The Cutting Edge: A Half Century of U.S. Fighter Aircraft R&D

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9780833026071: The Cutting Edge: A Half Century of U.S. Fighter Aircraft R&D

This pictorial history, featuring nearly 40 rare aircraft photos, discusses the major trends in the history of jet fighter design and development in the United States since WWII. With the declining size and experience base of the U.S. military aerospace industry, many worry about the industry's ability to support future military requirements. The authors examine the successes of the past to help shape research and development policies for the future.

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From the Publisher:

This book assesses the major trends in the history of jet-fighter design and development in the United States since World War II in order to evaluate the role of prior fighter and bomber and related research and development (R&D) experience among prime contractors in promoting successful R&D programs. The research is based primarily on open published sources. Thegoal is to assist the U.S. Air Force in developing policies that will preserve the capabilities of the combat aircraft industrial base in an environment of declining budgets and few new program starts. This book builds on earlier RAND research reported in Maintaining Future Military Aircraft Design Capability.[1] This research is part of a larger study effort intended to provide a conceptual framework for analyzing the future of Air Force industrial-base R&D activities. It complements an earlier parallel study on the importance of experience for bomber R&D: Mark Lorell, with Alison Sanders and Hugh Levaux, Bomber R&D Since 1945: The Role of Experience, MR-670-AF, December 1995.Decisionmakers and budget and program planners who are concerned about how the declining size and experience base of the U.S. military aerospace industry may affect the industry's ability to support future programs based on military requirements will find this work helpful. This research should be of interest not only to our sponsor, the U.S. Air Force but also to other government agencies that are responsible for supporting military aerospace R&D as well (Navy, Army, the Defense AdvancedResearch Projects Agency, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration).This research was sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) and the Aeronautical Systems Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. It was performed within the Resource Management and System Acquisition Program of Project AIR FORCE, RAND. Project AIR FORCEProject AIR FORCE, a division of RAND, is the Air Force federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for studies and analyses. It provides the Air Force with independent analyses of policy alternatives affecting the development, employment, combat readiness, and support of current and future aerospace forces. Research is being performed in threeprograms: Strategy and Doctrine, Force Modernization and Employment, and Resource Management and System Acquisition.

About the Author:

Mark Lorell is a senior analyst at RAND in the International Policy Department. He is the author of numerous works on aerospace collaboration and foreign research and development policies.

Levaux is a doctoral fellow at the RAND Graduate School with expertise in the aerospace industry, defense R&D, strategic planning, international trade, and Asia's economic development.

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