Air Superiority, the NASA Way

Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.) aims to fuel and stabilize aeronautics research with legislation he introduced Tuesday. Specifically, the bill calls for NASA to establish five experimental plane programs: a low-boom supersonic aircraft, three subsonic flight programs with each centered around a set of new configuration concepts or technologies, and an unmanned aircraft operations program. The bill also establishes a director for the Pentagon’s joint technology office on hypersonics, and would require the office to coordinate hypersonic programs across the federal government, according to a summary. The Air Force, Navy, and Army would also “expand, intensify, and coordinate” their research of hypersonic technology if Knight’s bill is passed. Dubbed the Aeronautics Innovation Act, Knight said the goal is to restore US “aeronautics to its full potential, which is crucial for our national defense and economic growth,” according to a release. (See also: Hypersonic Weapons Come of Age from the March issue of Air Force Magazine.)