A new look at tactical combat V/STOL design and utility as affected by emerging technology and mission concepts is given in this paper. History has shown that a certain level of useful load fraction must be attained before an airplane system can be considered operationally successful. Technology trends reviewed in this paper suggest that the time is here or at least near for V/STOL tactical aircraft to achieve a truly viable useful load fraction. Propulsion, structure, and controls technologies will contribute to the success of the tactical V/STOL system. In addition, aerodynamic technology as related to interference effects in hover and transition, and as required for efficient supersonic cruise and combat, significantly impacts the design solution. A unique approach to system design risk assessment is described with results giving technology leverage as a function of design options.