Naval Air: April 21, 2002


To free up money for new aircraft, the Navy wants to discard its AIM-54 Phoenix missiles. These were invented to deal with Soviet bombers carrying long-range anti-ship missiles; with a range of 100 miles, the Phoenix could keep the Bears, Badgers, and Backfires at bay. But those days are gone, and massive attacks by missile-armed bombers are no longer considered a likely threat. While no money is spent buying more Phoenix missiles, millions are spent on maintenance, testing, and spare parts.--Stephen V Cole


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