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.

  • News Release

    News Release

    Preliminary Report Suggests Baltimore Aerial Investigation Research Pilot Was Associated with Small Improvements in ...

    A preliminary report about an effort to use aerial surveillance to aid police investigations in Baltimore finds that the effort was associated with small increases in the rate at which police solved serious crimes, but an overall evaluation of the program will require a wider review of citywide police efforts.

    Jan 27, 2021

  • Aerial view of Baltimore, Maryland, photo by Jupiterimages/Getty Images

    Report

    Aerial Investigation Research Pilot Was Associated with Small Improvements in Solving Crimes

    A preliminary report about an effort to use aerial surveillance to aid police investigations in Baltimore finds that it was associated with small increases in the rate at which police solved serious crimes. Making conclusions about the overall effectiveness of the program will require an analysis of citywide crime and policing outcomes.

    Jan 27, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Product Liability and Moral Hazard: Evidence from General Aviation

    We estimate the impact of tort liability on a subset of consumers who have significant control over the probability of an accident: consumers of general aviation aircraft.

    Dec 11, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Trends in U.S. Air Force Aircraft Mishap Rates (1950–2018)

    The authors describe trends in U.S. Air Force aircraft mishap rates and assess the impact of such factors as aircraft age on those rates over time.

    Nov 30, 2020

  • Italian air force F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoons fly in formation over Italy during a training mission, courtesy photo, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

    Report

    European Contributions to NATO's Future Combat Airpower

    European air forces currently have limited capabilities for defending allies in high-intensity conflict. However, Europe's airpower is trending in the right direction, especially with the introduction of fifth-generation aircraft.

    Oct 22, 2020

  • Tool

    Tool

    A Modeling Framework for Optimizing U.S. Air Force Fighter Pilot Access to Advanced Training Ranges

    This tool presents the technical details of an optimization model for the U.S. Air Force to analyze the potential effectiveness of different combinations of range upgrades and squadron restationing to improve access to advanced ranges.

    Sep 24, 2020

  • Senior Airman Colby Cook, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, inspects an F-35A Lightning II before takeoff at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 16, 2017. The F-35A is the Air Force's latest low observable fifth-generation fighter incorporating stealth technology, photo by Naoto Anazawa/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Evaluating Alternative Maintenance Manpower Force Structure Concepts for the F-35A

    The authors of this report evaluate the costs and benefits of maintenance manpower force structures in the U.S. Air Force that merge maintenance career fields in different ways, including alternatives that are being explored by the Air Force today.

    Sep 3, 2020

  • Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jets perform during a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2019 air show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia, August 29, 2019, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Su-57 Heavy Fighter Bomber: Is It Really a Fifth-Generation Aircraft?

    Russia's Su-57 aircraft has been in development since 2002 and is considered a key part of Russia's arms export industry as a fifth-generation fighter. Despite continued Russian efforts to sell the aircraft, it is unlikely that a fully developed and full production–ready Su-57 will be available for sale before the late 2020s.

    Aug 17, 2020

  • A Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile system fires a missile during the International Army Games 2017 outside Astrakhan, Russia, August 5, 2017, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Drone-Era Warfare Shows the Operational Limits of Air Defense Systems

    External powers have intervened in the civil wars in Libya and Syria, supplying advanced conventional weapons that have intensified the conflicts. But not all of the weapons have performed as claimed.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • A U.S. military B1B Lancer on the tarmac of Andersen Air Force base, on the island of Guam, August 17, 2017, photo by Joseph Campbell/Reuters

    Commentary

    Japan and Dynamic Force Employment

    In April, the United States ended a program that maintained a rotational bomber force to the U.S. territory of Guam. While the removal of a permanent bomber presence in the region has caused some in Japan to worry, U.S. commitment to Japan's defense shows no sign of changing nor does America's deterrent capability.

    Jun 23, 2020

  • A Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft performs during the International Army Games 2016, in Dubrovichi outside Ryazan, Russia, August 5, 2016, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Value of Systematic Assessments of Weapons Procurement

    Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and inevitable economic difficulties, national governments should be encouraged to weigh their military requirements in a more cost-effective manner. Countries need to think strategically about the life cycle costs of equipment, not just the original purchase price.

    Jun 8, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Operating Low-Cost, Reusable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Contested Environments: Preliminary Evaluation of Operational Concepts

    The authors of this report summarize early thinking and analysis about how the U.S. Air Force might employ a force of "attritable"—low-cost and reusable—unmanned aerial vehicles in a demanding conventional warfighting scenario.

    May 11, 2020

  • Nine U.S. Coast Guard aircraft sit on a runway at Manassas Regional Airport, June 17, 2016.

    Report

    Meeting U.S. Coast Guard Airpower Needs: Assessing the Options

    Researchers assessed what airpower fleet mixes could best posture the U.S. Coast Guard to execute its various missions globally to meet future operational requirements. This report provides their findings and recommendations.

    Apr 21, 2020

  • Report

    Small Unmanned Aerial System Adversary Capabilities

    It is difficult to detect, identify, classify, and—consequently—counter nefarious small unmanned aerial systems (sUASs), particularly in urban areas. As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security prepares for this potential threat, it will need to know the types of threat scenarios in which these systems could be used, which design elements are likely to be exploited by a nefarious actor, and which technologies and capabilities may be available in the near future.

    Mar 12, 2020

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Coronavirus Outbreak, Drones, the U.S. Power Grid: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the intensifying coronavirus outbreak, cyber threats from drones, the vulnerabilities of the U.S. power grid, and more.

    Mar 6, 2020

  • Drone quadcopter over a background of binary code, photos by Kadmy/Adobe Stock and enot-poloskun/Getty Images; design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Report

    How to Analyze the Cyber Threat from Drones

    Unmanned aerial systems—drones—have become more common, more readily available, and more sophisticated. And they have new capabilities, such as increased data collection and autonomous behavior. Their cybersecurity implications demand a coherent strategy.

    Mar 5, 2020

  • Australian flag waving in blue sky, photo by MicroStockHub/Getty Images

    Commentary

    B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Is Handy, but It May Not Be the Perfect Fit

    Some in the Australian security community have called for significant changes to the Australian Defence Force structure in response to changing global strategic conditions. Before Australia considers any new long-range strike capabilities, an analysis of alternatives that examines both cost and capability is essential.

    Dec 2, 2019

  • Two passengers working in a driverless car, illustration by sorbetto/Getty Images

    Blog

    When Driverless Cars Were a Remote Idea

    Researchers at RAND have been working on the technology behind driverless vehicles for over 50 years. From 1968 to the present, studies have involved remote-controlled drones, military land vehicles, autonomous submarines, and the safety and liability issues of self-driving cars.

    Nov 1, 2019

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    The Syria Withdrawal, Climate Policy, Drones: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the effects of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, one expert's take on climate policy, how drones could help get blood to soldiers who need it, and more.

    Oct 25, 2019

  • A solider using an RQ-11B Raven, a small hand-launched remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle, in 2006, photo by SFC Michael Guillory/U.S. Army

    Report

    Could Autonomous Drones Make Blood Deliveries?

    Blood must be transported and stored in a certain way, and it has a finite shelf life. Unmanned systems offer flexibility in chaotic or uncertain environments. Could autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles make the military's blood supply network more resilient?

    Oct 18, 2019