Measuring Technological Change in Jet Fighter Aircraft

by William Stanley, Michael D. Miller

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Develops technique to characterize level of and change in jet fighter air vehicle technology. It complements other methods used to assess technological risks of new fighter concepts and to compare U.S. and foreign fighter technology. The technique uses multiple regression to relate time of appearance of an aircraft design to its level of technology. Resulting expressions measure performance consequences of technological advance in terms of such parameters as specific power, sustained load factor, Breguet range, and payload fraction. Measured in these terms, the rate of advance of U.S. fighter air vehicle technology is declining. The monetary cost of increasing the rate of advance could be very high. In the future, designers will have to balance increasingly difficult improvements in air vehicle technology against improvements in other technologies (such as avionics or armament) that also enhance combat effectiveness.

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