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Wing in Ground Effect Aircraft: An Airlifter of the Future
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The genesis of this research was the USAF Scientific Advisory Board’s advanced air and space ideas study, New World Vistas, and its mobility volume’s analysis of the WIG. This research project was a more in-depth look into the WIG’s feasibility and capability. The research looked at how the WIG helps meet the national security strategy of “global engagement,” and the resulting growth in expeditionary demands on the DoD. Thus, the research question was: Should the WIG be the DoD’s next mobility platform? This research decomposed the basic research question into two: (1) Does the DoD have a strategic lift shortfall based on National Military Strategy? and (2) Should the WIG be the mobility platform of choice, based on requirements, unique characteristics, and technology? First, the analysis focused on the national security strategy, the resulting national military strategy, the USAF Strategy, and rapid global military service requirements, based on these needs, and finally, the culminating mobility shortfalls associated with these strategies, to include the Mobility Requirements Study for 2005. Second, the analysis focused on future airlift requirements, platform alternatives, unique WIG characteristics and the factors that favor the WIG, a Korean scenario using ASCAM and a WIG fleet, the multiple uses and affordability of the WIG, and the technological vision and guidance from the new administration. Overall, this study establishes the importance, and shortfall, of mobility airlift in meeting the nation’s global engagement strategy, and the fact that, because of its unique characteristics, the WIG is the platform of choice to help fulfill this global strategy as the DoD’s strategic airlifter of the future.
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