The Arab News, which bills itself as “the Middle East’s Leading English Language Daily,” had an intriguing story last week from reporter P.K. Abdul Ghafour. Filing from Jeddah, Ghafour wrote that Saudi Minister of Defense (and new Crown Prince) Sultan ibn Abdul-Aziz has a plan “to strengthen the Kingdom’s air force and for it to become No. 1 in the Middle East.” Hmmm. Israel is in the Middle East, and has an air force. Ditto with Egypt. Does USAF count? Anyway, it’s true that the RSAF has some pretty good iron—US-made F-15s, US-made E-3 AWACs, US-made air-combat missiles, etc. However, it would be pretty bold for Sultan to say, as he reportedly told RSAF officers in Tabuk, “Our air force fleet will become the strongest in the Middle East.” When, highness? And how? And why
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.