Ever since the US used F-117s in 1991 to rock Baghdad, at the time one of the world’s most defended cities, Soviets and other potential US adversaries have been studying up on how to counter stealth jets.

Later, over Serbia, an F-117 was shot down, forever souring the image of so-called invisible aircraft that have for decades been on top of the US Air Force‘s agenda.

Today, Russia and China have built impressive arrays of very high frequency, or VHF, and other integrated radars that can spot even the US’s most advanced and stealthy jets like the F-22 and the F-35 under the right circumstances.

While many have rushed to declare stealth a fruitless and expensive path for the US Air Force to walk, retired Marine Maj. Dan Flatley told Business Insider why pilots of America’s most expensive weapons system weren’t afraid of Russian or Chinese counterstealth.