Rebecca Grant

The air operations of the early 20th century went from being a useful supporting force late in World War I to being “a determining factor” in the planning and execution of operations in World War II. It comes as no surprise, then, that when the radar game began to put the efficiency of air operations in jeopardy, scientists and airmen responded with vigor. The radar game is one that aircraft must play to maintain control of the skies and the freedom to attack and defend. The joint force has counted on their ability to win that game since World War II.
Winning the radar game has been and will remain central to future joint operations. As the US military moves away from decades of planning for a major war in Europe, the national military strategy still calls for the ability to intervene in regional conflicts that will vary in scope and intensity. Intervening on favorable terms will continue to require the air component to take direct and immediate action to control the air and the surface below. Air defense threats have increased throughout the 20th century and will continue to do so in the 21st century. Stealth is no magic panacea, but the edge it offers in the radar game is indispensable. Paired with other advantages from ECM to advanced munitions, the effects of low observables multiply, and will keep the edge of America’s airpower sharp.

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