U.S. Air Force leaders strategize to keep older aircraft viable with modest funding.
The U.S. Air Force’s toughest opponent in its mission to maintain air supremacy may be the march of time. Its aircraft are flying more hours and serving well past their original service lifetimes, and new network-centric operations are impelling technology upgrade across all wings.
During the Reagan administration, aerospace was one of the major focuses of the U.S. Defense Department. But by the end of the 1980s, information technology had taken center stage. The aerospace industry had to adjust to shrinking defense investments and to a changing, information-technology-focused economy.