Aircraft

Research insights into aircraft selection and maintenance, crew training, test facilities, and airspace access are valuable to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and U.S. and allied air forces. RAND studies have also examined military air power and aerospace industry issues.

  • Report

    Toppling the Taliban: Air-Ground Operations in Afghanistan, October 2001–June 2002

    This report describes the preparations for Operation Enduring Freedom, Army operations and support activities, coalition issues, and civil-military operations in Afghanistan from October 2001 through June 2002.

    Jan 4, 2016

  • Twelve KC-135 Stratotankers from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron taxi onto the runway during exercise Forceful Tiger on Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 1, 2015

    Report

    Metrics to Compare Aircraft Operating and Support Costs in the Department of Defense

    This report examines several issues associated with the cost-per-flying-hour (CPFH) metric used in the Department of Defense (DoD), including its use to compare operating and support costs of different aircraft.

    Dec 22, 2015

  • Dissertation

    Improving the Cost Efficiency and Readiness of MC-130 Aircrew Training: A Case Study

    Examines the respective effects on costs and readiness of existing and potential MC-130 aircrew continuation training policies.

    Dec 18, 2015

  • A 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief marshals a B-2A Spirit bomber during an orientation flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 27, 2015

    Commentary

    Inside the Fish Bowl: High Stakes Acquisition Protests

    The Boeing-Lockheed Martin team filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office asserting that the U.S. Air Force's selection of Northrop Grumman to build the Long Range Strike-Bomber was fundamentally flawed. Work on the program, valued at approximately $80 billion, is now paused.

    Dec 3, 2015

  • Report

    Reducing Air Force Fighter Pilot Shortages

    Examines potential paths for overcoming the persistent and critical shortage of fighter pilots that the Air Force has faced over the past several decades.

    Nov 24, 2015

  • Dissertation

    Improving Standoff Bombing Capacity in the Face of Anti-Access Area Denial Threats

    Addresses the issue of standoff capacity in anti-access/area denial environments using a cost-effectiveness methodology.

    Nov 20, 2015

  • Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail (right) listens to rescue workers as he looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai, north Egypt, October 31, 2015

    Commentary

    Passing Judgment on Russian Plane Crash Before the Facts Are In

    A bright flash and catastrophic event suggest an explosion, but do not necessarily exclude the possibility of a mechanical failure. This would not, in fact, be the first time evidence pointed to a terrorist attack when none existed.

    Nov 12, 2015

  • Shira Efron presenting at a Pardee Initiative lunch on May 21, 2015

    Dissertation

    The Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Agriculture in Africa: Can It Fly?

    Examines the feasibility of adopting agricultural unmanned aerial systems in Africa.

    Nov 11, 2015

  • Report

    Rescuing Downed Aircrews: The Value of Time

    This report describes research to quantify the "rescuability window" of downed aircrews to assist the U.S. Air Force's reassessment of its personnel recovery force structure.

    Nov 9, 2015

  • Staff raise Pakistan's flag in front of the Great Hall of the People ahead of a welcome ceremony for Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Beijing, July 5, 2013

    Commentary

    Pakistan and China's Almost Alliance

    Policymakers in the United States and throughout Asia should take note of why the Sino-Pakistani relationship has endured for so long, what each partner gets from the other, and what inherent limitations prevent the union from developing into a true alliance.

    Oct 16, 2015

  • Men search for survivors at a site hit by shelling in Damascus, Syria, June 16, 2015

    Commentary

    A No-Fly Zone Over Syria: Q&A with Karl Mueller

    Some are advocating a no-fly zone in Syria to protect civilians from both ISIS and forces loyal to Assad. What constraints complicate establishing a no-fly zone and realizing its expected benefits? And how might Assad supporters, such as Russia, respond?

    Oct 15, 2015

  • The KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft takes off on its maiden flight from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, December 28, 2014

    Commentary

    Lessons from the Past for the Future of the KC-46A

    Analysis suggests that fixed-price contracts have not successfully reduced costs to the DoD associated with developing complex weapon systems. This has implications for the Air Force, given the importance of the ongoing KC-46A program.

    Sep 16, 2015

  • The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, en route to the Western Pacific Ocean

    Research Brief

    Chinese Threats to U.S. Surface Ships

    China has rapidly improved its ability to reliably locate and attack U.S. carrier-strike groups at distances of up to 2,000 kilometers from its coast in a possible military conflict.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • U.S and Korean fighter aircraft fly above Jik-Do Island near South Korea, August 14, 2013

    Research Brief

    U.S. and Chinese Air Superiority Capabilities

    The United States maintains unparalleled air-to-air capabilities. But the modernization of Chinese air forces, combined with the difficulties of operating over long distances in Asia, would make it more and more challenging for the United States to gain air superiority during the beginning of a possible conflict with China.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • A boy waves his U.S. flag as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds fly in the diamond formation during an Aviation Nation airshow at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Nov. 10, 2012

    Report

    American Public Opinion of Airpower Over the Past Century

    Americans today do not view airpower or the Air Force with the same fascination and enthusiasm that they did during the “golden age” of aviation, but shortcomings in Air Force narratives are not to blame. Airpower's enormous social currency during the first half of the 20th century was due to real-world events and technological advances, not narratives.

    Jul 17, 2015

  • A Belgian Air Force F-16 over Ghardabiya Air Base, Libya, April 29, 2011

    Report

    Airpower in the Libyan Civil War

    In 2011, a coalition of nations waged a war against Muammar Qaddafi's regime that reversed the tide of Libya's civil war. The intervention's central element was a relatively small air campaign. What lessons did each nation glean from the experience?

    Jul 8, 2015

  • C-17 Globemaster IIIs sit on the flight line at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in preparation for six-ship formation testing

    Report

    Tankering Fuel on U.S. Air Force Transport Aircraft

    Tankering fuel involves carrying excess fuel when flying from origins where fuel is less expensive than at the destination. Would this practice generate cost savings if used on U.S. Air Force transport aircraft?

    Jun 23, 2015

  • Service members train with the Shadow remotely piloted aircraft system, Feb. 6, 2014

    Report

    Air National Guard Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Domestic Missions

    Air National Guard remotely piloted aircraft — or drones — may be useful in responding to a variety of domestic threats and potential emergencies. However, there are congressional concerns, as well as operational and policy constraints to be addressed.

    Jun 22, 2015

  • A precision-guided missile was fired during its first test-fire outside of the United States, near Tikrit, Iraq

    Report

    Comparing U.S. Army Systems with Foreign Counterparts

    To address possible capability gaps in its systems, the U.S. Army should examine options for countering long-range rockets, support research and development in robotics, consider approaches to lighten the loads for infantrymen, and examine the need for a new specialized manned reconnaissance aircraft.

    May 13, 2015

  • A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III taxis to its parking spot Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 25, 2012

    Commentary

    Peacetime Fuel 'Tankering' Could Save $25 Million Per Year

    Fuel tankering is carrying excess fuel on an aircraft when flying from origins where fuel is less expensive than at the destination. Tankering fuel to a conflict zone like Afghanistan is almost always cost-effective, but the story is more complex elsewhere due to how fuel is purchased and resold within the DoD itself.

    May 4, 2015