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.

  • California Air National guardsmen perform precision water bucket drops near Yosemite

    Commentary

    The Desirability of 'Free' C-27s for the U.S. Forest Service

    Although we believe that a scooper-centric firefighting aircraft portfolio for initial attack would still be preferred, Air Force-provided 1,850-gallon C-27Js could be a cost-effective component of the retardant-bearing portion of the Forest Service's airborne firefighting arsenal, write Edward G. Keating and Daniel M. Norton.

    Sep 6, 2013

  • U.S. helicopter squadron in the Persian Gulf launches an MK-105 Mod 4 Sled

    Commentary

    By Land and by Sea

    There are good reasons for the United States to rethink how it counterbalances Iran, reassures local allies, and projects power with fewer resources. However, tying down large numbers of fighter aircraft in the Gulf is likely only to exacerbate old problems and create new ones.

    Jul 22, 2013

  • Report

    Costs of Flying Units in Air Force Active and Reserve Components

    Presents a methodology for compiling and comparing the costs of operating Air Force active- and reserve-component flying units and discusses how such comparisons can be used to explore force mix alternatives.

    Jul 9, 2013

  • Report

    Crisis Stability and Long-Range Strike: A Comparative Analysis of Fighters, Bombers, and Missiles

    In an international crisis, the United States must balance its threats with restraint while limiting its vulnerability. A RAND study sought to identify which long-range strike assets offer capabilities most conducive to stabilizing such crises.

    Jun 19, 2013

  • Wildfire air tanker

    Commentary

    Firefighting Aircraft: Is Bigger Better?

    An aircraft's capacity and speed largely determine the rate at which water or retardant can be applied to a fire. Very large air tankers (VLATs) certainly have the capacity to apply large amounts of fluids to a fire, but because of the distances travelled they may not be able to get a second load very quickly.

    May 20, 2013

  • An MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft

    Commentary

    Drones Are Useful, but Not the Solution or the Problem

    The effectiveness of our attacks, particularly by drones, has already decimated the al Qaeda hierarchy, writes Harold Brown. That achievement, together with the negative effect on Muslim publics of drone attacks, suggests that the rate of their usage could be moderated.

    May 16, 2013

  • Report

    Maximizing Throughput at Soft Airfields

    Because soft airfields can support only a limited number of takeoffs and landings, it is important to understand how to maximize the cargo throughput at these soft fields. This report shows that there is an optimum landing weight that allows for maximum cargo delivery. This optimum landing weight is constant and independent of both aircraft ramp weight and the ability of the soil to resist compressive loads.

    Apr 23, 2013

  • Report

    Commercial Intratheater Airlift: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Use in U.S. Central Command

    Intratheater airlift delivers critical and time-sensitive supplies to deployed forces, but is it cost effective to use commercial, rather than organic Air Force, aircraft to supply this airlift?

    Apr 8, 2013

  • Nigerian troops march toward an Air Force C-130 Hercules

    Commentary

    The Benefits of U.S. Drones in West Africa

    The establishment of a U.S. base in Niger is intended to facilitate intelligence collection and will provide a more complete picture of militant movements in Niger, Mali, and other countries in the Sahel, writes Seth Jones. The United States will share this intelligence with Malian and French forces.

    Apr 5, 2013

  • Report

    Assessment of Beddown Alternatives for the F-35 - Executive Summary

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most costly aircraft acquisition program in Defense Department history. RAND assessed the potential for savings by reconfiguring the U.S. Air Force's combat-coded F-35s into larger squadrons, adjusting the Primary Aerospace Vehicle Authorized (PAA) mix across the Active and Reserve Components, and adjusting the percentage of PAA permanently assigned to locations in the continental United States.

    Apr 3, 2013

  • Report

    Reducing Long-Term Costs While Preserving a Robust Strategic Airlift Fleet: Options for the Current Fleet and Next-Generation Aircraft

    The current strategic airlift fleet will be reaching the end of its service life in the next few decades, which has raised concerns about the cost and possible budget spike that would result from the need to recapitalize that fleet. This monograph presents the results of a cost-effectiveness analysis to determine the best way to recapitalize the USAF intertheater (strategic) airlift fleet.

    Jan 31, 2013

  • Report

    Modernizing the Mobility Air Force for Tomorrow's Air Traffic Management System

    Building on RAND work examining the cost-effectiveness of modernizing the U.S. Air Force's KC-10 aerial refueling tanker to comply with airspace modernization mandates, this study extended the analysis to the C-5, C-17, C-130, and KC-135 fleets.

    Dec 6, 2012

  • Dissertation

    Expanding the Use of Time/Frequency Difference of Arrival Geolocation in the Department of Defense

    Explores an area in which the Department of Defense can operate smarter with its proliferating unmanned aircraft systems fleet.

    Nov 12, 2012

  • U.S. Air Force Academy's unmanned Viking 300 aircraft

    Commentary

    Expect More Drone Use Like Recent Israeli Episode

    Practically any country that aspires to an indigenous aviation industry (as most countries do, even if only for national pride) has a reasonably capable, medium-altitude unmanned drone system in development or flying already, writes Ted Harshberger.

    Oct 11, 2012

  • Report

    Naval Aviation Budgeting: Cost Adjustment Sheets and the Flying Hour Program

    RAND assessed the contribution of Cost Adjustment Sheets (CASs) to the accuracy of Navy's Flying Hour Program budgets, whether CAS usage is correlated with expenditure-per-flying-hour growth, and why CASs have been used more by the F/A-18 program.

    Oct 4, 2012

  • Drone recovery demonstration

    Commentary

    Drone Strikes Keep Pressure on al-Qaida

    Recently declassified correspondence seized in the bin Laden raid shows that the relentless pressure from the drone campaign on al-Qaida in Pakistan led bin Laden to advise al-Qaida operatives to leave Pakistan's Tribal Areas as no longer safe, writes Patrick B. Johnston.

    Aug 22, 2012

  • News Release

    U.S. Forest Service Should Consider a Different Mix of Aircraft to Fight Wildfires

    The U.S. Forest Service should upgrade its large airborne firefighting fleet to include more amphibious scooper aircraft, with air tankers and helicopters in a supporting role during the initial attack of fires before they become large.

    Jul 30, 2012

  • amphibious aircraft

    Report

    U.S. Forest Service Should Consider a Different Mix of Aircraft to Fight Wildfires

    The U.S. Forest Service should upgrade its large airborne firefighting fleet to include more amphibious scooper aircraft, with air tankers and helicopters in a supporting role during the initial attack of fires before they become large.

    Jul 30, 2012

  • Research Brief

    Identifying a Cost-Effective Aviation Fleet for the U.S. Forest Service

    This brief provides an overview of a RAND study to support the U.S. Forest Service in determining the composition of a fleet of airtankers, scoopers, and helicopters that would minimize the total social costs of wildfires.

    Jul 30, 2012

  • News Release

    U.S. Military's Role with Petroleum Is to Assure Security

    Energy purchases made by the U.S. Department of Defense do not influence world oil prices, making cutting fuel use the only effective choice to reduce what the Pentagon spends on petroleum fuels.

    Jun 19, 2012