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Do Diminishing Air-fleets Equate Diminishing Fire-power


It has been over 40 years since the president of Martin Marietta has published his famous laws, the most famous of which is that “In the year 2054, the entire defence budget will purchase just one aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy 3-1/2 days each per week except for leap year, when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.”

In this seminar, we will examine how well this prediction holds up, for both the U.S., and militaries of smaller countries. I will attempt to show that air-fleets, where they shrink, do so as a result of political will more than actual incapability to fund future aircraft.

The second part of seminar will deal with the main operational "output" of fighter aircraft, namely "firepower". We will examine some definitions of firepower, and ask:

  1. What firepower do we have?
  2. What firepower do we need? What is the right mix of firepower types we need?
  3. How to get there?

In terms of attrition rates of targets, firepower has been increasing rapidly over the past 30 years. But the continuing technological advancements spell trouble for the future of aerial firepower. On the one hand, air-defence systems are continuously improving and proliferating, reducing the efficiency of future aerial raids. On the other hand, surface launched systems such as missile and drones are becoming a competitively priced replacement for some of the potential targets. These trends will make it easier for decision-makers to reduce their fighter fleets and base the military overall firepower on a more balanced portfolio.

Learning Outcome

Course Outline

Who Should Attend

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 Dr. Ittai Avital

Dr. Ittai Avital

Dr. Ittai Avital served over 25 years in the Israel Defence Forces, retired in 2019 as the Head of the Center for Systems Analysis at the rank of colonel. He has actively supported many decision-making processes across various areas of the military planning, spanning all services. During his military service, he joined the first cohort of MDTS, and earned his PhD in Operations Research (OR) from the Naval Postgraduate School in the U.S. Dr. Avital now works at SolarEdge, a world leader in photovoltaic power manufacturing, as the Director of advanced planning. Dr. Avital is also a faculty member of the Temasek Defence Systems Institute (TDSI), and teaches the military aspects of introduction to OR in TDSI Master of Defence Technology and Systems (MDTS) programme.



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