US Gen McKenzie: Israel and US have lost their air force edge to Iran’s kamikaze drones

Within a decade, Iran has managed to wipe out the regional air superiority Israel and the United States long enjoyed, says former US Central Command chief, Gen. (ret.) Kenneth McKenzie. He assigned this success to Tehran’s focus in the past decade on building a vast fleet of suicide UAVs and massive arsenals of long-range missiles and short and medium range ballistic missiles. In the general’s view, the danger these forces represent to the countries of the Middle East does not fall short of a nuclear threat and may even surpass it, since there are limits to the use of nuclear weapons, but not to drones and missiles.

In the event of a war, the general said, Iran can use its drones to wipe out part or all of its adversary’s radar, thereby disarming its air defenses. This would clear the way to follow up with a ballistic missile offensive.

Gen. McKenzie maintains that the US and its senior ally Israel are both lagging behind in developing defense systems for coping with Iran’s UAVs. Their most immediate task today is to create an integrated regional and air and missile defense system.  This was made possible, he said, by a correct decision by President Joe Biden two years ago to move Israel and its military to the framework of Central Command. However, it does not change the fact that the air forces of the US and Israel have forfeited the edge they once held over Iran, largely because of the might the drones and missiles Iran would could now wield in any battlefield.
Gen. McKenzie likened the impact of a sizeable drone force in a war arena to large air force bombers. Iran has therefore managed to beat the embargo on the sale of modern long-range warplanes and filled the gap in its air might with long-range drone bombers. The Iranians are moreover constantly upgrading their drones’ operational capabilities by using the Ukraine war as a testing ground for the UAVs they have supplied to the Russian air force.

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