This article emanates from a special publication to mark the 75th anniversary of the USAF and details some of the aircraft that will equip tomorrow’s air force
After two decades of fighting asymmetric counter-insurgency campaigns in the Middle East, the US Air Force must now place a renewed focus on traditional ‘great power’ conflict in the light of growing near-peer threats from Russia and China. There is also a growing long range threat from second tier adversaries such as North Korea and Iran, who are now able to launch ballistic missile attacks against targets thousands of miles away, or complex drone attacks against near neighbours. The changing threat has imposed an urgent requirement for the USAF to evolve, reconfigure and re-equip. Having become used to operating in a largely benign environment, in which it was able to assume total air dominance, the US Air Force now faces a much more complex, congested and heavily contested threat environment, and it will have to adapt its doctrine, tactics and force mix if it is to remain relevant and viable.