Before we go any further, let’s set aside the question of the wisdom or value of the ROEs and VID requirements. There are good arguments for and against these requirements and they go beyond mere military aspects to include public relations, ethics, politics, etc. The requirements are what they are so we’ll simply accept them for the sake of this discussion.
|AIM-54 Phoenix - Unusable?|
Given that VID is a near-requirement, one can’t help but wonder about the value of BVR weapons. If you can’t use them as intended, what’s the point of having them? Now, I’m not suggesting that we stop development of BVR weapons. Of course, we need them for the all out war situations where BVR will(?) be allowed. The VID requirements do, however, greatly diminish the value of BVR and, in practice during peacetime or limited conflicts, almost totally negate the use of BVR.
For example, if we had our own version of an intermediate range anti-ship ballistic missile (the Chinese “carrier-killer”) would we even use it knowing that there would be a risk, however small, of inadvertently targeting civilian or neutral shipping?
What is my point? Well, to an extent, I don’t have one. I simply note the difficulty in applying BVR combat and the resulting diminishment of overall combat capability when VID is required. Beyond that, I’d suggest that future enhancement of combat capability would benefit more from BVR target identification capabilities than continued development of ever longer range weapons that we won’t allow ourselves to use. Just something to think about as we read and assess future weapon systems.