Robert F. Haas - Anatomy of a Capabilities Gap. PDF

PDF The Air Force's first stealth fighter has had a long and distinguished service record for our nation providing commanders a then revolutionary capability to fight our nation's wars. The F-117A Nighthawk's traditional mission of knocking down the door for conventional forces to follow will now fall upon other capabilities in the Air Force and other armed services. This paper analyzes and amalgamates available unclassified information covering different aircraft and capabilities currently in the Air Force inventory and those in production. With ever tightening budgets, the Air Force has to make difficult decision, on which programs to discontinue or reduce while keeping a vigilant watch to ensure capabilities do not diminish as it restructures its force. While the B-2 Spirit, F-22A Raptor and AGM-158 JASSM all possess low observable characteristics, an analysis of available unclassified information concludes that there could be a slight capability gap but the risks are not worth the costs to continue operating the F-117A fleet in the future.

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