Warplanes: April 28, 2000


The Air Force will probably designate the Boeing Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle as the X-45. The trick is that the Air Force wants two wings of the unmanned planes (designed to attack the most dangerous targets) but doesn't want to give up two wings of manned attack planes to get them. The Air Force is limited to 20 combat wings by Congressional budget limits. The solution, at least in the eyes of the Air Force, is to designate the X-45s as defense suppression aircraft, since this type (EF111, EA6B, F4G) doesn't count as a tactical bomber even though it carries air-to-ground weapons.--Stephen V Cole


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