Stealth Isn’t Obsolete

There’s no danger that stealth will be overcome by new radar and other sensor technologies anytime soon, said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. At a Pentagon press briefing on Jan. 15, Welsh was asked if the slowness of fielding the F-35 places the aircraft at risk of being obsolete by the time it’s available in quantity. Welsh replied that critics assert that “stealth is no longer valuable” whenever a “piece” of what constitutes stealth is compromised. “The reality is, stealth is a combination of things,” he said. In addition to low-observable technology, stealth comprises “speed, … different ways of collecting data, different ways of transmitting and protecting transmissions. It is a way of breaking kill chains,” he said. Welsh said “as long as we break the kill chain … between when you arrive in the battlespace and when the enemy weapon approaches your airplane, you’re successful at using stealth. And I don’t see anything that indicates that is not going to be true 10 years from now.” (James-Welsh transcript)