Rand's 90-slide briefing presented in August argues that the US Air Force's fifth-generation fighter fleet could be outmatched by hordes of lesser-skilled Chinese Sukhoi Su-27 pilots in a 2020 battle over the Taiwan Straits. In the Rand war game, China launches an air attack on skies above Taiwan. Using advantages of proximity and sheer numbers, the assault force consists of 72 Su-27 Flankers, 24 in each of three regiments. Operating from Andersen AFB, Guam, the USAF can muster only six Lockheed F-22s in the Taiwan Straits at any time.

As the engagement starts, Chinese Flankers outnumber F-22s by 72 to six. The F-22s are also heavily outgunned in the battle. Three Su-27 regiments carry a total of 912 air-to-air missiles, compared with 48 by six F-22s.

In the end, the simulation optimistically assumes no F-22s are shot down in dogfights, but enough Su-27s break through to wipe out the USAF's tankers. Since the F-22s lack the range to return to a friendly base, they are lost anyway.


Source: Flight International