Military Equipment


Cost growth in the development and fielding of technologically advanced military equipment has become a major economic burden for many nations and is expected to be an enduring and prevalent problem. RAND research has provided cost analyses and recommendations to help policymakers and military leaders develop improved cost-estimating tools and formulate policies that mitigate cost growth in weapon system acquisition practices.

  • Commentary

    Weighing the Cost and Necessity of Nuclear Modernization

    The United States has fielded a Triad of air-, sea-, and land-based nuclear delivery systems since the 1950s. Major components are nearing the end of their service lives, raising the question of whether to extend or replace them. Meanwhile, Russia and China continue to modernize, diversify, and expand their nuclear arsenals.

    Jan 3, 2022

  • Report

    How to Effectively Assess the Impact of Non-Lethal Weapons as Intermediate Force Capabilities

    The U.S Department of Defense needs to be able to assess the tactical, operational, and strategic impact of non-lethal weapons to inform how and when they should be used and their integration into overall DoD capabilities. How do non-lethal weapons contribute to overarching DoD goals?

    Jan 18, 2022

Explore Military Equipment

  • A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft flies in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, April 27, 2023, photo by EyePress News/Reuters


    The Uncounted Losses to Russia's Air Force

    The Russians have burned through more of the expected life span of their aircraft more quickly than anticipated. To make up for it, they'll have to procure more aircraft, increase maintenance, reduce operations, or accept a smaller force—or some combination of those.

    Aug 14, 2023

  • A military sapper picks up unexploded parts of a cluster bomb left after Russia's invasion near the village of Motyzhyn, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 10, 2022, photo by Stringer/Reuters


    Why Biden Was Justified to Send Cluster Munitions to Ukraine

    The U.S. decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine—and the ensuing controversy—are reflective of a broader and long-standing question: What means are moral in war? While much has been made of the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance from these weapons, there are strong arguments for providing them to Ukraine.

    Aug 14, 2023

  • Electronic warfare technicians Staff Sgt. Caleb Bowman (l) and Airman 1st Class Chance Wedgeworth push an AN/ALQ-131 electronic countermeasures pod out of their workshop at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 3, 2022, photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson Elleman/U.S. Air Force


    Why DoD Needs Greater Focus on Nonlethal Weapons, Intermediate Force Capabilities

    Nonlethal weapons do not entail the firing of projectiles, the detonation of explosives, or even the use of edged weapons with blades. Their effects are more subtle, though no less powerful for that. But the effects of these systems, and their impact on overall military capabilities, are often underestimated or misunderstood.

    Aug 8, 2023

  • An M10 Booker combat vehicle, U.S. Army photo


    Do Generals Dream of Electric Tanks?

    Members of the House Armed Services Committee have expressed concerns over the electrification of Army combat vehicles. Though such concerns have some merit, there is also a larger issue motivating research and development efforts—the growing demand for energy on the battlefield.

    Aug 8, 2023

  • U.S. Navy sailors recover a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, February 5, 2023, U.S. Navy photo via EyePress News/Reuters


    UFOs Are Not the Only Potential Threat in American Skies

    How can the United States best monitor its millions of square miles of domestic airspace for unidentified anomalous phenomena—what were once called UFOs—or anything else? Public reporting could help officials identify potential threats—but it'd help if the sightings being reported were actually unknown aerial phenomena and not U.S. military aircraft.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • A drone or other object in the sky during a colorful sunset, photo by Наталья Босяк/Adobe Stock


    Where Are Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Sightings in the United States?

    The February 2023 Chinese surveillance balloon incident raised questions about the degree to which the U.S. government knows who is flying what over its skies. Public reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena may help officials identify potential threats.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group sails in formation with NATO ships during an integrated sailing event as part of Neptune Strike, July 11, 2023, photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Mattingly/U.S. Department of Defense


    How to Reverse the Erosion of U.S. and Allied Military Power and Influence

    Sustained, coordinated efforts by the United States and its allies are necessary to deter and defeat modern threats, including those posed by Russia and China. What gaps do U.S. and allied forces have to fill to successfully meet this challenge?

    Jul 25, 2023

  • Report


    Review of Reserve Component Activation Data Quality

    In this report, the authors quantify the frequency of errors in reserve component (RC) activation data, discuss the potential sources of each type of error, and estimate the potential impact of these errors on RC member benefits.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • A Kitty Hawk electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft


    Department of Defense Considerations for Leveraging Commercially Developed Emerging Technologies: Preliminary Insights from Advanced Air Mobility

    This report provides preliminary insights from a project to assess advanced air mobility (AAM) developments, the potential for AAM to support military missions, and the implications of AAM commercial markets for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

    Jul 18, 2023

  • U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Caitlyn Stewart helps load cargo onto a pallet on San Andres Island, Colombia


    Assessing Technology Platforms for Global Health Engagement to Support Integration of Efforts Across Geographic Combatant Commands

    The authors assess the technology and process requirements to support the life cycle of global health engagement (GHE) activities and assessments — from planning to evaluation — and the information- and knowledge-sharing needs of the GHE community.

    Jul 11, 2023

  • Chinese-built Thai Navy frigate HTMS Taksin moored at Sattahip Naval Base, Thailand, October 8, 2019, <a href=


    Russia's War in Ukraine Could Reshape the Global Arms Market in Favor of China

    The war in Ukraine is straining Russia's defense production, which is having downstream effects on Moscow's ability to export arms. China has the opportunity, the incentive, and the capacity to gain from Russia's losses. As Russia relinquishes more of its share of the global arms market, there is not much standing in the way of China's success.

    Jul 10, 2023

  • An XQ-58A Valkyrie low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle launches at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, December 9, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua King/U.S. Air Force


    Is the Warning Clock on Our National Defense Running Out?

    The United States has never invoked a ten-year rule regarding preparations for long-term military competition with China, as Great Britain did after World War I. But there have been times when the United States has behaved as if such a rule were in place.

    Jul 10, 2023

  • Taiwanese Army service members control a drone during a drill in Taiwan, January 12, 2023, photo by Taiwan Ministry of National Defense handout via EYEPRESS/Reuters


    Can Cheap Drones Be the Answer to Tensions in the Taiwan Strait?

    The more we learn about the war in Ukraine, the more we come to know that drones will play an increasingly important role on the modern battlefield. But how is the U.S. military thinking about what role these aircraft might play in future wars? When paired with modern sensors, could they offer an asymmetric advantage in future competitions?

    Jun 29, 2023

  • An LRAD area denial weapon on the USS New Orleans (LPD 18)


    Assessing the Impact of Diverse Intermediate Force Capabilities and Integrating Them into Wargames for the U.S. Department of Defense and NATO

    The authors of this report describe how to measure the impact of intermediate force capabilities (IFCs), which cause less-than-lethal effects, and how to better integrate them into wargaming, modeling, and simulation for U.S. and NATO-wide forces.

    Jun 27, 2023

  • A Navy Research Laboratory unmanned surface vehicle near Panama Beach, Florida, November 9, 2020, photo by U.S. Naval Research Laboratory


    Revive the Ram

    In the face of aggressive maneuvers by Chinese vessels, the U.S. Navy can brandish ramming unmanned surface vessels as a capability to inhibit threats while limiting the risk of escalation. These relatively simple, inexpensive vehicles could be used alongside a variety of nonlethal weapons to manage confrontations, giving commanders more options.

    Jun 22, 2023

  • Bolivian soldiers stand next to military vehicles received by Bolivian Armed Forces from the Chinese government in La Paz, Bolivia, July 29, 2016, photo by Bolivian Information Agency/Handout via Reuters


    Countries Buy Defective Chinese Military Equipment. Why?

    China's defense industry has exported malfunctioning and defective military equipment in recent years—leaving countries short of what's needed for their security while also draining military budgets. So why do countries continue to order military equipment from China?

    Jun 8, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Invisible Blockades and Strategic Coercion

    The use of naval mines goes back more than two centuries, but the use of these weapons by both Russia and Ukraine has renewed discussion about the value of this technology for modern warfare.

    Jun 7, 2023

  • An F-16 Fighting Falcon flies during a mission at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, February 14, 2019, photo by Staff Sgt. John Raven/U.S. Air Force


    What Is the Long-Term Strategy for Ukraine's Air Force?

    It is encouraging that Ukraine might receive F-16s to improve its combat capabilities. Western policymakers might begin thinking now about what the Ukrainian Air Force may require in the future, especially if the Russian threat remains acute.

    Jun 6, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Arming Teachers, F-16s in Ukraine, Commercial Spaceflight: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how teachers feel about arming teachers, what F-16s will (and won't) do for Ukraine, the need to regulate commercial spaceflight, and more.

    Jun 2, 2023

  • Three U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons fly over the Pacific Ocean, February 10, 2022, photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lotz/U.S. Air Force


    What F-16s Will (and Won't) Do for Ukraine

    After months of publicly lobbying to acquire U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets, it appears that Ukraine may receive them later this year. However, there remains a long road ahead before the F-16s would see service in Ukraine—and it is an open question how much they would affect the outcome of the war.

    May 31, 2023