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


F-15C Eagle from the 67th Fighter Squadron at Kadena AB is refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron .jpg

Photo credit: Tech Sergeant Angelique Perez25 August 2009. USAF photo.
Airmen in the field


photo source: USAF Public Affairs

Article spotlight

CAP Gippsland GA8 Airvan at West Houston Airport.jpg

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). It was created on 1 December 1941 by Administrative Order 9, with Major General John F. Curry as the first CAP national commander. Civil Air Patrol is credited with sinking at least two German U-boats during World War II. Today, CAP is no longer called on to destroy submarines, but is instead is dedicated to education and national service. It is a volunteer organization with a strongly aviation-minded membership. It performs four key missions: emergency services (including search and rescue), aerospace education for youth and the general public, cadet programs, and homeland security.

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

F-84E of 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron in Korea.jpg

The Republic Aviation Company F-84 Thunderjet was an American-built turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Air Force proposal for a daytime fighter, the F-84 flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948 Air Force review declared it unable to execute any aspect of its intended mission and considered cancelling the program. The aircraft was not considered fully operational until the 1949 F-84D model and the design matured only with the definitive F-84G introduced in 1951. In 1954, the straight-wing Thunderjet was joined by the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak fighter and RF-84F Thunderflash photo reconnaissance aircraft.

The Strategic Air Command had F-84 Thunderjets (F-84s and RF-84s) in service from 1948 through 1957.

The Thunderjet became the Air Force's primary strike aircraft during the Korean War, flying 86,408 missions, dropping 111,171,000 pounds (50,427 tons) of bombs and 12,258,000 pounds (5,560 tons) of napalm, and destroying 60% of all ground targets in the war as well as eight Soviet-built MiG fighters. Over half of the 7,524 F-84s produced served with NATO nations.

The F-84 was the first aircraft to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team, the first production fighter aircraft to utilize in-flight refueling, and the first single-seat fighter capable of carrying a nuclear bomb.

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 1916-1917 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...?

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...that Colonel Gerald Gustafson was awarded the Air Force Cross for supporting another Air Force pilot despite being wounded and flying a severely damaged F-105 Thunderchief? Colonel Gustafson was shot down twice during the course of the Vietnam War and safely recovered both times.

Quotes

The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.

- General Omar Bradley, speech given 11 November 1948

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