Air Defense

As aviation technology has advanced, the ability to defend a country’s air space has become increasingly important. RAND research has evaluated aircraft options and costs, defensive systems and strategies, deployment, and the importance of international partnerships in an effort to help the U.S. and allied air forces assess and enhance their ability to combat enemy air strikes — for national defense as well as in military operations around the globe.

  • The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin fires two SM-2 missiles during Exercise Valiant Shield 2014

    Testimony

    The Role of Maritime and Air Power in the DoD's Third Offset Strategy

    Russia and China have been investing in military modernization programs to blunt the U.S. military's technological edge, fielding advanced aircraft, submarines, and both longer range and more accurate missiles. The DoD's Third Offset Strategy is a much-needed initiative to identify and invest in innovative ways to sustain and advance America's military dominance for the 21st century.

    Dec 2, 2014

  • Northrop Grumman test pilots with arm-mounted controllers after successfully launching a drone combat aircraft on the USS George H. W. Bush, May 14, 2013

    Commentary

    Will U.S. Air Power Work in Iraq?

    There are many key questions regarding deployment of U.S. air power to Iraq to halt the progress of the Islamic State. How effective would it be? Would it cause a lot of civilian casualties? Is air power alone enough to achieve U.S. objectives?

    Jun 18, 2014

  • Report

    Shaking the Heavens and Splitting the Earth: Chinese translation (traditional characters)

    This monograph (translated into traditional Chinese characters) analyzes published Chinese and Western sources about current and future capabilities and employment concepts of the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and provides recommendations about actions that should be taken in response.

    May 6, 2014

  • Chinese naval soldiers stand guard on China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning

    Commentary

    Thoughts on China's New Air Defense Zone Policy

    In response to an inquiry from The Nelson Report, RAND's Scott Harold offered some thoughts on China's new air defense zone policy and how Japan and South Korea could be brought closer together by their respective responses.

    Dec 4, 2013

  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their talks in Tokyo December 3, 2013

    Blog

    No Easy Way Out for China After 'Air Defense Zone' Ratchets Up Tensions

    The ongoing row between China and Japan over a chain of islands in the East China Sea escalated sharply last week when Beijing declared an “air defense zone” over the disputed territory. If China's intention was to force Japan to the negotiating table, Beijing's plan appears to have backfired.

    Dec 4, 2013

  • preflight checks inside an F-35A Lightning II

    Commentary

    Innovation and America's 21st Century Air Force

    Lost in the US defense budget debates are deeper issues about the relationship between the military and American society. In many ways, these issues are especially stark for the Air Force. Can the US Air Force improve this connection?

    Nov 26, 2013

  • Reaper drone

    Event

    Drones

    Drones—robotic, unmanned aerial vehicles used for surveillance—have transformed warfare and are beginning to transform civilian life as well. A RAND Policy Forum will address friendly and unfriendly drones, how they are being used today, who has them, and what other applications indicate cause for concern.

    Sep 25, 2013

  • News Release

    RAND Study Evaluates Airpower Options for Syria Intervention

    There are five options for U.S. and allied military intervention in the Syrian civil war using airpower. Destroying or grounding the Syrian air force is operationally feasible but would have only marginal benefits for protecting civilians.

    Aug 30, 2013

  • 070505-F-4965B-001

    Report

    Airpower Options for Syria Intervention

    An examination of five options for U.S. and allied military intervention in the Syrian civil war using airpower warns that destroying or grounding the Syrian air force is operationally feasible but would have only marginal benefits for protecting civilians.

    Aug 30, 2013

  • PLA soldier plays "Glorious Mission Online" an online game that allows players to defend contested islands in the East China Sea

    Commentary

    U.S., China and an Unthinkable War

    Although the China-U.S. agenda is jammed with pressing issues, time must be found to improve procedures and channels to defuse crises and avert military miscalculation. Political leaders should not wait for a crisis before scrutinizing war-fighting plans and insisting on ones that strengthen, not weaken, stability.

    Aug 26, 2013

  • U.S. Air Force Academy's unmanned Viking 300 aircraft

    Commentary

    Expect More Drone Use Like Recent Israeli Episode

    Practically any country that aspires to an indigenous aviation industry (as most countries do, even if only for national pride) has a reasonably capable, medium-altitude unmanned drone system in development or flying already, writes Ted Harshberger.

    Oct 11, 2012

  • Content

    PAF Publications Make RAND Top 10 Lists

    RAND Project Air Force (PAF) titles were among the top 10 most popular publications at RAND Corporation overall for fiscal year 2011.

    Nov 8, 2011

  • Report

    Upgrading the Extender: Which Options Are Cost-Effective for Modernizing the KC-10?

    The Air Force is considering upgrades to the KC-10 in several areas. An assessment of options to upgrade the KC-10 weighed the costs and potential benefits of the upgrades against demands in different types of operations and KC-10 roles.

    Feb 25, 2011

  • News Release

    Analysis of Chinese Military Doctrine Indicates China Could Pose Serious Challenge to U.S. and Allied Air Forces

    An exhaustive study of Chinese military sources reveals that a future Chinese air force campaign would, under most likely scenarios, seriously test the United States and its allies in a conflict.

    Feb 21, 2011

  • Report

    Analysis of Chinese Military Doctrine Indicates China Could Pose Serious Challenge to U.S. and Allied Air Forces

    An exhaustive study of Chinese military sources reveals that a future Chinese air force campaign would, under most likely scenarios, seriously test the United States and its allies in a conflict.

    Feb 17, 2011

  • Report

    Adding Value to Air Force Management Through Building Partnerships Assessment

    Evaluates existing Air Force capacity to conduct assessments of its security cooperation and building partnerships programs, makes the case for improving assessment efforts, and describes a framework for doing so.

    Dec 17, 2010

  • Report

    Air Power

    Surveys the subject of air power as an area of research in international security studies and provides a bibliography of significant works and useful online resources.

    Aug 4, 2010

  • Report

    United States Air Force Aircraft Fleet Retention Trends: A Historical Analysis

    Provides historical contextual information on the ages of aircraft designs operated by the Air Force.

    Nov 23, 2009

  • Report

    Should the U.S. Air Force Modernize Its Refueling Fleet to Meet Upcoming Mandates?

    The U.S. Air Force's KC-10 air refueling fleet has been in service for 25 years without a major avionics upgrade. Without modernization, the KC-10 will not be in compliance with upcoming air traffic management mandates regulating the minimum allowed communication, navigation, and surveillance capabilities.

    Oct 14, 2009

  • Report

    Assessing Capabilities and Risks in Air Force Programming: Framework, Metrics, and Methods

    A method for capabilities-based programming is developed to assist the programming of a wide range of resources in light of an uncertain future, expressing capabilities and risks of resource allocations in terms of national planning objectives.

    Apr 1, 2009