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The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is under consideration by the Joint Advanced Strike Technology Program to replace the most numerous fighter aircraft in the Air Force inventory, the F-16. The analysis in this report examines key affordability and mission needs issues for the JSF and is tailored to support the Air Force in developing a Mission Needs Statement and Operational Requirements Document and in evaluating contractor studies. The analysis finds that future budget constraints will doubtless limit options for the JSF, but that an aircraft with a combat radius of 650 n mi, moderate stealth, and a turn rate similar to that of today's multirole aircraft will probably meet most triservice needs in future regional conflicts.

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This work was done in the Aero-Systems Modernization Project, part of the ForceModernization and Employment Program of RAND's Project AIR FORCE. It was sponsored by the DCS/Plans and Operations, Headquarters, USAF, and DCS/Requirements, Headquarters, Air Combat Command.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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