US Would Get ‘Big Surprise’ If It Tried F-35 Raid Against Russia in Black Sea, Chinese Media Says

© Belinda AlkerF-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 "The Wake Island Avengers" and the United Kingdom's Lightning 617 Squadron shortly after embarking onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on 22 September, 2020, off the coast of the United Kingdom.
F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 The Wake Island Avengers  and the United Kingdom's Lightning 617 Squadron shortly after embarking onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on 22 September, 2020, off the coast of the United Kingdom. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.01.2022
Last week, the Russian military reported that the number of NATO reconnaissance flights in the Black Sea in 2021 was 60 percent higher than in 2020, with the alliance also said to have held a total of 15 exercises in the region, nearly double the eight during the previous year.
The Pentagon would be in for a rude awakening if it attempted to launch a precision strike against Russia in the Black Sea region using its stealthy F-35 fighter jets, China’s Sohu web portal has warned.

Pointing to Russia’s advanced regional air defence network, the outlet suggests that upgraded S-300PM-2 long-range air defence systems deployed in Crimea would come as a “big surprise” to any foreign jets violating Russian airspace, given their improved radar and ultrasensitive target detection and tracking systems, which enable them to search out stealth targets at distances between 200km and 250km – that is, beyond the range of F-35s’ onboard missiles.

“It is believed that in the near future, as the situation in Eastern Europe continues to heat up, NATO’s opportunities to deploy F-35s in warfare in the Black Sea airspace will appear more frequently,” Sohu notes. However, “some analysts have pointed out that Russia’s 'talent' in response to the F-35s is already waiting … As soon as the American F-35s violate Russian airspace, they will be mercilessly shot down using these systems,” the outlet warns.
Russia, Sohu says, has built an extensive, air defence network in the Black Sea region to challenge US and NATO operational plans to strike at strategically important Russian cities in the area, with upgraded S-300s, S-400s and soon even the new S-500s expected to be stationed in the region to cool any hotheads at the Pentagon.
First publicly available footage of S-500 air defence system released by Russian military. - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.08.2021
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Last month, National Interest defence observer and former DoD employee Kris Osborn suggested that in the event of a Russia-NATO conflict over Ukraine, the US could conduct Tomahawk cruise missile strikes from vessels operating in the Black Sea to “bring enormous destruction to Russian forces along the Ukrainian border.” Osborn also believes that the massed deployment of F-35As, carrier-launched F-35Cs and amphibious assault craft-launched F-35Bs could play a “decisive factor” in any Ukraine land war.

Russia's Mobile Air Defence Arsenal

Russia has at least 71 battalions of S-400s at its disposal, with launchers and other components divided into 34 regiments, for a total of about 560 launchers. The country also has 125 battalions of the older S-300, totaling over 1,500 launchers, with these systems receiving a variety of upgrades.
Last October, Russian media reported on Defence Ministry plans to convert some S-300 and S-400 systems simultaneously to carry a variety of missiles to provide for both long-range strike capability and highly accurate short-range defence for use depending on the tactical situation – allowing even a single battalion of S-300s or S-400s to serve as an graduated system of air defence.
Дивизион зенитной ракетной системы С-400 Триумф завершил испытания и заступил на боевое дежурство в Крыму - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.10.2020
S-300s, S-400s to Be Modified to Use Various Types of Missiles Simultaneously, Report Says
The modernisation is expected to affect versions of the S-300 made starting in the late 1980s, with S-300PM-series systems to be fitted with smaller, shorter-range anti-air missiles to complement the 48N6 and 40N6 projectiles designed to take down targets at ranges between 150 and 380 km. Under the plan, one or more of each system’s launch tubes will be replaced with four smaller 9M96 and 9M96M missiles, which have a range of between 30 and 120 km.
© Andrei Kaliy / Krasnaya ZvezdaUnusual configuration of S-400 launcher.
Unusual configuration of S-400 launcher. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.01.2022
Unusual configuration of S-400 launcher.
Regional Tensions
The Black Sea region has become a major arena of tensions between Russia and NATO amid continued claims by the US and its allies that Russia is preparing to “invade” Ukraine, with the bloc simultaneously increasing its reconnaissance, drilling activity and bomber training in the area “in response.” Russian officials have dismissed the allegations of any invasion plans, but have also expressed growing concerns about the Western bloc’s creeping eastward expansion – recently epitomized by the effort to swallow up Ukraine.
Moscow has warned that the Mk-41 launchers deployed by the US in Romania and Poland could easily be converted to launch conventional or nuclear strikes deep into Russian territory, and last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if offensive missiles were placed in Ukraine, the flight time toward targets inside Russia would be reduced even further.
NATO eFP battle group soldiers wait for NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visit in Tapa military base, Estonia September 6, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.12.2021
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“I have already said – they’ll put missile systems in Ukraine, 4-5 minutes flight time to Moscow. Where can we move back to? They have simply driven us to such a state that we have to tell them: stop,” Putin said, speaking about Russia’s ‘red lines’ on NATO expansion.
The Russian foreign ministry outlined a set of twin security proposals to the US and NATO in mid-December, calling for legally binding guarantees by the two sides not to deploy troops and missiles in areas where they may be perceived as a threat to the other side, and asking the western alliance to rule out Ukraine’s incorporation into the bloc. Russia and the US will hold security talks in Geneva on 10 January to discuss the proposals and the situation in Ukraine.
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