Author Archives: Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D

Why Foreign Military Sales Are Always Worth Less Than The Published Number (From Forbes) Arms sales to overseas partners are a major tool of U.S. foreign policy, but getting a clear picture of what deals are worth is not easy.  The number that usually gets cited in media accounts is the congressional notification figure, [Read More...]
Rocket Motors May Provide An Early Test Of Trump Industrial Policy — And Air Force Space Plans (From Forbes) In August, the Air Force awarded competing development contracts to Boeing and Northrop Grumman for the design of a successor to the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.  The program is crucial to maintaining America’s nuclear deterrent through mid-century, but the [Read More...]
Pratt & Whitney Finds Fixes For India’s Geared Turbofans As Engine Production Ramps Up (From Forbes) Pratt & Whitney’s breakthrough geared turbofan engine has encountered some modest turbulence during its introduction into the Indian market, thanks to premature wear on two engine parts.  Because the parts need to be replaced in repair shops and there aren’t [Read More...]
Rethinking Radar Plane Recap: Will The Air Force Let The Army Down Again? (From Forbes) After spending $265 million developing a replacement for the vital Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System — JSTARS — Air Force leaders suddenly have decided to rethink the whole effort. They want to do yet another analysis of alternatives [Read More...]
America’s Homeland Missile Defense System Is Much More Effective Than Critics Claim (From Forbes) As the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program to the U.S. homeland increases, critics of missile defense are dredging up outdated arguments about why Washington can’t protect the public.  They say that the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, which was conceived [Read More...]
Easing The Pacific Fleet’s ISR Burden (From RealClearDefense) The U.S. Seventh Fleet has a yawning gap in its reconnaissance capabilities.  It can’t see many types of surface threats in sufficient detail to track and target them without putting U.S. warfighters at risk.  What it needs is an airborne  [Read More...]
How The Air Force’s New KC-46 Tanker Could Become A Hundred-Year Franchise For Boeing (From Forbes) In 2011, Boeing won a contract from the Air Force to develop a next-generation aerial refueling tanker subsequently designated the KC-46 Pegasus.  With most of the developmental risk now retired, the program is turning into a smashing success.  The Government [Read More...]
A Dozen Reasons Why Small Aircraft Carriers Don’t Make Much Sense (from Forbes) As the Navy begins transitioning from its Nimitz-class aircraft carriers to the more capable Ford class, some critics are reviving an old debate about the supposed virtues of smaller carriers.  Like Nimitz, the Ford class displaces about 100,000 tons of [Read More...]
Back On A War Footing: Five Capabilities The Army Must Have In A Decade (From Army Magazine) The U.S. Army is rethinking its warfighting priorities in light of new threats posed by Russia and other potential near-peer enemies.  There isn’t much that the service can do in the near term to alter the balance of forces in [Read More...]
What A Single North Korean Nuclear Warhead Could Do To Los Angeles (From Forbes) As North Korea rapidly completes assembling all the pieces of a long-range nuclear arsenal capable of striking America, Los Angeles stands out as an obvious target.  Pyongyang wants to hold high-value U.S. assets at risk to deter efforts at removing [Read More...]
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