NATO Air Chief: Engaging F-35 Would be Like Jumping into a Boxing Ring to “Fight an Invisible Ali”

Business Insider // September 20, 2016

When asked how the F-35 Lightning II would stack up against potential aggression from Moscow, NATO air chiefs said they're confident the fifth-generation jet would devalue Russian forces.

"What we are perfectly convinced of is the fact that when we do bring fifth-generation assets into the European region it is something that certainly serves as a deterrent," Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of US Air Forces in Europe, told Business Insider.

"It forces the Russians to take a look at what we are doing and to realize that if they had to embrace us they might be in a position where they had to jump into a boxing ring and fight an invisible Muhammad Ali."

Wolters comments, alongside Danish counterpart Maj. Gen. Max Nielsen and Dutch ally Lt. Gen. Dennis Luyt, came Monday at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space and Cyber conference.

"From our observations of their [Russian] activities in the area of command and control, they are extremely challenged. So our sense is, from a fifth generation standpoint that we would have great success," Wolters said.

Luyt, whose country was the second international partner to receive Lockheed Martin's "jack of all trades" jet, highlighted the F-35's asymmetric advantage over any other fielded jet.

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