The unpredictability of President Elect Donald Trump is making a great deal of people around the world extremely nervous. He has previously expressed both his approval for ‘mad dog’ posturing on the international stage and reviewing traditional alliances. With this in mind, if the worst were to happen and the US and Europe were to go to war, would the armed forces of the old continent stand a chance? We spoke to Justin Bronk, a Research Fellow specialising in combat airpower and technology in the Military Sciences team at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Editor of the RUSI Defence Systems online journal to find out more.
“To be honest there would be absolutely no contest – the US, even with a five year warning period – could take on all of Europe twice over without breaking much of a sweat in the military arena…”
Despite politically-motivated complaints to the contrary, the US military remains supremely well funded and well equipped.
“Even without the nuclear option, Europe has no ability outside the UK (and at a pinch Germany) to deploy division scale ground forces – far less command them and support them, nor to move heavy equipment fast at scale. The US can deploy multiple divisions with heavy armour support and full combat enablers (e.g. dynamic targeting support, SATCOMs etc). Without the US, we in Europe have almost no access to SATCOM, GPS targeting, strategic mobility etc etc.”
Non-US NATO forces are also essentially ancillary parts of the US war machine, dependent on US support to fight large wars and tied to US-made and supported equipment to function.
“In air force terms, the US have a large advantage in relevant frontline types, whilst European fighter forces are chronically dependent on US tanker, AWACS, ELINT and EW support. What’s more, even the few top-tier European air forces have no answers to the F-22, B-2 or the high-end jamming that the US deploys with the Growler, B-52 etc.”
If the air offers Europe a chance, the sea does not. “In naval forces…. It’s around 15 nuclear attack submarines, mostly British and French capability, with a smattering of littoral-based but capable electric boats from Sweden and Germany vs 57 nuclear attack boats from the US. The surface combatant ratios are even worse and doesn’t even contain the 10 CVN’s with associated air wings.”
Even the US’ Navy’s army is the match for two of the most powerful European nations: “Then there’s the USMC which alone can field almost as much combat power as Britain or Germany…”
In summary, Bronk declares it- “No contest”
We must all hope that this subject remains firmly in the armchair.
You may also enjoy B-52 pilot chooses Top 10 Cold War bombers, Flying & Fighting in the Mirage 2000: a pilot interview, The World’s Worst Air Force, 10 most formidable dogfight missiles, The ten coolest cancelled airliners, Ten incredible cancelled Soviet fighter aircraft, Ten worst Soviet aircraft, Ten incredible cancelled military aircraft, Fighter aircraft news round-up, 11 Cancelled French aircraft or the 10 worst British military aircraft, Su-35 versusTyphoon, 10 Best fighters of World War II , Su-35 versus Typhoon, top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Flying and fighting in the Tornado. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? Try Sigmund Freud’s Guide to Spyplanes. The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 10 great aircraft stymied by the US.