Planning Future U.S. Fighter Forces
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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This report is concerned with issues relating to the design of future U.S. fighter forces, that is, those fighter and attack forces that have until recently been described generically as tactical aviation. Over the last few years, doctrinal and operational thinking about theater conflict has undergone enormous change, reflecting not only an abrupt shift in the overall defense planning environment brought about by the devolution of the SovietWarsaw Pact threat but a host of other matters as well. These days, the dividing lines between what were once conceived as fairly compartmented kinds of military aviation capabilities have eroded substantially, if they have not collapsed altogether. It is well understood that forces other than those of classical tactical fighter-attackers would play vital roles in any theater contingency involving air power including bombers, missiles, and rotary wing aviation, etc. . The old distinctions among missions and functions, never very decisive, also have withered manifestly. For example, in Operation Desert Storm we saw strategic B-52s engaged in direct air support strikes against battlefield targets, while tactical A-10s engaged in the strategic mission of hunting down mobile Scud launchers. Also general agreement is that the total resume of theater combat aviation must include all those other resources such as capabilities for surveillance, targeting, electronic warfare, etc. without which a theater air campaign could not succeed.
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft