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The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is primarily responsible for aerial warfare, space warfare and cyber warfare. Initially part of the United States Army as the Army Air Forces, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military, equal to the Army and Navy, on September 18, 1947. It the youngest service branch in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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: USAF photo.
New Bomber


Article spotlight

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Operation Varsity was the airborne component of Operation Plunder, the allied invasion of Germany on 24 March 1945. A total of 1,702 aircraft and 1,320 gliders, including C-46 Commandos, C-47 Skytrains, C-54 Skymasters, CG-4 Wacos, Airspeed Horsas, and General Aircraft Hamilcar dropped 16,607 members of the British 6th Airborne Division and American 17th Airborne Division. The operation was successful in establishing a bridgehead across the Rhine River aiding a wider Allied advance.

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

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The T-37 Tweet is a two-seat trainer aircraft. It was designed by Cessna in the mid-1950s in response to the USAF request for a jet trainer. The Cessna design featured twin jet propulsion and side-by-side seating to facilitate flight instruction. Production began in 1955 with the first aircraft entering operations in 1957. The aircraft earned the nickname, "Tweet," because of a constant high-pitch whistle emitted by the aircraft in flight.

The USAF acquired a total of 996 of the aircraft between 1955 and 1973. The Tweet has served as the USAF's basic flight trainer since its first employment. The T-37 was phased out of the inventory in mid-2009 and replaced by the T-6 Texan II for basic flight training.

Cessna did produce a weaponized model of the T-37 for foreign sales. A total of 273 of these 'C' models were built through 1975.

Biography spotlight

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Francis Stanley "Gabby" Gabreski (born Franciszek Gabryszewski; January 28, 1919 – January 31, 2002) was the top American fighter ace in Europe during World War II, a jet fighter ace in Korea, and commanded numerous fighter squadrons, groups, and wings during his Air Force career.

Assigned as a P-40 pilot with the 45th Fighter Squadron of the 15th Fighter Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, 2nd Lt. Gabreski witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but did not become airborne in time to engage the attackers.

In March 1943 Gabreski became part of the 56th Fighter Group, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt, and in May was promoted to Major and named commander of the 61st Fighter Squadron, which included six Polish nationals as pilots in 1944. He made his 28th kill on July 5, 1944, passing Eddie Rickenbacker's record from World War I to become America's top ace (although several pilots passed him by the end of the war).

Col. Gabreski flew combat again during the Korean War, as commander of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, piloting an F-86 Sabre. He was credited with 6.5 Mig-15 kills, making him one of seven U.S. pilots to be aces in more than one war (the others are Col. Harrison Thyng, Col. James P. Hagerstrom, Major William T. Whisner, Col. Vermont Garrison, Major George A. Davis, Jr., and Lt.Col. John F. Bolt, USMC).

He ended his career as a commander of several tactical and air defense wings, his last assignment being commander of the 52d Fighter Wing at Suffolk County Air Force Base in Westhampton Beach, New York.

Did you know...?

...of the three active bombers in the Air Force fleet, the B-52 Stratofortress, the B-1 Lancer, and the B-2 Spirit, all were designed to be capable of delivering strategic nuclear weapons, but only the B-52 has ever actually dropped a nuclear bomb (on 21 May 1956 during Operation Redwing at the Pacific Proving Grounds)?

Quotes

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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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