Portal:United States Air Force

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The United States Air Force Portal

Seal of the US Air Force

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.

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Picture spotlight

X-29 from front perspective.jpg
X-29 in flight

Front on view of the Grumman X-29, an experimental aircraft that flew in the 1980s and 1990s. The X-29 implemented new technologies including the forward-swept wings and canard control surface.

photo source: U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center photos

Article spotlight

USAF Honor Guard Funeral Detail.jpg

The Air Force Honor Guard consists of specially training Air Force members who conduct ceremonial functions. Honor guards typically perform ceremonial functions at funerals, weddings, and present the colors at formal occasions. Each air force base maintains its own honor guard for local functions while the national honor guard conducts national-level ceremonies and includes a drill team that performs exhibitions worldwide.

USAF news

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.

Source:http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2011/07/air-force-c-130-replacing-older-engines-072011w/
News Archive

Aerospace vehicle spotlight

375th Fighter Squadron North American P-51D-5-NA Mustang 44-13926.jpg

The P-51 Mustang is one of the most celebrated aircraft in U.S. history. Development of the aircraft first began shortly after World War II broke out in late 1939. The initial design was marked by poor performance at high altitudes. However, after being outfitted with Rolls-Royce Merlin engine the aircraft saw a marked improvement. The aircraft went into service with the U.S. Army Air Forces beginning in 1942.

The Mustang saw extensive service during World War II. Its capabilities made it ideal for bomber escort in the European Theater of Operations. As the war progressed P-51s added a ground attack role. Despite the employment of newer jet aircraft, Mustangs were also employed during the Korean War serving primarily in ground attack and reconnaissance roles.

The last Mustang to serve in the Air Force was retired from the West Virginia Air National Guard in 1957. A total of 15,875 Mustangs were built through its production history. Mustangs were flown by several foreign air forces, with active operations continuing to 1984. Additionally, civilian operators continue to fly Mustangs today.

Biography spotlight

Benjamin Delahauf Foulois in flying helmet.jpg

Major General Benjamin Delahauf Foulois (1879-1967) was an early aviation pioneer who rose to become a chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps. The son of a French immigrant, he was born and raised in Connecticut. He enlisted in the Army at age 18 to serve in the Spanish–American War. After just a few months he was separated because of disease he had picked up in Puerto Rico. He re-enlisted in 1899 and was sent to the Philippines where he received a commission as a Second Lieutenant. Foulois believed that the new airplane would replace the cavalry for reconnaissance and in 1908 transferred into the Signal Corps.

Foulois conducted the acceptance test for the Army's first aircraft, a Wright Model A, in 1909. He participated in the Mexican Expedition from 1916-17 and was part of the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I where he was responsible for the logistics and maintenance of the U.S. air fleet. During World War I he and Billy Mitchell began a long and hostile relationship over the direction of military aviation and the best method to get there. After the war he served as a military attaché to Germany where he gathered a great deal of intelligence on German aviation. He later went on to command the 1st Aero Squadron and ultimately commanded the Air Corps.

He retired in 1935 as part of the fallout from the Air Mail scandal. Foulois continued to advocate for a strong air service in retirement. In 1959, at the invitation of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Foulois began touring Air Force bases advocating national security. He died of a heart attack on 25 April 1967 and is buried in his home town of Washington, Connecticut.

Did you know...?

1st aero.jpg

... that the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron is the oldest unit in the U.S. Air Force? It has been active since 5 March 1913. From that time, the squadron has participated in the Mexican Expedition, World War I, and World War II and has operated 45 different airframes.

Quotes

The most important thing is to have a flexible approach.... The truth is no one knows exactly what air fighting will be like in the future. We can't say anything will stay as it is, but we also can't be certain the future will conform to particular theories, which so often, between the wars, have proved wrong.

— Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF

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