I was reminded yet again of my unfinished fighter plane PSA series when I stumbled upon this.

Middle East Eye:

Shortly after dawn on 10 June, Damascus International Airport was bombarded by Israeli missiles, leaving three huge craters in each of its two operational runways.

Syrian Civil Aviation authorities issued a statement confirming the closure of runways 23R and 23L, citing a “WIP” [work in progress], with the estimated reopening date set for 20 June. Syrians awoke to find their flights had been diverted or cancelled as the Syrian Airways fleet was immediately grounded, adding more strain to the country’s war-battered aviation industry.

My “Modern Fighter Planes are Jokes” series was very well received. I hope to find the time to finish it one of these days, but I’m swamped as it is. The most important entries are the first three, where I go over the trivial ease with which these planes can be destroyed on the ground, briefly speak on Aircraft Carriers, and then talked about their ridiculous fuel consumption numbers.

Everybody but one guy, on BANG of all places, was a fan. That forum’s resident NATO shill got entirely assblasted, and set about fact-checking me. As proof of the total uselessness of missile strikes, he posted this video of some exercise where a small army of engineers managed to fix a simulated crater in half a day. Good thing they already had all their equipment on hand, and there were no more artillery shells or missiles flying down upon them for some reason.

He also claimed that I didn’t mention air defense systems. Nothing could be further from the truth, but let’s focus on the airfield repair. How fast does that actually happen, in the real World? Well apparently after three missiles bury themselves in a runway, it takes an estimated ten days to repair. And that’s the most ambitious estimation. Others have speculated weeks, or even months before the airport is operational again.

Even with the most optimistic of estimations, on the tenth day of repairs Israel could simply press a few more buttons and launch another few missiles and put it out of service for another ten days. And at the end of those ten days, they might even be capable of once again pressing a few more buttons and launching a few more missiles. It’s crazy, but it could happen.

Modern air forces are jokes. A plane that cannot take off and land from anything other than extremely long pristine concrete runways is a joke. It’s not a real weapon of war, unless everything we know about missiles is wrong for no particular reason. It’s entirely possible to build dispersed, dirt strip airfields all over the country, but that doesn’t make money for Lockheed Martin, so rest assured, that’ll never happen.

Like I said, I don’t really have the time to finish the fighter plane series. It’s unfortunate, since I was just getting to (fake) stealth. But sort of like the AABF series, where I could have stopped after part 10, I don’t really feel like I need to say any more than I have already said. These planes are strategically and operationally jokes. They can be destroyed trivially easily on the ground, and even if they could magically get into the air in a real war, they suck up so much fuel that they would be outnumbered by smaller planes, which are probably tactically superior anyway.

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1 Comment

  1. World War Trois – sounds like it will consist of everyone bombing everyone else’s airport. Then a 20-year lull as everyone retools to build real weapon systems…

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