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

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Photo credit: Staff Sergeant Jerry Fleshman, 7 April 2009. USAF photo.
Fill 'er Up

photo source: Air Force Link</large>

Article spotlight

United States Air Force Memorial was designed by James Ingo Freed under direction of the Air Force to honor the men and women who have served in the Air Force and its predecessors. The memorial consists of three 270 foot, stainless steel arcs reminiscent of the Thunderbirds "bomb burst" maneuver. The memorial also contains four statues by Zenos Frudakis depicting an Air Force Honor Guard formation. The memorial is located on Fort Myer, Virginia near The Pentagon.

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.

News Archive

Aerospace vehicle spotlight

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The AGM-129 ACM (Advanced Cruise Missile) is the United States Air Force's current nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile, replacing the earlier AGM-86 ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile). The AGM-129 includes a new inertial guidance system, a laser-based mapping system, and a number of stealth features to improve accuracy and penetration ability.

The AGM-129 is currently only carried by the B-52H Stratofortress, although capable of being utilized by other aircraft. The B-52 uses external wing mounts that give six missiles per launcher per wing for a twelve AGM-129 missile payload.

Biography spotlight

Maj Nicole Malachowski, USAF Thunderbirds.jpg

Lieutenant Colonel Nicole Malachowski (b. 1974) grew up in southern Nevada. While in high school she joined the Civil Air Patrol and was active in Air Force Junior ROTC. After graduating from high school she enrolled at the United States Air Force Academy where she graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Management with a minor in French.

Lieutenant Colonel Malachowski trained as a F-15E Strike Eagle pilot. She has served overseas at RAF Lakenheath, England, Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, and in the United States at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Additionally, she has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2005 she was selected to become the first female pilot for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team. Upon completion of her tour with the Thunderbirds Major Malachowski was accepted into the White House Fellows program. She currently has more than 1,800 flying hours including more than 1,000 hours in the F-15E Strike Eagle.

Did you know...?

Toast to General Duncan McNabb.jpg

...that the Order of the Sword was first awarded in May 1967? It is the highest honor the Air Force enlisted corps can bestow upon an individual. The Order of the Sword is typically presented to senior Air Force officers in recognition of their dedicated service.


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High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

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