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.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."