Ahead of the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference from 14-16 September, FlightGlobal has compiled a package of stories about the most-important issues faced today by the US Air Force (USAF).

Many of the articles focus on means by which the service hopes to counter threats from China and Russia.

The USAF is planning to fight in an entirely new way via its Agile Combat Employment strategy, which demands that aircraft constantly hop from air base to air base to avoid being destroyed on the tarmac by cruise and ballistic missiles.

To maintain a numerical advantage the service is also hoping to offload combat duties to robotic fighters – the so-called loyal wingman aircraft – using advances in artificial intelligence. To make all this work, new technologies must be developed, tested and fielded. Airmen must also learn how to employ these new weapons and the best uses for them.