News | May 1, 2003

The Air Force: Science, Technology, and Transformation

By Donald C. Daniel Defense Horizons 27


The Air ForceOverview

A unique connectivity exists in the Air Force between science, technology, and transformation. From the defining moment of powered flight in 1903 to the creation of the Air Force as a separate service in 1947 to the present, these three elements have been continuously linked and undoubtedly will remain so. 

This paper provides a brief historical perspective of the ties between science, technology, and transformation in the earliest days of the Air Force; gives an overview of current Air Force science and technology; offers a look at five future transformational capabilities—unmanned combat aerial vehicles, small munitions, directed energy weapons, microsatellites, and the joint battlespace infosphere—that demonstrate the strong nature of the link today; and lastly, presents some challenges and issues.