By Paul Parkinson
In a recent article in EETimes (‘Pentagon urges ‘relevant’ R&D’
, 23rd October 2006, pages 1 & 80), George Leopold reported on a marked shift in
US federal R&D funding away from high-risk, high-reward defence
research towards technologies needed to counter immediate threats.
There appears to have been some indications of this emerging trend
in recent years, but this definitive position could have a significant
impact on the approach taken in the development of many programmes.
During the Cold War era, the nature of the threat and an enemy’s
capability could be predicted, and the development of new defence
technologies could be planned and executed over quite long development
timescales, sometimes even spanning decades in
the case of projects such as the RA-66 Comanche helicopter, F-22 Raptor, and the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft (wikipedia).