A Different Game

Iran is taking delivery of double-digit surface-to-air missiles, Gen. Michael Moseley, USAF Chief of Staff, acknowledged, speaking with defense reporters Thursday morning in Washington. The SA-20 system, like the ones Iran is buying, represents a “quantum, leap” forward in air defenses, and their deployment “makes this a more lethal world” for non-stealthy aircraft. The SA-20 offers 100-mile radius of engagement, meaning such a system in Washington, D.C. could shoot down aircraft over Philadelphia and Richmond at the same time, Moseley said. That kind of capability compels unstealthy aircraft like Joint STARS, AWACS, and tankers to have to operate farther away from an adversary’s territory and makes fifth generation aircraft that much more critical to success. The employment of these new integrated air defense systems means, “this is a different game,” Moseley asserted.