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Last May 2, 2012, the company’s F-22 Raptor Program Manager Jeff Babione handed over a ceremonial key for the last Raptor to the US Air Force (USAF) Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz who then handed it over to pilot Lt Col Paul “Max” Moga, who then passed it onto his crew chief, Staff Sgt Damon Crawford. USAF dignitaries attended the event including Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Bob Stevens, and Generals Mike Hostage, Edward Rice and Gary North.
“The delivery represents an important element in our overall modernisation effort,” Schwartz says. “We continue to focus on ensuring that these capabilities will help shape the future security environment, not just respond to them.”
“If someone had told me in 2004, when I first started flying the Raptor, that I would have the honor of flying the last production jet out of Marietta, I’d have never believed them,” says Moga, commander of 525th FS, who will fly the jet to Alaska. 3rd Wg Cdr Col Dirk “Stuff” Smith will fly tail 4193 Elemendorf-Richardson.
“The F-22 weapon system is a testament to this country’s industrial strength, technological power and aviation ingenuity. Any line worker, engineer or supervisor that was involved in building the Raptor should feel an immense amount of pride in what they have accomplished. It is far and away the most lethal fighter aircraft ever built – a fact that will unfortunately, but most certainly, be proven in combat some day,” Moga added. “Rest assured…the F-22 has and will save lives.” Moga praises those who built the powerful twin-engined stealth fighter.
The F-22 Raptor aircraft served as an air superiority fighter against the Soviet Air Force. This aircraft is capable of ground attack, electronic warfare and signals intelligence roles. F-22 Raptor is a combination of stealth, maneuverability, integrated avionics and improved supportability. It performs both air-to- air and air-to-ground missions, making it an essential property to USAF.
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Lockheed Martin celebrates the delivery of the 4500th unit of the F-16 jet model. It is such a huge milestone for Lockheed Martin and Fort Worth, where the jet planes are made.
The F-16 is considered the best combat airplane of the jet age. It is the foremost warplane of the United States Air Force and 25 other nations. The 4500th plane is bound for Morocco. Almost half of all the F-16 that was built was ordered by foreign nations.
“It’s the best air-to-air fighter. Then it proved to be the most adaptable plane for ground attack missions as well,” said Pierre Sprey, a former civilian weapons analyst in the Pentagon.
Apart from its capabilities, the F-16 stands out for being a low-cost and problem-free program. Unlike other jet programs like F-35 jet fighter, the F-16 was designed and built quickly, passed performance test readily and did not suffer from technical delays or cost overruns. It is a simple and inexpensive plane that was very capable of doing its job.
The F-16 is also very significant to the economy of the community around Fort Worth. The plant employs thousands of employees who had built their career and raised their families thanks to F-16. Small business have thrived by supplying components and services to Lockheed and General Dynamics.
The success of the F-16 program is a source of great pride from the men who first conceptualized it and to every hand that worked on an F-16 jet plane.
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News source: www.star-telegram.com
Air Force, News F-16 Fighter, F-16 Fighting Falcon, f-16 model plane, foreign air forces, foreign jet models, Foreign Military Aircraft Models, jet fighter, jet fighter model planes, jet fighters, KF-10 fighters, South Korea, US Air Force, US jet fighter, usaf f-16 falcon
US Air Forces and their South Korean counter-part conducted a large-scale joint exercise over the week-end. South Korea and US frequently participated in joint exercises in the past, but this is the first time where the jet fighters were fully decked with weapons and equipment similar to a real wartime operation.
The jet fighters were fully armed and they were deployed in an airstrip to fly their sorties. Ten South Korean KF-10 fighters and 50 F-16 fighters participated in the exercise and it includes 400 pilots and maintenance staff. The drill was conducted in a Gunsan air base located at the North Jeolla Provinc, South Korea.
The exercise drill was conducted in order to practice both factions in arming themselves and prepare their units in the shortest time possible in case of an invasion from North Korea or other provocations to war. The jet fighters were loaded with AIM-120 air-to-air missiles and MK-82 air-to-ground bombs. They are ordered to attack major enemy targets when the real operation comes.
According to Maj. Oh Chung-won, officer in-charge of the South Korean forces, “The drill was very helpful in establishing speedy and effective S. Korea and US air capabilities in wartime, we will further boost our combined combat power by resolving shirt-coming identified by the drill.”
North Korea had earlier expressed their irritation on the continued US presence in the Korean peninsula.
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An F-35A Conventional Take-off and Landing aircraft conducted the first F-35 external weapons test mission last week at the Edwards Air Base in California. The mission further push the program’s flight test envelope.
For this mission, the F-35A carried an air-to-air AIM-9X missiles on the outboard wing stations. It also flew with two internal 2,000 pounds guided bombs (GBU-31) and two advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AIM-120) located in the two internal weapon bays of fighter jet. Four external pylons that can carry 2,000 pounds air-to-ground weapons were additionally mounted to the F-35. However, no weapons were launched during the mission.
The F-35 is a 5th generational multi-role fighter by Lockheed Martin and part of the Joint Strike Fighter family. It is part of the US Air Force most expensive defensive program.
The F-35 was designed to carry up to a maximum of 18,000 pounds load. It has ten weapon stations – four of them are in two internal weapons bay and the other six are located on the wings.
source: www.defensetalk.com, www.dailytech.com
Air Force, News A-10, A-10 Thunderbolt, A-10 Thunderbolt II, A-10 Thunderbolt II model plane, A-10 Wing Replacement Program, Air Force, aircraft model, airplane model, Boeing, Fairchild Republic, Hill Air Force Base, Thunderbolt, US Air Force
The first re-winged A-10 Thunderbolt II of the US Air Force finally rolled-out at the Hill Air Force Base. It is the first aircraft out of the 233 units that Boeing are commissioned to fix up with new set of wings. All the re-winged aircraft is set to be delivered by 2018.
According to Mark Bass, Maintenance, Modification, & Upgrades vice-president and general manager for Boeing Defense, Space and Security, “This enhanced wing assembly will give the A-10 new strength and a new foundation for its continued service into 2040.” He adds that Boeing is committed to the US Air Force to ensure that the A-10 is always ready and capable to serve.
The A-10 Wing Replacement Program is one of the aviation company’s foray into non-Boeing platform work. The A-10 was originally developed by Fairchild Republic. The wings sets are manufactured in Boeing’s production facility in Georgia with the help of Korean Aerospace Industries. The wing sets are then delivered to Air Force’s Ogden Air Logistic Center.
Boeing delivered the first wing set in March 2011. After mating to the aircraft and after a series of testing, it took the first test flight in November last year. And now, the A-10 Thuderbolt II and its new set of wings are ready for service.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II was introduced to the Air Force service in March 1977. It provides close-air support and attacks tanks and other ground vehicles. It is expected to be in service until 2028.
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One of the problems with the Air Force’s drone fleet? There aren’t enough humans to operate the flying robots. And it’s contributing to a surprising Air Force decision to buy fewer drones — even as its own budget plan calls for the robots to get much busier.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced weeks ago that the armed, unmanned Predators and Reapers will fly more often in the coming few years, going up to 65 combat air patrols, or CAPs — teams of up to four flying robots — “with a surge capacity of 85.” That’s up from 61 today. But the Air Force’s budget figures, released on Monday, show that the flyboys will slow down their drone purchases, rather than increase them.
Under last year’s defense budget, the Air Force bought 48 Reapers, the bigger, faster, more lethal descendant of the Predator. (The Air Force stopped buying Predators in 2010.) In the proposed budget, the Air Force wants to buy half as many — 24 armed, spying drones. And its budget chief, Maj. Gen. Edward Bolton Jr., was unsure when the service will start buying the next-generation, jet-powered, stealthy Avenger drone in earnest.
There are a couple reasons for the shift. One is that there aren’t enough airmen who know how to remotely pilot the things. Another is that the Air Force says it can do more stuff with fewer drones. And of course, there’s the budget crunch.
“It turned out, when the [Pentagon's Joint Requirements Oversight Council] established this past year the requirement of 65 CAPs, we determined we could meet that with this [reduced] production rate,” Bolton told Danger Room during a Monday afternoon briefing.
After the briefing, Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick, the Air Force’s public-affairs chief, told Danger Room that the reduced Reaper purchase has to do with flesh-and-blood concerns — namely a lack of airmen trained to fly the drones and analyze the data the robots collect.
Well, sort of, clarifies Jennifer Cassidy, an Air Force spokeswoman. “Manning was a consideration in reducing the MQ-9 Reaper purchases for [the next fiscal year], but not the only consideration,” Cassidy emails Danger Room. “The MQ-9 crew production rate and the attrition rate of the [Predator] allowed the reduction of MQ-9 purchases [next year] without impact to the Air Force ramp-up to 65 CAPs.”
But the Air Force has acknowledged it’s got a people problem with its unpeopled planes. “Our No. 1 manning problem in the Air Force is manning our unmanned platforms,” Gen. Philip Breedlove, the vice chief of staff, recently told the Los Angeles Times.
In recent years, the Air Force relaxed its restrictions on who can fly its drones, in order to make up the shortfall; there are pilots now flying Reapers who have never grabbed the throttle of a traditional aircraft. But it hasn’t been enough. Contractors are brought in to the drone bases to remotely pilot the Predators and Reapers, as well as to help analyze the endless hours of full-motion video they collect. Thousands of airmen have been shifted into new jobs, in order to better scour all the video.
Absent a big crash program to train up new drone experts– or switch to the Army’s preferred method of using pasty, video-gaming teenagers to pilot their robot planes — the manpower problem is likely to get worse. In the next few years, the sensor and video packages carried by Air Force drones are going to get more sophisticated, like when the panopticon Gorgon Stare spy suite comes online. And the Air Force will cut 9,900 personnel over the next year, although it’s unclear what specialties the cashiered airmen will have performed.
When top Pentagon officials like former Defense Secretary Bob Gates browbeat the Air Force into accepting 65 unmanned CAPs, top service officials complained that there was no formal “requirement” for the drones — no way of knowing when it had satisfied the other services’ need for robotic eyes in the sky. Even drone-backers at the top of the Air Force thought all those patrols were overkill. So it’s not surprising that they chose to slow the rate of drone buys, when budgets got tight.
Instead, the Air Force’s priority future upgrades and purchases are all in manned planes. Upgrading the software on the F-22 Raptor, even as it’s got big problems with its oxygen systems. Enhancing the radar on F-15s. Extending the service life of F-16s. Buying 19 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, even as they develop 13 expensive new flaws. An arguable exception is that the service’s desired next-generation long range bomber won’t always be piloted by a human being; it’s “optionally manned,” as the Air Force calls it.
But a recent congressional study obtained by Danger Room explains the Air Force’s preference for manned planes. About 40 percent of the air fleet is robotic. Yet over 90 percent of the Air Force’s procurement money is spent on planes with a human in the cockpit. Of course, part of the allure of drones is that they are cheap. And obviously, drones are the weapon of choice for the Obama administration’s Shadow Wars against terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Asked by Danger Room, Bolton said that the new budget figures “should not” be interpreted as a sign that the Air Force prefers its manned planes.
“This budget really is a manifestation of the strategy that was laid out by Secretary Panetta on the 26th of January,” Bolton said. “And so our real challenge within this budget was to first determine how we could build a budget that could implement that strategy, and then secondly, how could we do that within the necessary physical constraints as based upon the guidance of the Budget Control Act passed to us by [the White House].”
Except Panetta was clear that day that the Air Force would “provide unmanned capabilities through their operators as well” — and would increase its Predator and Reaper flights. The robots are still waiting for the humans to catch up.
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In order to meet the half-trillion dollar spending cuts, Pentegon cuts members of its fleet. This move left the tactical air force with limited and aging fleet. The tactical air force are the jets that support and protect ground troops as well as strike difficult subjects.
Retired fighter pilots are worried about the situation of “TacAir.” Reduced budget means that no new jets will replace the airplanes that had been in service since 1970s. It also makes the US Airforce vulnerable and inferior against rising military power like China, who just acquired its own J-20 stealth fighter.
Retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula said “With the exception of our airlift fleet, we have a geriatric Air Force. We’re flying fighters that are 30 years old. What people seem to miss is, a fighter is not like an airliner, where you take off from Point A and go to Point B. Our pilots put six to nine [gravitational forces] on these things every day.”
Gen. Deptula was an F-15 Eagle pilot and Operation Desert Storm war planner. He now heads an aerospace company. He illustrated the danger of elderly jet fighters by sighting the 2007 event when an Air National Guard F-15C, the premier air superiority jet, broke apart in the sky during combat training. Fortunately, the pilot ejected safely.
Recently, the Airforce grounds the entire F-15 fleet due to a manufacturing flaw.
Compared to its 2001 fleet, the total number of Air Force fighters has reduced by nearly 25%. This includes the F-16 Falcons, F-15 Eagles, A-10 Thunderbolts and F-22 Raptors. Budget cuts will drive down the number even further. The Military is retiring over a hundred of A-10s and 21 F-16s. The tactical squadron will probably lose six to ten percent of its fighter planes when more fighter jets are retired due to old age.
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In the early hours of the morning of January 13, the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan is bursting with activity. Crew chiefs, support units and flyers are also busy making sure everything will go without a glitch in order to achieve the 10,000 flying-hour milestone of F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487.
F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487, nicknamed “487”, entered the service on 13 November 1990. Despite being younger than many F-15A or F-15C models, it is the first F-15 of any type to reach the 10,000 benchmark. The aircraft has served the country zealously being a veteran of numerous operations like Desert Storm, Deliberate Guard, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom.
This monumental achievement is shared by the entire 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. The 455th EAMXS includes the 335th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit and supporting units. For more than 21 years, over 1 million hours of inspection and repair had been performed by qualified maintenance technicians to ensure that the F-15E Strike Eagle 487 is ready and capable to do its assignment. The current crew chief all agree that good maintenance and support was essential for the “487” to gain this distinction. As the squadron’s flagship aircraft, the F-15E Strike Eagle 487 is a testament of the caliber of the former and current crew who maintains, supports and flies it. This milestone is a total team effort.
As a tribute to history, Lt. Col. David Moeller, the 335th Expeditionary Flying Squadron commander chose Capt. Ryan Bodenheimer, a 335th F-15E EFS pilot, and Capt. Erin Short, a 335th EFS weapons systems officer for the honor of flying the F-15E for its 10,000th flying-hour. “It just seemed appropriate that the longest flying F-15E be flown by the youngest flyers in the unit,” he said.
The F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 also has the sole distinction of being aircraft of its model to record an air-to-air kill.
Air Force, News C-5, C-5A, Lockheed Martin, Upgrade C-5As, US Air Force, USAF
The US Air Force (USAF) and Lockheed Martin are looking again at the possibility of upgrading older C-5As due to the great demands of the meeting cost and performance targets of the C-5B airlifter’s re-engine program.
Lt. Gen. Tom Owen, commander of Aerospace Systems Command and program executive officer for aircraft procurement and modernization said that “It’s a good idea, but we are in a very fiscally constrained environment.”
“The Defense Department will evaluate the option in future years, if the dollars are available,” said Owen, speaking at the Sept. 30 handover in Marietta, Georgia, of the first production C-5M upgraded under the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP).
Lockheed Martin says it needs long-lead funding in Fiscal 2014 to avoid a gap in the modification line after the last C-5B is upgraded, and to keep prices agreed upon with major suppliers locked in. These include General Electric for the new CF6-80C engines.
Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin vice president for C-5 programs said “As the aircraft proves itself, we are talking to the Air Force about the benefits of a single fleet.” The upgrade extends service life to at least 2040.
The three C-5Ms already in USAF service, the former RERP development aircraft, include a single upgraded C-5A. This is achieving the same performance and reliability as the two modified C-5Bs, according to Lockheed Martin.
Jeffrey Armentrout, business development manager for strategic airlift programs, says that re-engining the C-5 increases thrust by 22%, payload by 27% and range by 20%. Armentrout adds that the mission-capable rate is exceeding the 75% target.
The company has a $6-billion fixed-price production contract to upgrade 49 aircraft, including two C-5Cs, for a total of 52 C-5Ms. The Air Force also operates 59 C-5As, but plans to retire 22 in 2011-12 because of excess strategic airlift capacity.
Congress directed the USAF to study the potential for placing the retired aircraft with the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) or international coalition partners. A report will be submitted soon.
USAF C-5 aircraft
Mark Johnston, director of U.S. government air mobility programs, says that Lockheed has approached CRAF carriers, international air forces and foreign airlines informally and believes there is some interest in the excess C-5As. “We will know more in the next 6-12 months,” said Johnston.
Johnston also said that any CRAF airline that took C-5As “would be the first U.S.-flagged outsize-cargo carrier. That’s a unique capability.”
If operators can be found, Lockheed’s interest is in upgrading the retired aircraft with the $4.5 million Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) glass cockpit or $82 million RERP kit, for which AMP is a prerequisite.
Armentrout stated that modernization of the C-5Bs is planned to ramp up to 11 per year at Marietta, but there is excess capacity to upgrade another two aircraft each year for other potential operators.
A Defense Acquisition Board decision on full-rate production is set for Oct. 7. Martin says the program is meeting the “challenging” cost and schedule targets in the contract, with Lockheed seeing “significant” improvements in labor hours on the second and third production C-5Ms.
Upgrading the C-5B/Cs was justified on estimated net cost savings of $9 billion over the life of the program. Owen said, “We have confidence in the numbers used to show the aircraft’s increased capability and enhanced reliability provide a sound fiscal basis for the program,” adding that when it comes to the C-5As, “we will apply a similar method to see if investing more dollars in modernization is the right thing.”
Army, Blog Articles, News Biofuel, C-17 Globemaster III, c17, c17 globemaster, US Air Force, USAF
A C-17 Globemaster III flew on all engines using fuel infused with JP-8, biofuel derived in part from animal fat, and synthetic fuel derived from coal.
The 418th Flight Test Squadron conducted the flight test from Aug. 23 to 27; thus, reaching a new milestone in the US Air Force’s ongoing alternative fuels certification efforts. Also, the flight was a first for any Department of Defense aircraft where a 50 percent mix of JP-8 was blended with 25 percent renewable biofuel and 25 percent fuel derived from the Fischer-Tropsch process, which is essentially liquified coal or natural gas.
It was also the first time an aircraft from Edwards Air Force Base in California had used fuel derived from beef tallow, which is essentially waste animal fat.
Lt. Gen. Mark D. Shackelford the military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition said “The C-17 fleet is the biggest Air Force consumer of jet fuel annually,” adding “This is a big step forward in achieving the Air Force’s energy goal of increasing the available supply of fuel by acquiring half of the Air Force’s domestic jet fuel requirement from domestically derived, environmentally friendly alternative sources by 2016.”
The Air Force, for several years, has been looking at alternate sources of fuel to support their operations, said James Holther, a 418th FLTS project engineer for biofuel testing. “The first thing the Air Force did was look at Fischer-Tropsch fuels that use natural gas or coal as the feedstock, and this is just a continuation of that ongoing effort.”
The hydro-treated renewable jet fuel, or HRJ, used by the C-17 contains biomass that can be made from either animal fats or plant extracts such as camelina, a weed-like plant not used for food. The HRJ is blended with regular JP-8 jet fuel for the testing to gather data to support Air Force transport aircraft certification on alternative fuels from various feedstocks.
“When the certification effort is completed, it won’t matter what feed stock or process was used to make the fuel, we will simply call it JP-8,’” said Jeff Braun, the director of the Air Force Fuel Certification Office.
The testing process featured the C-17 flying with different combinations of HRJ and JP-8. The testing required the C-17 to perform several maneuvers at different altitudes such as decelerating and then accelerating, to see how the plane responds with the HRJ mixed in, Holther said.
The flight testing culminated Aug. 27 with the C-17 using a blend of HRJ: JP-8 and a Fischer-Tropsch fuel mixture: 50 percent JP-8, 25 percent HRJ and 25 percent Fischer-Tropsch. The potential use of alternative fuels could provide the Air Force with more options and greater flexibility in the future.
According to Holther, successful testing of the HRJ with the C-17 will be used by the AFCO office to support certification of the biofuel in military and commercial transport aircraft.