Modernizing Airpower Projection Capabilities

Future Needs and Options

by Russell D. Shaver, Edward R. Harshberger, Natalie W. Crawford

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In light of the resounding victory in the Persian Gulf War and the strong pressures to reduce military spending, many observers are questioning the need to modernize U.S. airpower. The authors of this issue paper argue that certain airpower systems must be modernized if the United States is to preserve the military capabilities demonstrated in that war. They evaluate existing aircraft and those under development and suggest particular avenues of development. Their recommendations include procuring the F-22, fully funding and integrating an array of air-to-ground weapons, fully funding the bomber roadmap and considering additional measures to improve bomber capabilities, canceling the A/F-X interdiction fighter program, and delaying a decision on the multirole fighter in favor of further study.

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