The Air Force has a vision of future fighter development that involves buying many different aircraft with limited service lives in small lots. Called the Digital Century Series, it is an attempt to leverage developments like digital engineering to stay ahead of the Chinese. It’s an exciting vision of what recent innovations can enable, but its operational implications are not so enticing. The tactical air fleet that results would be hard to synchronize in wartime, hard to sustain, hard to train pilots for, hard to use in coalition warfare, and hard to build a political base for–which is crucial to maintaining funding. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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