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Fourth-Generation Fighters: Addressing the Asymmetric Threats Facing Our Homeland Defense

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Technical Report

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Air Command and Staff College, Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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The purpose of this research paper is to acknowledge the asymmetric threats posed against the United States and identify ways fourth-generation fighter aircraft can continue to fulfill the Aerospace Control Alert ACA homeland defense mission. Opposing state and non-state actors have realized that asymmetric warfare poses the greatest challenges to the United States and its allies. Tasked to mitigate threats posed by ballistic missile proliferation, unmanned systems, and weapons of mass destruction WMDs, civilian and military leaders question the fourth-generation fighter aircrafts ability to counter these threats. Implementing the problemsolution framework, this paper investigates four alternatives to bridge the fourth-generation to fifth-generation fighter gap for aircraft assigned to ACA sites conducting homeland defense missions. The alternatives include implementing a Service Life Extension Program SLEP for existing fourth-generation aircraft, purchase new fourth-generation aircraft, purchase ACA mission specific aircraft tailored to fulfill homeland defense missions, and assign ACA as a units primary mission. The results of this research paper reveal that a decreased deployment cycle for ACA assigned units and investment towards the modernization of fourth-generation fighter aircraft, the United States can properly fulfill the ACA mission and mitigate asymmetric threats challenging our homeland defense.

Subject Categories:

  • Attack and Fighter Aircraft
  • Civil Defense
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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