Signaling the End of Deterrence Afforded by Dual Capable Aircraft
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
Pagination or Media Count:
For more than 60 years, the USAF relied on fighter aircraft capable of performing conventional and nuclear strike missions in Asia and Europe as part of the US extended nuclear deterrence strategy. Known as dual capable aircraft DCA, these aircraft were the first line of defense against a numerically superior enemy. However, the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics USSR in 1991 radically changed the regional and global security contexts these aircraft and their weapons were intended for. Since 1991, the USAF and NATO have allowed the DCA mission to atrophy. While US and NATO policy makers continue to advocate the need for the DCA mission, a combination of neglect, fiscal constraint, and public opinion have undermined the deterrent value of these systems. This paper articulates the current state of US and NATOs tactical nuclear capability. Using a simplified equation of deterrence as a function of technical capability and political credibility, this paper argues that the DCA mission no longer serves as a credible deterrent.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Nuclear Weapons
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft