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.

  • 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

    Q&A

    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

  • 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

  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement regarding a January counterterrorism operation that accidentally killed two aid workers held hostage by al Qaeda, April 23, 2015

    Commentary

    The Death of Hostages and High-Flying Illusions

    Risk is unavoidable in fighting war or terrorism. Soldiers are sometimes felled by friendly fire, and civilians ostensibly on the sidelines become accidental targets. It is unrealistic to believe that such tragedies can always be prevented. Risks can be reduced but never entirely eliminated.

    May 4, 2015

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: May-June 2015

    This issue of RAND Review reports on smart-grid technologies, the nuclear deal with Iran, the education crisis among Syrian children, diversity in the biomedical scientific workforce, and recent philanthropic gifts to RAND.

    May 4, 2015

  • Report

    Fuel Reduction for the Mobility Air Forces: Executive Summary

    Reducing aviation fuel use is an ongoing goal for military and civil operators, and Air Mobility Command is feeling increasing pressure to further reduce fuel use by implementing and following known best practices.

    Mar 24, 2015

  • Senior Airmen Derek Wilson, foreground, and Noah Lazurka sample the fuel from a tank Feb. 11, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. Laboratory technicians test all fuel upon receipt, and at various other scheduled intervals. Wilson and Lazurka are both 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels laboratory technicians

    Report

    Fuel Reduction for the Mobility Air Forces

    Reducing aviation fuel use is an ongoing goal for military and civil operators, and Air Mobility Command is feeling increasing pressure to further reduce fuel use by implementing and following known best practices.

    Mar 24, 2015

  • Dissertation

    Enhancing the Assessment of the Costs and Benefits of International Pilot Training (IPT) Within the U.S. Air Force: Is It Worth It?

    Provides a perspective on valuing the total monetary cost and the operational monetary and nonmonetary benefits of international pilot training that have not been explored previously.

    Mar 18, 2015

  • A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor flying at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

    Commentary

    Where Commonality Can Work in a Sixth-Gen Fighter

    The DoD plans to fund a Darpa-Air Force-Navy technology demonstration program aimed at developing critical sixth-generation fighter capabilities. It's a sign that the Pentagon is adopting a cost-effective strategy but it will need to remain vigilant to avoid the pitfalls that have caused previous joint fighter programs to fall short of hoped-for cost savings and to accept unwelcome design compromises.

    Mar 13, 2015

  • A drone operated by paramilitary police flies over the site of explosions at Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 17, 2015

    Report

    Emerging Trends in China's Development of Unmanned Systems

    An exploratory analysis of China's development and use of unmanned systems focuses on maritime unmanned systems, the roles China sees for them, Chinese development of unmanned vehicles, and uses for such systems in the East and South China Seas.

    Mar 12, 2015

  • MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial attack vehicle in flight

    Multimedia

    The Use of Long-Range Armed Drones: Fact v. Myth

    In this March 2015 Congressional Briefing, a panel of RAND experts discuss the effect of armed drones on global warfare, whether U.S. policy on armed drones shapes the way other nations deploy them, and the sale of armed drones to allies.

    Mar 3, 2015

  • Afghan National Army commandos board an Afghan National Air Force MI-17 helicopter at a landing zone near Camp Lawton, in Herat province, Afghanistan

    Report

    Cost-Effective Helicopter Options for Partner Nations

    Department of Defense assistance to partner nations entails supporting helicopter fleets, often composed of outdated and difficult-to-service equipment. What is the cost-effectiveness of migrating partner nation fleets to alternative aircraft?

    Mar 2, 2015

  • An MQ-9 Reaper sits on a ramp in Afghanistan

    Commentary

    Armed Drone Myth 3: Global Proliferation Demands Blanket Restrictions on Sales

    More than 70 countries have acquired drones of different classes and for different purposes. However, the number of countries actually developing “armed” drones is far smaller. And smaller still is the number of those countries developing long-range armed systems.

    Feb 19, 2015

  • Illustration of idea, solution, and money

    Commentary

    Managing Technology in an Unmanageable World

    The need for purposeful and focused R&D in the U.S. has never been greater, but technology is advancing so quickly that the structures available to manage it have not kept pace. A comprehensive examination of the technological landscape is needed to help the government take a more holistic approach to investing in and regulating technologies.

    Feb 19, 2015