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

USAF F-16A F-15C F-15E Desert Storm edit2.jpg

Photo credit: USAF photo.
Aftermath

A 5-ship of F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons over the Kuwaiti oil fires following the Gulf War.

photo source: Air Force Link

Article spotlight

B-1 Bombers on Diego Garcia.jpg

Diego Garcia is an atoll located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, some 1,000 miles (1,600 km) south off India's southern coast. It is the largest atoll by land area of the Chagos Archipelago. It is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a British Overseas Territory. Since the enforced depopulation of Diego Garcia in the years leading up to 1973, it has been used as a military base by the United States. Diego Garcia hosts one of three Ground-based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) (others are on Kwajalein and Ascension Island) that assist the United States Space Surveillance Network.

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

Carl Spaatz, Air Force photo portrait, color.jpg

General Carl Andrew Spaatz (June 28, 1891–July 14, 1974) was an American general in World War II, and the first Chief of Staff of the US Air Force. Carl Andrew Spaatz was born on June 28, 1891, in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. He attended West Point, where he graduated in 1914. He served briefly in the infantry but was assigned to military aviation in October 1915.

Spaatz was appointed to the assistant to the Chief of Air Corps in October 1940 with the temporary rank of brigadier general. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor and America's entry into the war, he was named commander of Air Forces Combat Command in January 1942 and promoted to the temporary rank of major general (he was subsequently promoted to the permanent rank of colonel in September 1942). Spaatz received a temporary promotion to lieutenant general in March 1943; and a temporary promotion to General in March 1945.

In July 1945, President Truman nominated Spaatz for promotion to the permanent rank of major general. Spaatz was appointed commanding general of the Army Air Forces in February 1946 following the retirement of his friend General Henry H. Arnold. After the creation of the independent Air Force by the National Security Act of 1947 and Truman's Executive Order No. 9877, Spaatz was appointed as the first Chief of Staff of the new United States Air Force in September 1947.

Spaatz retired from the military at the rank of general in June 1948. He also served on the Committee of Senior Advisors to the Air Force Chief of Staff, from 1952 until his death. From 1948 until 1959, he served as National Commander of the Civil Air Patrol. In 1954, Spaatz was appointed to the congressional advisory board set up to determine the site for the new United States Air Force Academy. Spaatz died on July 14, 1974 and is buried at the Academy's cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Did you know...?

Globemaster drop.JPG

... that Operation Northern Delay was an airborne operation that tied down six Iraqi divisions in northern Iraq? The operation was conducted by C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 62d and 446th Airlift Wings dropping members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The crew of the lead aircraft was award the Mackay Trophy for "most meritorious flight of the year."

Quotes

Norton A Schwartz 2008 2.jpg

"This business – defending our Nation – is all about trust. The American people place special confidence in us:

- to do the right thing, even in the face of danger;
- to keep our Nation safe, even in times of struggle;
- and win our Nation’s wars, even against a most elusive foe."
Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, 30 Sept 2008

Schwartz, General Norton A. (September 30, 2008). "The Air Force: fighting today's war" (Purple Heart presentation ceremony, Walter Reed Army Medical Center). Air Force Link. United States Air Force. Retrieved December 15, 2008. 

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