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    US Air Force: Discussion and News

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    George1
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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  George1 on Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:03 am



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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:34 pm

    U.S. Air Dominance Rests On A Handful of World Class Test and Training Facilities

    The United States today is the world’s dominant air power. It achieved this position of advantage, in part, by developing and acquiring many of the world’s best military aircraft, weapons, sensors and communications systems. In part, too, this is a product of extremely rigorous and realistic training, the development of superior operational concepts and the ability to conduct large-scale and complex exercises.

    The development of modern aircraft and air-delivered weapons requires an enormous amount of experimentation and testing at very specialized places. The same is true when it comes to training pilots and aircrews, developing combat tactics and operational concepts, and conducting large-scale exercises. These activities require large amounts of land and overhead airspace free from intrusion. They also require a great deal of technical support, instrumentation, safety systems and high-end communications.

    The United States maintains a unique array of ranges, bases and test facilities devoted to the development and maintenance of the world’s best military air capabilities. Largely because they require so much land and airspace, the majority of these facilities are located on federal lands in the Southwest United States. In the words of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, “in the southwestern US all four services have training, test and evaluation ranges that provide a land, airspace, sea area, and offshore supersonic operating domain that could accommodate a major portion of our joint test and evaluation needs.”

    One of the most notable of these facilities is California’s China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center. It is one of only three Navy open air test ranges and that service’s premier land range and weapons development laboratory. Situated in the Western Mojave Desert, north of Los Angeles, China Lake encompasses more than 1 million acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. [Its] more than $3 billion worth of infrastructure and installations include two of the world’s best fully-instrumented ranges, airfields, dozens of high-tech laboratories, mission planning and support centers, fabrication facilities, hangers and offices. At China Lake, the Navy works on advanced capabilities and concepts in such areas as airborne electronic attack, directed energy, materials, explosives and propellants, munitions guidance systems, the suppression of enemy air defenses, robotics, software and even countering improvised explosive devices.

    China Lake is close to other important Southwest defense area assets, notably Edwards Air Force Base and the Army’s Fort Irwin. Edwards is a center of excellence for research and development of flight and for the testing and evaluation of aerospace systems. It hosts the Air Force Test Center, the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. Fort Irwin is home to the National Training Center, the Army’s best and largest training center where brigade combat teams are prepared for deployment overseas and where foreign concepts of operations, tactics and military systems are tested against our own.

    These three entities jointly-administer the R-2508 Special Use Airspace Complex. This complex contains Edwards, China Lake and Fort Irwin along with a large amount of intervening land. The R-2508 Complex includes bombing ranges, supersonic corridors, low altitude high speed maneuvering areas, radar intercept zones, and refueling areas. All of these need lots of airspace and several require open lands distant from people and buildings.

    As threats to U.S. national security mount and the demands for new platforms and weapons grow, so too does the importance of China Lake, the R-2508 Complex and the entire set of training and test facilities in the Southwest United States.

    Unfortunately, a number of these facilities are under stress due to encroachment from civilian and commercial activities, federal land management regulations and a lack of adequate resources for infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. In addition, the Navy only has a 25-year lease on China Lake from the Bureau of Land Management which can make it difficult to do long-range planning. Efforts to expand the area covered by China Lake to better match the R-2508 Complex and to make permanent the Navy’s ownership of China Lake have so far been rebuffed.

    Without the array of facilities, laboratories, ranges and training bases located in the Southwest United States, the U.S. military will not be able to maintain its dominance of the air domain over the next several decades. There needs to be agreement among stakeholders on the importance of maintaining and even expanding these facilities in order to insure future U.S. national security.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  higurashihougi on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:07 pm

    The United States today is the world’s dominant air power. It achieved this position of advantage, in part, by developing and acquiring many of the world’s best military aircraft, weapons, sensors and communications systems. In part, too, this is a product of extremely rigorous and realistic training, the development of superior operational concepts and the ability to conduct large-scale and complex exercises.

    The harsh truth is that F-15 is the mightiest fighter of the West and it was defeated by Su-30 in a military exercise.

    End of story. Cool Cool

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  Werewolf on Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:55 pm

    higurashihougi wrote:
    The United States today is the world’s dominant air power. It achieved this position of advantage, in part, by developing and acquiring many of the world’s best military aircraft, weapons, sensors and communications systems. In part, too, this is a product of extremely rigorous and realistic training, the development of superior operational concepts and the ability to conduct large-scale and complex exercises.

    The harsh truth is that F-15 is the mightiest fighter of the West and it was defeated by Su-30 in a military exercise.

    End of story. Cool Cool

    Better do not tell them that truth is very hard kicker.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:15 pm

    Later version F-15s, F-16s and F-18s are very capable fighters. Modernized F-14 would make a deadly machine too hadn't they retired it.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  Solncepek on Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:55 am

    Ground-based Midcourse Defense System Conducts Successful Flight Test

    16-NEWS-0002
    January 28, 2016

    The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Northern Command, today conducted a non-intercept flight test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). A long-range ground-based interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., successfully evaluating performance of alternate divert thrusters for the system's Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle.

    During the test, a target representing an intermediate-range ballistic missile was air-launched from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft over the broad ocean area west of Hawaii. An Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control Model 2 (AN/TPY-2) radar in Forward Based Mode, located at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, detected the target and relayed target track information to the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communication system. The Sea-Based X-band radar, positioned in the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii, also acquired and tracked the target. The GMD system received track data and developed a fire control solution to engage the target. The test also included a demonstration of technology to discriminate countermeasures carried by the target missile.

    A three-stage Ground-Based Interceptor was launched from Vandenberg AFB, performed fly-out, and released a Capability Enhancement-II Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle. The kill vehicle performed scripted maneuvers to demonstrate performance of alternate divert thrusters. Upon entering terminal phase, the kill vehicle initiated a planned burn sequence to evaluate the alternate divert thrusters until fuel was exhausted, intentionally precluding an intercept.

    Program officials will evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test. Engineering data from this test will be used to increase confidence for future GMD intercept missions. This test is designated Ground-based Midcourse Defense Controlled Test Vehicle-02+.

    The GMD element of the integrated BMDS provides Combatant Commanders the capability to engage and destroy limited intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile threats in space to protect the United States.

    Additional information about all elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System can be found here.

    MDA Media Contact:

    Rick Lehner, 571-231-8212, richard.lehner@mda.mil

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  Solncepek on Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:55 am

    Raytheon kill vehicle succeeds in developmental flight test

    Mission validates thruster redesign for enhanced ballistic missile defense

    VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Jan. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) successfully completed a data-gathering mission during a Missile Defense Agency flight test. The mission's objective was to observe in-flight performance of redesigned components and gain valuable information on evolving threat classes.

    EKVs are designed to destroy incoming ballistic threats while they are still in space. As part of the MDA test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, a ballistic missile target was launched and purposely not intercepted to demonstrate for maximum maneuvering and data collection.

    The successful mission proved the effectiveness of a recent redesign of the EKV thrusters, which provides the control necessary for lethal impact with incoming threats while safely outside of the Earth's atmosphere. The testing was supported by Raytheon's sea-based X-band radar (SBX) and AN/TPY-2 radar – both play critical roles in supporting the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

    'This was a remarkable data-collection opportunity,' said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. 'These are among our industry's most complex systems. Testing is critically important to ensuring the advancement of reliable kill vehicles for the protection of the U.S. homeland.'

    Raytheon is simultaneously managing four kill vehicle programs – the EKV, Standard Missile-3 kinetic vehicle, Redesigned Kill Vehicle, and Multi-Object Kill Vehicle. The Raytheon kill vehicle family has a combined record of more than 30 successful space intercepts.

    About the EKV
    Backed by decades of kill vehicle technology expertise, the Raytheon-made EKV is designed to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats by directly colliding with them, a concept often described as 'hit to kill.'

    - The EKV has an advanced, multi-color sensor used to detect and discriminate incoming warheads from other objects.
    - The EKV has its own propulsion, communications link, discrimination algorithms, guidance and control system and computers to support target selection and intercept.
    - The EKV is deployed and operational today.

    About Raytheon
    Raytheon Company, with 2015 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 94 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, capabilities in C5I (command, control, communications, computing, cyber and intelligence), sensing, effects and mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. Visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.

    Media Contact
    Amanda Schildt
    +1.571.305.3915
    rmspr@raytheon.com

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:23 pm

    United Launch Alliance launches GPS IIF-12 satellite for U.S. Air Force




    United Launch Alliance launched the 12th and final satellite of the U.S. Air Force's GPS IIF-block, completing its first mission of 2016.

    The satellite was launched using an Atlas V rocket as part of an effort to increase the Global Positioning System's accuracy and reach for both military and civilian users. The satellite is designed to enhance signal strength and navigational assistance for U.S. military operators.

    "Congratulations to the ULA, Boeing and Air Force teams on the successful launch of GPS IIF-12," ULA Customs Services vice president Laura Maginnis said in a statement. "This system provides incredible capabilities to our women and men in uniform while enabling so many technologies that impact all of our daily lives."

    The new satellite joining the Block IIF cluster uses updated avionics software and ground systems aiming to improve reliability and decrease costs.

    The U.S. Air Force is currently operating 31 GPS satellites, and has plans to launch a new block of GPS III satellites. The next-generation satellites are designed to replace those already in orbit that have surpassed their operational design life. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to manufacture the GPS IIIA block.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  Militarov on Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:17 am

    "Lockheed Martin has firmed up its offering for the eagerly-awaited USAF T-X trainer competition. It will offer the T-50A for the Advanced Pilot Training (APT) competition. The T-50 Golden Eagle was developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). Lockheed Martin also announced that, if chosen for the contract, its Greenville Operations facility in Greenville, South Carolina, would be the preferred Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) site for the T-50A. 'The T-50A is production ready now. It is the only offering that meets all of the APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule,' said Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works). 'We carefully studied a clean-sheet option for the [Advanced Pilot Training] competition and determined that it posed excessive risk to the APT cost and schedule requirements.'



    The company also says that its accompanying T-50A Ground-Based Training System (GBTS) features innovative technologies that deliver an immersive, synchronized ground-based training platform. The agile T-50A GBTS applies lessons-learned from decades of training with leading-edge technologies to deliver a cost-effective advanced pilot training solution. Lockheed Martin could be the only company to offer an off the shelf solution for T-X. Boeing/Saab and Northrop Grumman are expected to offer clean sheet designs. Details of Alenia Aermacchi's plans with the popular M-346 Master are still awaited."


    Source: http://www.combataircraft.net/view_article.asp?ID=9435&pubID=49&t=0&s=0&p=1&i=10

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:17 pm

    Pave Hawk replacement finally beckons for US Air Force

    USAF ditches Black Hawk revival in search for Huey replacement.Ten years ago, the US Air Force was charging full speed towards the procurement of 141 Boeing HH-47s to replace the Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk for the personnel recovery mission. That combat search-and-rescue (CSAR-X) Chinook derivative would have entered service with 10 combat-coded examples in 2012. But fast-forward to today and the air force has zero Chinooks and 97 battle-worn, analogue-cockpit Pave Hawks that entered service in 1982 under the Reagan administration.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:09 am

    US Air Force Faces 500 Fighter Pilot Shortfall

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:56 am

    Air Force paying too much for C-17 engine maintenance

    The Air Force is paying for engine maintenance for the C-17 Globemaster III without any idea if it’s getting a fair price, a new watchdog report said.

    “Air Force officials awarded the…base contract without obtaining sufficient data to determine whether the Air Force purchased the F117 engine sustainment services provided by Pratt & Whitney at fair and reasonable prices,” said the investigation by the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General.

    The exact amount the Air Force paid for the sole-source contract between fiscal 2012 and 2014 is redacted, but the IG’s report says that it’s in the billions.

    The F117 engine is a military version of the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engine used to power Boeing 757 aircraft. The Air Force currently has 1,200 of the engines for 222 C-17s, the IG said. Each plane flies on four of the engines.

    Investigators said the Air Force didn’t do its due diligence before handing the defense contractor money for the Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP).

    “Pratt & Whitney declined to provide critical cost and pricing information that the Air Force needed to determine fair and reasonable prices,” the IG’s report said. “Without sufficient supporting information, the Air Force relied on a questionable analysis of Pratt & Whitney’s proposed F117 engine sustainment prices and declared the GISP contract prices fair and reasonable.”

    What sort of “questionable analysis” the Air Force did is redacted in the report, but the IG said this isn’t a new problem.

    “For over 10 years, the Air Force has been ineffective at obtaining insight into its F117 engine sustainment requirements and prices,” the report said.

    In a letter dated Nov. 2015, then-acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisitions, Richard Lombardi, responded to the report, but what actions he said he would take are redacted.

    The IG’s office responded that his statements “did not address the specifics of the recommendation,” and that the Air Force still needed to establish a “performance and cost baseline for the F117 engine sustainment.”

    The original contract was structured to encourage Pratt & Whitney to cut down on maintenance hours and expenses, but investigators said Air Force contracting officials never re-evaluated the agreement to see if the cost could be reduced.

    Sole-source contracting comes with a risk that “the contractor could overcharge the government in the absence of competition,” the IG said. In that case, collecting cost data from the contractor, evaluating it, and comparing it to other companies becomes even more important, investigators said.

    But he defense contractor still has not provided a complete accounting of the costs of engine maintenance, the IG said.

    In an earlier audit, investigators “requested data related to sustainment services…however, Pratt & Whitney did not provide requested cost data” due to concerns that the Air Force would use it in pending contract negotiations.

    Inspectors ended up subpoenaing the company for the information, and said in the report that they “have received multiple installments of portions of the requested F117 engine sustainment information.” The IG said they’ll publish another report once they’ve finished analyzing all the cost data.

    In a statement emailed to Air Force Times Pratt & Whitney said it has "spent many months and significant resources cooperating with the DOD IG’s recent audits," including providing 52,000 pages containing "detailed cost data, and highly proprietary partner and supplier agreements to prove our customers have received fair and reasonable prices for F117 maintenance." Pratt & Whitney says it also "essentially designed a new accounting system to provide the IG data in the requested format, including a level of granularity unheard of in commercial aviation."

    Air Force Times has also reached out to the Air Force Contracting office, and the Inspector General, and will update this report as more information becomes available.

    The C-17 Globemaster III is a cargo and personnel transport that can carry 102 troops or 170,900 lbs. of cargo, according to Air Force fact sheets. It first entered service in 1993.

    The F117 listed in the report is the designation of the engine produced by Pratt & Whitney, and should not be confused with the F-117 Nighthawk, the Air Force’s first dedicated stealth fighter that was retired in 2008.

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    USAF working on new defensive missile for fighters

    Post  max steel on Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:04 am

    USAF working on new defensive missile for fighters

    US industry could be competing within three years to develop a new self-defence missile for fighters aimed at countering the latest generation of Russian- and Chinese-made air-to-air weapons, says a top Lockheed Martin executive.

    For several years, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and several contractors, including Lockheed, Raytheon and Boeing, have been researching concepts and subsystems that could be used in a new kind of air-to-air weapon.

    In Lockheed’s concept, this miniature self-defence munition (MDSM) – about half the size of a 3.7m (12ft)-long Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM – would boast a limited capability to shoot down opposing aircraft in short-range engagements, says Frank St. John, vice-president of tactical missile and combat manoeuvre systems, speaking on 15 March at Lockheed’s annual Media Day.

    But the main purpose of the weapon, also known as the small advanced capabilities missile (SACM) would be to intercept and destroy incoming enemy missiles, such as the long-range, Chinese-made PL-12 and Russian-made Vympel RVV-BD.

    “I know that MSDM and SACM and all of those things are responses to those threats in some way as a self defence capability for our aircraft,” St. John says.

    St. John estimates the air force could be ready to launch a competition in 18 to 30 months for the new weapon, which, if funded, would add to the internal-carriage arsenal of the F-22 and F-35.

    Lockheed’s concept is based on a hit-to-kill weapon that destroys a target with kinetic power alone. Powered by a small rocket motor, it would leverage technology developed for the upgraded PAC-3 missile segment enhancement (MSE) Patriot missile. Lockheed is continuing to study radar and imaging-based sensors for terminal guidance, St. John says.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  GarryB on Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:12 pm

    Hahaha... The F-35 has already been criticised for having limited weapon capacity and they want to carry anti missile missiles...

    The Russian solution of the Morfei 9M100 short range IIR missile makes rather more sense and when carried on a conventional non stealthy aircraft it should be able to be carried in large numbers too.

    So an F-22 lets be generous and give it 8 AAMs... a Flanker with 12 weapon hard points could carry 8 anti missile missiles and still have 4 positions left for other missiles or jamming pods...


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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  JohninMK on Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:54 am

    Interesting current USAF 'attack' aircraft figure at end, my highlight. Also put in UCAV thread

    Speaking at a congressional hearing on army and air force unmanned aircraft programmes, US Air Combat Command chief Gen Herbert Carlisle says many General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Block 1 crashes have been directly linked to starter-generator failures, resulting in an Electrical Safety Improvement Programme (ESIP) that installs a direct-drive, brushless alternator that keeps the aircraft flying for another 10h.

    “Since last April, we have recovered 17 MQ-9s using this direct drive, brushless alternator,” says Carlisle.

    The air force has lost dozens of MQ-9s over the years, at a cost of between $20 million and $25 million per aircraft, according to Pentagon documents. Significantly more MQ-1s have been lost in combat and the type will be phased out by 2018.

    A Washington Post report quoted by one US lawmaker identified 10 MQ-9 and 10 MQ-1 crashes in 2015, when operations were stepping up against terrorist networks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and across Africa.

    ....................................

    In February, there were 134 MQ-1Bs and 176 MQ-9As in the inventory, according to Air Force data.

    Carlisle says more than 77% of MQ-1 and MQ-9 “cockpits” – meaning the ground control stations – are engaged in combat around the globe. The remaining 23% are dedicated to training and testing.

    For some time, the Air Force has faced a pilot shortfall, remaining 199 airmen short of its full pilot manning requirement. ACC has been authorised to grow its MQ-1/9 pilot staff from 981 today to 1180.

    ACC, which is charged with training and equipping combat air forces, is also 511 fighter and attack aircraft pilots short of its need.

    “If you include the entire fighter shortfall, that’s a pretty large number,” says Carlisle. The air force maintains 284 A-10s, 963 F-16s, 429 F-15s, 183 F-22s and a growing number of F-35s.


    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-still-doesnt-know-why-its-block-1-mq-9s-fail-423253/

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  George1 on Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:14 pm

    Lockheed Martin plans to maintain production of the F-16 after 2017

    http://bmpd.livejournal.com/1801192.html


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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:58 pm

    US spy plane cost $86m but 'never used'

    The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spent $86m (£60m) on a spy plane to be flown in Afghanistan, but it was never used, a government report says.

    The plane, to help fight the Afghan drug trade, cost a tenth of that sum and millions more went on upgrades.But to this day, it remains in storage in the US state of Delaware, a report by the Inspector General's Office of the US Justice Department says.

    It adds that the plane is unlikely to ever fly in Afghanistan.The programme for which the plane was bought ended in 2015.

    The ATR 42-500 plane was to be used in an anti-drug programme led by the DEA and the Pentagon, but costs to modify and house the aircraft quickly escalated.

    Some $67.9m in funds from the US Department of Defence were spent on the plane and on a purpose-built hangar in Kabul, four times more than the original estimated cost.

    The report says aviation officials with the DEA "did not take into account, when purchasing the ATR 500, the time and cost it would incur to establish an infrastructure of pilots, mechanics, trainers and spare parts required to operate the aircraft".

    It adds that even though the plane was bought more than seven years ago, it "remains inoperable, resting on jacks, and has never actually flown in Afghanistan".

    A DEA official told investigators the plane, once ready, would fly in the Caribbean and Latin America, but the report notes "that was not, of course, the purpose of the funding".

    Goats 'may have been eaten'

    The revelations come two months after a US government watchdog accused a Pentagon agency of wasting millions on "ill-conceived" reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.

    Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko noted one programme that spent $6m to import rare blond Italian goats to help the Afghan cashmere industry.

    Oversight was so ineffective, Mr Spoko said, he could not be sure that the goats were not eaten.

    Last year, Mr Sopko said some $43m was spent on building a vehicle refuelling station in Afghanistan, 140 times the cost of an equivalent station in Pakistan. He said fraud and corruption may have increased the cost.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:06 am

    2 dead after pursued Jeep crashes into California air base, hits fighter jet   Suspect

    Two are dead after a Jeep Cherokee pursued by law enforcement crashed through a gate at Lemoore Naval Air Station and slammed into an FA-18E fighter jet Wednesday night.

    According to authorities at the base, the male driver of the SUV and female passenger were killed.

    At a news conference Thursday morning, base authorities said the Jeep crashed through an “entry control point.” The two were not affiliated with the base, authorities said.

    The pursuit began in Kings County when the California Highway Patrol investigated a vehicle stopped alongside the road on Highway 41 and Jackson Avenue. The vehicle sped away and began to weave, CHP Lt. Dave Knoff said.

    “We don’t know why they were running,” Knoff said.

    The pursuit was called off temporarily when the driver began going against traffic on Highway 198, authorities said, but was picked up later on the same highway.

    About 11:30 p.m., the Jeep went through the gate and onto the base. Naval security forces pick up the pursuit while a CHP helicopter tracked the vehicle.

    The driver collided with the horizontal stabilizer of an FA-18E fighter jet, authorities said.The driver was taken to a hospital, where he died. The passenger died at the scene.

    In a news briefing early Thursday, Capt. Monty G. Ashliman Jr., commander of the Lemoore base, said just how the vehicle was able to get onto the airfield is a key part of the follow-up investigation that will be done.

    A spokeswoman for Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, said the congressman is still collecting information about the incident. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, was unavailable for comment. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, was awaiting a briefing on the incident.

    Lemoore is the largest naval installation in the country for carrier-based aircraft, and soon will be getting larger. Currently, 15 active F-18 fighter jet squadrons and one auxiliary squadron are stationed there. One more is on its way in August, and another will move to Lemoore in 2018. A year from now the station also will get some of the first crews to fly the F-35, America’s newest fighter jet. In all, more than 3,000 people – naval aviators and their family members – will be added to the base before 2019.

    About 60 percent of the nation’s naval fighter jets will be based at Lemoore Naval Air Station. The Pacific Strike Fighter Wing, as it’s called, is growing due to the Department of Defense’s plans to divert 60 percent of all spending to the Pacific theater.


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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:26 am

    Boeing Tanker Issue Could Delay Production Decision

    An issue that prevented Boeing’s KC-46 tanker from transferring fuel to a US Air Force C-17 during a recent test could delay the start of production of the new aircraft, according to the Air Force.

    During a recent test of the tanker’s refueling boom, higher than expected axial loads prevented the transfer of fuel of a C-17 transport plane, service spokesman Daryl Mayer said April 1. The boom, a rigid, telescoping tube that an operator on the tanker extends to and inserts into a receptacle on the receiving aircraft, is used to refuel most Air Force aircraft.

    Boeing has a “good understanding” of the problem and is working to identify a fix, Mayer said. However, the Air Force does not yet know the schedule impact to a planned “Milestone C” decision to formally approve production of the new tanker in May, he said.

    “We don't yet know the schedule impact to the planned May Milestone C decision, but the problem is well understood and we don't expect an extended delay,” Mayer said.

    The KC-46 successfully refueled an Air Force F-16, a much lighter aircraft than the C-17, in a previous test, Mayer noted. The tanker has also successfully transferred fuel to a Navy F/A-18 and Marine Corps Harrier, which use the aircraft’s hose-and-drogue system for refueling, he said.

    Boeing spokesman William Barksdale declined to say how much the fix will cost, saying the company is "aggressively working the problem now."

    "We expected to find items like this in development test and we are evaluating system changes to improve boom response," Barksdale said April 1. "Over the coming weeks, we will have a better understanding of program impacts, if any. We continue to make steady progress in flight test and aircraft production, and believe we are taking the right steps to fulfill our commitments to the Air Force."

    The Air Force is planning to buy 179 KC-46 tankers to recapitalize its aging tanker fleet. Boeing’s KC-46 is unique in its ability to switch between the boom and hose-and-drogue during the same mission, allowing the Air Force to refuel more aircraft more quickly.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:15 am

    Two airmen shot dead in 'workplace violence' at Texas air base

    Two airmen were killed in a "a workplace violence incident" on Friday at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, military officials said, with media outlets reporting that an airman shot his commanding officer and then himself.

    Two weapons identified as Glocks were found at the scene, Brigadier General Robert LaBrutta, Commander, Joint Base San Antonio, told a news conference. LaBrutta said the two men were the only casualties and he declined to provide further details such as a possible motive.

    "This was a workplace violence incident and not the result of a terrorist attack," the U.S. Air Force Joint Base San Antonio said in a statement.

    The Air Force Times, citing internal Pentagon communications, reported the commanding officer of a training squadron at the base was shot by an airman who then apparently killed himself in a classroom building.

    A Pentagon official, speaking on condition on anonymity, told CNN that the airman shot his commander.

    Military officials would not confirm the reports. The Bexar County Sheriff's office described the deaths as a likely murder-suicide.

    LaBrutta said individuals are not allowed to carry weapons on base unless they are in security forces or the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations.

    "This morning we received one of those calls you never want to receive," LaBrutta told reporters.

    "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that are going to be affected by this tragedy," he said.

    LaBrutta said that after an initial report of a shooter, security officers rushed to the scene within three minutes. Both men were found in an office. The shootings occurred at the Medina annex, where operations such as military dog training take place.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:28 pm

    Radar Planes: Why Does the Air Force Need A Dozen Years to Buy 17 Off-the-Shelf Aircraft?

    The U.S. Air Force operates a small fleet of radar planes that can track the movement of ground forces day or night, rain or shine. No kidding, the planes can peer through the murkiest sandstorm to pinpoint the location of hostile forces, identifying what kind of vehicles they are operating, what direction they are moving in, and at what speed. The information is passed along to coalition air and ground units over secure datalinks so they can target enemies without harming friendly forces — once a common occurrence in the fog of war.

    Officially called the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System, there is little doubt that “JSTARS” planes have saved many American lives since their battlefield debut during Operation Desert Storm 25 years ago. Imagine what it means for soldiers to have an airborne surveillance asset that can simultaneously track up to 600 moving ground targets over an area of nearly 20,000 square miles. It’s a game-changer in terms of combat survivability and success. Which means it could be a game-loser if troops lost access to the planes.

    Unfortunately, that is precisely the vector that the Air Force has put JSTARS on as a result of continuously ignoring congressional direction and combatant commander requests for a quick replacement of the aging planes. The problem is that three decades ago, in a misplaced drive for economy, the Air Force decided to install its ground-tracking radars on “pre-owned” (second-hand) Boeing 707 jetliners. In other words, the planes that debuted in Desert Storm had already been flying for dozens of years, and today the whole fleet is decrepit.

    The service had the option of refurbishing the corroded airframes, replacing outdated engines and refreshing on-board electronics, but it figured for half as much money it could just install a new radar on business jets that would be much cheaper to operate than the four-engine, first-generation jetliners currently in use. All it was trying to do was reproduce the impressive tracking and imaging capability of JSTARS on a more efficient off-the-shelf airframe, which seemed simple enough. The plan was to develop and field the new airframes in six years.

    Well, for reasons only the Air Force can explain, that plan has now stretched out to a dozen years. Air Force planners say the first new plane will not be operational under what it calls JSTARS Recap until 2024, and the fleet of 17 replacement planes will not be fully available until 2028. That timeline has two disturbing consequences. Because they aren't buying a capability for the warfighter. They are buying a jobs program for .gov bureaucrats.



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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:16 am

    US fighter jets could be accompanied by drone wingmen as soon as 2018

    Current-generation US fighter jets could take to the skies alongside unmanned armed drones for within the next two years. The "Loyal Wingman" initiative could see fifth-generation stealth fighters matched with older craft to reduce the risk faced by the human pilot.

    The technology would allow these drones to fly ahead of the fighter in hostile environments to identify and attack targets without leaving human pilots open to potentially dangerous situations. According to the Medium blog War is Boring, the US Air Force (USAF) is moving ahead with new computer algorithms which would allow fighter pilots to take control of the drones from their own cockpit. The drone could fire at targets chosen by the pilot.

    Air Force Researcher Laboratories (AFRL) launched the initiative in mid-2015 with a formal request for information (RFI) to the aerospace sector. "Autonomy technologies can enhance future operations and capabilities in contested and denied environments," the RFI said.

    "Technologies are also required to seamlessly integrate the pilot and his/her aircraft with the autonomous unmanned aircraft to allow them to operate as a team for combat effectiveness."

    The formal programme is set to be launched in 2018 and demonstrations will run until 2022 when the paired jets will carry out a strike mission in a hostile and well-defended environment as proof of the technology's capability. The theory behind giving the unmanned aircraft a large degree of autonomy is to avoid signal jamming and other complications from occurring.

    Last month Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work said the use of autonomous technology and platforms is an inevitability.

    "It is going to happen," Work told a forum hosted by the Washington Post in the US capital. "I would expect to see unmanned wingmen in the air first, I would expect to see unmanned systems undersea all over the place, I would expect to see unmanned systems on the surface of the sea."

    He added that the creation of unmanned vehicles would take longer to create given the challenges faced by the military, such as navigating off-road on rough terrain. The US is keen to develop driverless vehicles to protect its soldiers from roadside bombs which have killed hundreds of military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  max steel on Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:33 am

    Small Diameter Bomb II Completes Live Fire Test Destroying T-72 Tank





    Air Force F-15 Eagle recently destroyed a moving -model T-72 tank during a live-fire test of the Small Diameter Bomb II at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., service leaders said.

    “Just this month we had a successful live fire mission. It was an F-15E that targeted a moving T-72 tank surrogate. We’re still analyzing the data to get the details of it but the visual indicated it was a direct hit,” Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, military deputy for Air Force acquisition, told Military.com in an interview.

    The test earlier this month was the final live fire mission required for the developmental weapons program to move toward what’s called a “Milestone C” full rate production decision, she added.

    Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall is expected to approve full-rate production of the weapon by May of this year — a move which would clear the path for large-scale manufacturing and delivery of the Small Diameter Bomb II, or SDB II, later this year.

    Ultimately, the Air Force plans to acquire 12,000 SDB II weapons — which will enter service by 2017, service officials said.

    “This was the graduation exercise. This is what the warfighter is going to drop on the bad guys. It is the end to end test. The warhead performed as expected and we ended up putting steel on target which is what the goal is,” Jeff White, senior manager, business development, Raytheon, told Military.com.

    White explained that the model tank was moving at tactically relevant battle speeds when it was destroyed by the SDB II during the live-fire test.

    “Just because you hit a target that does not mean you achieved the right kill metrics. That is what the Air Force is doing right now, analyzing the target to make sure the target destruction was at the right level for the test,” White added.

    Depending upon the test outcome, there can be catastrophic kill tests or mobility kills designed only to stop a target from moving, he explained.

    “Each test has its own metrics,” White said.

    The SDB II is a new air-dropped bomb that can pinpoint targets from long distances, destroy stationary or moving targets and change course in flight using a two-way data link, Raytheon and Air Force officials said.

    The Small Diameter Bomb II represents a technological departure from previously fielded precision-guided air-dropped weapons because of its ability to track and hit moving targets from long distances.

    Most of the testing of the SBD II thus far has been on an Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter jet, however the weapon has also been fitted and tested on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Engineers are also working on plans to integrate the bomb onto the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-16 as well, Raytheon officials said.

    GPS and laser-guided weapons such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions have been around for decades, however, they have primarily been designed for use against fixed or stationary targets.

    A key part of the SDB II is a technology called a “tri-mode” seeker — a guidance system which can direct the weapon using millimeter wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared guidance and semi-active laser technology.

    “The really transformational thing about this product is the fact that our seeker, our tri-mode seeker, allows us to prosecute both those moving and stationary targets from standoff distances to exceed 40 nautical miles both on land and at sea,” Mike Jarrett, vice president, air warfare systems, Raytheon, said last summer at the Farnborough Air Show, London.

    A tri-mode seeker provides a range of guidance and targeting options typically not used together in one system. Millimeter wave radar gives the weapon an ability to navigate through adverse weather, conditions in which other guidance systems might encounter problems reaching or pinpointing targets.

    Imaging infrared guidance allows the weapon to track and hone in on heat signatures such as the temperature of an enemy vehicle. With semi-active laser technology, the weapon can be guided to an exact point using a laser designator or laser illuminator coming from the air or the ground.

    Also, the SBD II brings a new ability to track targets in flight through use of a two-way Link 16 and UHF data link, Raytheon officials said.

    “The millimeter wave radar turns on first. Then the data link gives it a cue and tells the seeker where to open up and look. Then it turns on its IR (infrared) which uses heat seeking technology,” White said.

    The SBD II is engineered to weigh only 208 pounds, a lighter weight than most other air dropped bombs, so that eight of them can fit on the inside of an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, White explained.

    If weapons are kept in an internal weapons bay and not rested on an external weapons pod, then an aircraft can succeed in retaining its stealth properties because the shapes or contours of the weapons will not be visible to enemy radar.

    About 105 pound of the SDB II is an explosive warhead which encompasses a “blast-frag” capability and a “plasma-jet” technology designed to pierce enemy armor, White explained.

    The SDB II also has the ability to classify targets, meaning it could for example be programmed to hit only tanks in a convoy as opposed to other moving vehicles. The weapon can classify tanks, boats or wheeled targets, White added.

    The Pentagon and Raytheon have already invested more than $700 million into SBD II development, Raytheon officials said.

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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  George1 on Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:33 am

    US Air Force Actively Seeking to Replace Huey Helicopter

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160422/1038418488/usaf-seeks-huey-replacement.html#ixzz46XRX7lTp


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    Re: US Air Force: Discussion and News

    Post  JohninMK on Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:20 am

    A pretty unique photo opportunity


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