End of the Road

With the number of new fixed-wing military aircraft projects dwindling down to single digits, the US is on the verge of entering unchartered, risky territory next decade in its defense aerospace sector, says Rebecca Grant, director of the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies. Speaking Oct. 29 in Arlington, Va., on the institute’s new Mitchell Paper, The Vanishing Arsenal of Airpower, Grant said the nation is reaching “the end of the road” in being able to sustain the sector by engaging it with new aircraft projects as has been the model for decades. “The picture is very bleak,” she said. She called for maintaining a “satisfactory nucleus” of aerospace expertise and for the Pentagon to invest in technology not just for the wars of today. She also wants the individual services, as opposed to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, to monitor industrial base health.