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 part of the United States Army as the 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 one of the largest and most technologically advanced air forces 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.
Established in 1954, the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is an institution for the undergraduate education of officers for the United States Air Force. Graduates of the four-year program receive a Bachelor of Science degree and most are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force.
The program at the Academy is guided by its core values of "Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do," and based on four "pillars" of excellence: military training, academics, athletics and character development. In addition to a rigorous military training regimen, cadets also take a broad academic course load with an extensive core curriculum in engineering, humanities, social sciences, basic sciences, military studies and physical education. All cadets participate in either intercollegiate or intramural athletics, and a thorough character development and leadership curriculum provide cadets a basis for future officership. Each of the components of the program is intended to give cadets the skills and knowledge that they will need for success as officers.
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 P-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter used operationally by the United States Army Air Forces. It was introduced into active service in July 1945, during the closing weeks of World War II, however, the aircraft did not see combat during the war. The Army Air Forces, and later the Air Force, acquired more than 1,700 of the aircraft before the end of the production run in 1950. The aircraft saw extensive action during the opening phases of the Korean War. However, as the more nimble F-86 Sabre came into service the P-80s were primarily assigned to ground attack and photo reconnaissance roles.
The P-80 design was the basis of the T-33 Shooting Star trainer aircraft. The Shooting Star airframe became the primary jet trainer as the Air Force migrated to more advanced fighters.
Lieutenant General Hubert R. Harmon (1892 - 1957) was the first Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy. He was instrumental in developing plans for the establishment of the Academy and setting the groundwork for its development into a successful educational institution. He served in the U.S. military from 1915 to 1956.
He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915. In 1918, Harmon completed advanced training in pursuit aviation at Issoudun, France. In 1920 he transferred to the Air Service. He graduated from the Air Service Engineering School in August 1925. In 1933, he graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama, and in 1935, he graduated from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Harmon graduated from the Army War College in 1938. In 1940, Harmon assumed command of the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, and one year later he was named commanding general of the Gulf Coast Air Corps Training Center at Randolph Field, Texas. On August 14, 1954, General Harmon became the first superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy at its temporary home in Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado. In addition to his extensive military education and roles in aviation training, Harmon commanded the Sixth Air Force, 13th Air Force, during World War II. He also served as commander of AirSols, all Allied air units in the Solomon Islands campaign.
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