New aircraft may steal the headlines and pilots may be played by movie stars but it’s the weapons that are going to make the difference, Charlie Clark reports
Without the not-so-humble missile life would be back to the 1950s for all air forces. It is the marriage of pilot with aircraft that produces the lethal machines that we know as fighter jets. The air-to-air missile lacks the presence of the first two – but what are the effects of the third leg of the tripod and the introduction of more capable, but also more expensive ordnance?
The perennial questions about any new weapon are: does it provide better performance than the one it replaces; and does the price allow enough to interpret that advance into a real advantage for the pilots who must use it and allow the necessary stocks to be established?