The United States Air Force Portal
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. Initially born as the United States Army Air Corps, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947. It was the last branch of the US military to be formed.
The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world, with about 5,573 manned aircraft in service (3,990 USAF; 1,213 Air National Guard; and 370 Air Force Reserve); approximately 180 Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles, 2130 Air-Launched Cruise Missiles, and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles; and has 330,159 personnel on active duty, 68,872 in the Selected and Individual Ready Reserves, and 94,753 in the Air National Guard. In addition, the Air Force employs 151,360 civilian personnel.
The Department of the Air Force is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force who heads administrative affairs. The Department of the Air Force is a division of the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The highest ranking military officer in the Department of the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
Photo credit: Master Sergeant Lance Cheung, 18 August 2006. USAF photo.
photo source: Air Force Link
The B-52 aircraft crash at Fairchild Air Force Base was a fatal air crash that occurred on June 24, 1994, killing the four crew members of a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52 Stratofortress during a training flight. In the crash, Bud Holland, who was the command pilot of the aircraft based at Fairchild Air Force Base, call sign Czar 52, flew the aircraft beyond its operational parameters and lost control. As a result, the aircraft stalled, impacted the ground, and was completely destroyed. Video of the crash was shown throughout the United States on news broadcasts.
The accident investigation concluded that the chain of events leading to the crash was primarily attributable to Holland's personality and behavior, USAF leaders' reactions to it, and the sequence of events during the mishap flight of the aircraft. Today, the crash is used in military and civilian aviation environments as a case study in teaching crew resource management. Also, the crash is often used by the USAF during safety training as an example of the importance of compliance with safety regulations and correcting the behavior of anyone who violates safety procedures.
Service considering retrofitting late-model C-130's with new engines
Summary: The U.S. Air Force is interested in procuring commercial off-the-shelf engines to replace antiquated propulsion systems on C-130 aircraft. At a technology summit in Arlington, Virginia, General Philip Breedlove told of the service's efforts to follow up on the successes of the C-130J upgrade with commercially available fuel efficient engines. Breedlove says the prioritization of use of C-130J's in inter-theater operations for cost savings has tied up logistics. The C-130 also suffers from performance and maintenance issues that have led to the cancellation of the FCS Manned Ground Vehicles program that was unable to fall within weight parameters while maintaining protection requirements. While enhancing the current generation of aircraft, the Air Force is also heading an initiative to develop fuel efficient technologies for the next generation of propulsion systems. the ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology program seeks to develop an engine that is 30% more efficient than the F119 or F135 engines that power the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft. The Versatile, Affordable, Advanced Turbine Engines and Highly Efficient Embedded Turbine Engine programs are also being pursued to develop propulsion technologies for sub-sonic military aircraft.
Aerospace Vehicle Spotlight
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird; its crews often called it the Sled, or the Habu ("snake"). The SR-71 line was in service from 1964, through 1998 for the USAF, through 1999 for NASA. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was the man behind many of the design's advanced concepts. The SR-71 was one of the first aircraft to be shaped to reduce radar cross section. However, the aircraft was not stealthy and still had a large enough radar signature to be tracked by contemporary systems. The aircraft's defense was its high speed and operating altitude; if a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was to simply accelerate. Twelve of the aircraft have been destroyed, though none lost to enemy action.
The SR-71 holds the record for flying from New York to London: 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds, set on 1 September 1974. On 28 July 1976, an SR-71 broke the world record for its class: an absolute speed record of 2,193.1669 mph (3,529.56 km/h), and a US "absolute altitude record" of 85,068.997 feet (25,929 m). In 1990, a retirement flight of the SR-71 set a coast-to-coast speed record at an average 2,124 mph (3,418 km/h). The entire trip was reported as 68 minutes and 17 seconds. Three additional records were set within segments of the flight, including a new absolute top speed of 2,242 mph measured between the radar gates set up in St. Louis and Cincinnati.
Captain Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973) is the highest scoring American ace of World War I. He was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1890 and at an early age began undertaking high-risk activities. His formal schooling ended when his father died in 1902. However, Rickenbacker had an aptitude for engineering leading him into the automotive field. He became a race car driver and participated in four Indianapolis 500 races.
Rickenbacker was in England when the United States joined World War I. He enlisted in the army and fought to get into flight training. After training he was assigned to the 94th Aero Squadron. Rickenbacker claimed his first aerial victory on 29 April 1918. A month later, on 28 May he claimed his fifth, making him an ace. In all Rickenbacker achieved 26 aerial victories and was awarded a Medal of Honor, seven Distinguished Service Crosses, a French Legion of Honor, and a French Croix de Guerre.
After the war Rickenbacker briefly ran his own car company, ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Eastern Air Lines. During World War II he supported the war effort by touring military facilities in the United States and abroad and even traveled to the Soviet Union to help improve their aerial capabilities. Rickenbacker died in 1973 at the age of 82 in Zürich, Switzerland. He is buried at the Green Lawn Cemetery in his home town of Columbus.
...that Charles G. Boyd, USAF, is the only American prisoner of war from the Vietnam War to reach the four-star rank?
A highly decorated combat pilot during the Vietnam War, Boyd's awards include the Air Force Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with combat "V" and two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters.
Boyd, now retired from the Air Force, is the president and chief executive of Business Executives for National Security.
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