Light-attack aircraft is the solution to the US Air Force?s dwindling fleet

America?s Air Force faces a serious challenge ? a mismatch between available capacity and demand. As Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson recently explained in congressional testimony: ?We are too small for what the nation is asking us to do.? Since the end of the Cold War, the service has grown radically smaller through a series of force-structure cuts. In 1990, the Air Force had 2,893 fighter aircraft. Today, it has just 1,755. Bombers fell from 661 to a mere 157 in the same period.

At the same time, the national security environment is growing increasingly complex, with Russia and China asserting themselves on the high end of the war-fighting spectrum. North Korea possesses nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and Iran is not far behind. Nonstate actors such as the Islamic State, al-Shabab, and al-Qaida continue to pose threats.