Building The Air Force We Need To Meet Chinese And Russian Threats

In January, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) released its unclassified assessment of China?s military capabilities, with the telling subtitle: ?Modernizing a Force to Fight and Win.? As DIA director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley explained: ?China is building a robust, lethal force with capabilities spanning the air, maritime, space and information domains which will enable China to impose its will in the region.? He went on to emphasize: ??the PLA [People?s Liberation Army] is on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapons systems in the world. In some areas, it already leads the world.?


Why Marine Aviation Is Leaping Into The Future And Army Aviation Isn’t

During the two difficult decades following the 9-11 attacks, the U.S. Marine Corps transformed its aviation arm. Aging CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters were replaced by far more capable MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors, which combine the vertical agility of a rotorcraft with the speed and range of a fixed-wing plane. Meanwhile, the Marines became the first service to begin operating the F-35 fighter, a multi-role strike aircraft that in the Marine version can land and take off vertically (similar to a helicopter) while remaining invisible to enemy radar.

While these revolutionary developments were unfolding, the U.S. Army tried three times to replace its decrepit fleet of scout helicopters, and each time it failed. The service finally decided to simply retire the fleet even though it had no replacement, turning the armed reconnaissance mission over to heavier Apache attack helicopters — helicopters designed to conduct different missions in wartime.