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Setting the Stage

Setting the Stage

Impact of New Aircraft on Training

(p.83) 4 Setting the Stage
The Air Force Way of War
Brian D. Laslie
University Press of Kentucky

Chapter 4 examines the development of new aircraft. It also details how new technologies were incorporated into training exercises. As the training revolution was beginning, the air force was procuring new aircraft and systems with special new technologies. The new technologies forced the training exercises to become even more realistic and to increase threat levels to keep pace with advancements in the aircraft. One of the most contentious issues that arose from the Vietnam experience was the air force’s perceived lack of interest in performing close air support (CAS). This spurred the creation of the A-10. The A-10 quickly found a place in specifically designed Red Flag and other exercises that focused exclusively on the CAS mission. The post–Vietnam era also saw the procurement of “advanced fighters.” The F-15 and F-16 became complementary systems that functioned in tandem at Red Flag exercises and blended advanced technologies (radar and missiles) with advanced training techniques to produce a combat air force prepared to face either the Soviets or their proxies. Chapter 4 demonstrates that the stealth technology also altered more traditional uses of air power and provided the TAC with a powerful weapon that could destroy Soviet air defense systems.

Keywords:   Stealth, Close air support, F-15, F-117, A-10, Military reformers

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