Not a Pound for Air-To-Ground: A Historiographical Analysis on the Genesis of the Multi-Role Fighter
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
Pagination or Media Count:
The history of military aviation illustrates the value of a fighter-type aircraft that excels in many different mission sets virtually every air-to-air fighter has been modified for air-to-ground operations. Through an analysis of a century of American fighter development and employment the author proves conclusively the most effective multi-role fighters grew from a design that prioritized effective air-to-air combat operations over air-to-ground. Once air-to-air fighters became obsolete due to maneuverability, technology, or needs of the force changed, leadership reconfigured them to become multi-role fighters, capable of effective air-to-ground operations while still able to protect themselves from the air threat. The characteristics of successful multirole fighters, specifically maneuverability, acceleration, rate of climb, high top speed, cockpit visibility, large payload, high ceiling, balanced technology, and an internal cannon, mimic those of successful air superiority fighters. It is certainly vital to think about and plan for future operations however, it is imperative not to ignore historical combat lessons learned. Future fighter procurement must prioritize an air superiority fighter design, which can then be modified to achieve effective multi-role operations.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics