. Such is the "demonstration of the flag."
Colonel Leslie Hawke, who is integrating fifth-generation fighter aircraft in Europe, said that such a short-term deployment of one-day American combat vehicles in Norway is necessary to demonstrate support for European allies "against the background of Russia's aggression in Ukraine." The training battles were held near the Orland air base, where the F-35 Norwegian Air Force is stationed. Video fights can be found on the channel of the publication of the US Military News on Youtube.
Two Norwegian F-35s and a pair of American F-22s took part in the simulation. The results of the fights are unknown, but one of the pilots of the Norwegian Air Force stated that “Raptors” are very formidable opponents. The pilot also noted the significant superiority of the F-35 over the combat vehicles of previous generations.
In the near future, Norway will receive a new batch of F-35A fighters, thus bringing their total number to 52 units. The rearmament of the air force cost the Norwegians a round sum of almost $ 5 billion.
Why are the results of training matches not disclosed?
Disputes regarding the fighting qualities of the F-35 do not subside. Many experts believe that they are significantly inferior to the earlier "Raptor". Although, their manufacturer - the company "Lockheed Martin" - "in the blue eye" claims the opposite. The EPR of the aircraft is unknown, but it is likely that it is more noticeable on radar screens than the F-22. The power supply of the F-35 also leaves much to be desired, this machine is incapable of flying on a supersonic without switching on afterburner - that is, it does not meet one of the main criteria of the fifth-generation fighter. Yes, the F-35 is equipped with very advanced electronics, even more advanced than the Raptor. It has a modern radar and AN / ASQ-239 passive radar station. But does this compensate for all the other "weak points" of this combat vehicle?
In addition, for the F-35 stretches a significant train of failures and scandals. The adoption of the fighter into service was postponed many times, various systems and components of the aircraft had to be refined several times, the project budget grew by leaps and bounds. Currently, the total cost of the F-35 program has exceeded 55 billion dollars. At the same time, the Americans initially refused to sell the F-22 even to their closest allies, explaining this decision by the secrecy regime.
"Raptor" - is a fighter, created in the late 90s to gain air supremacy, that is, specifically for the air fight. F-35 - is a multi-purpose aircraft, which is designed primarily for the destruction of ground targets. Therefore, most likely, the F-35 in the sky of Norway was a bit. But since the delivery of the aircraft is just beginning, they decided to hide this unfortunate fact in order not to further disappoint the potential buyers of this “miracle” of the American aircraft industry.