While politics and popular media divide opinion on the F-35, the US Air Force is quietly and confidently getting on with the job of developing its lethality. At the center of this effort is the Weapons School at Nellis AFB, as it trains elite ‘Panther’ instructors.

Four instructors from the 6th WPS pause for a photo before heading into debrief. The pilots get to and from the flight line via large golf buggies.

THE US MILITARY’S global presence immediately characterizes the sheer size and scale of America’s armed forces, which have for the past 70 years dwarfed any other. Yet, since the end of the Cold War, their numbers have continually dwindled. The US has still managed to maintain its top-end capabilities — the world’s greatest equipment, the best-trained operators — but such a vast inventory comes at a high price. There has been a growing acknowledgement that the US Air Force, for example, is relying on ageing aircraft feet s that are, in many cases, prohibitively expensive to renew.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below