The sky is no longer the limit: United States Air Force jet fighter development between the Korean and Vietnam Wars
AffiliationSchool of Social, Historical and Political Studies, Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences
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AbstractThis thesis addresses significant weaknesses and gaps in the existing literature on USAF jet fighter development between the Korean and the Vietnam Wars. It examines USAF thinking by analyzing and explaining more completely the factors underpinning and shaping the development of US jet fighters in the period between 1951 and 1965. This is accomplished by analyzing and explaining: 1. The defense problem the USAF identified that triggered the development of jet fighters 2. The USAF response to this problem 3. The alternatives to jet fighters the USAF developed to apply this response 4. The key elements the USAF considered essential for jet fighters to effectively apply this response This thesis demonstrates that although the development of tactical jet fighters was underpinned by the development of Soviet jet fighters, other elements of the Soviet Bloc’s air defense system and all types of tactical aircraft involved in tactical operations also shaped USAF jet fighter development. Moreover, this research reveals that the development of a flexible response and commonality were already part of the USAF’s culture before it became an official policy of the administration of John F. Kennedy. Furthermore, it validates the major contribution of flexible response to the development of tactical jet fighters, but demonstrates it was also the result of an evolution of the USAF’s analysis of Soviet thinking. In addition, this thesis challenges existing understanding by demonstrating that commonality did not significantly underpin the USAF’s development of jet fighters. It also explains that a major evolution of the USAF’s thinking took place before the first air losses in Vietnam. Finally, this thesis analyzes the interaction between jet fighters and alternative weapon systems and the factors underpinning the development of fighter interceptors.
CitationRinguet, P. (2022) The sky is no longer the limit: United States Air Force jet fighter development between the Korean and Vietnam Wars. University of Wolverhampton. http://hdl.handle.net/2436/624965
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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