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 force 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.
Photo credit: Staff Sergeant Jerry Fleshman, 7 April 2009. USAF photo.
Fill 'er Up
photo source: Air Force Link</large>
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 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.
The Air Force comes in every morning and says, 'Bomb, bomb, bomb' … And then the State Department comes in and says, 'Not now, or not there, or too much, or not at all.'
- - Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States
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