Digital Air Force Magazine
Deborah Lee James
Senate Armed Services
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
Senate Armed Services
Gen. Larry O. Spencer
Vice Chief of Staff
House Armed Services, Readiness
Defense Writers Group
Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr.
Commandant, Coast Guard
Undersecretary of the Air Force
Senator James Inhofe, Congressman Buck McKeon
Ranking Member, SASC, Chairman, HASC
From the AIR FORCE Archive
10 Years Ago
25 Years Ago
The Myth of Overkill
An examination of the theories and proposals of Prof. Seymour Melman of Columbia University.
Last fall a B-58 and a SAC combat crew demonstrated the capabilities of a remarkable airplane and the versatility of our nuclear striking command by making the longest supersonic flight in aviation history.
Friday April 18, 2014
representatives interested in building or equipping the Air Force's next
generation JSTARS gathered at Hanscom AFB, Mass., with their factory-fresh business
jets for an industry day earlier this month. "The purpose of the event was
to open a dialogue with industry representatives and engage in discussion about
the results of the latest JSTARS request for information," said Maj. Kate
Stowe, JSTARS recapitalization airframe and avionics team leader. The Air Force
is seeking an aerial refueling capable business-sized jet, capable of carrying
a 10-to-13 man crew, according to the release. Aircraft
builders Bombardier and Gulfstream exhibited potential JSTARS platforms, and
more than 35 companies participated in the event, which took place April 7-10, states
the release. "We received some great technical information to help us move
forward and identify the solutions for the program," said Stowe. The Air
Force is still in the market research stage of recapitalizing
the legacy E-8C with a 16-strong bizjet fleet by 2022.
testing of the B-1B Lancer's modernized cockpit software kicked off at Edwards
AFB, Calif., at the beginning of this month. The Sustainment Block 16A software
package fully enables the Lancer's recently added glass
cockpit and Link 16 data sharing capacity, according to an April 15 Edwards'
"Major software enhancements include improved integration between the B-1
offensive avionics system, various onboard sensors, and the data link, which
results in improved battle space awareness for both the B-1 aircrew and fellow
strike package assets," said 419th Flight Test Squadron Pilot Capt. Carlos
Pinedo. The software test effort "builds on and merges" testing of
the B-1's Intergrated Battle Station, glass cockpit, new inertial navigation,
and improved radar, he added. Testers at Edwards plan to incrementally test
four sequential software packages, wrapping up integration trials by the end of
February 2015, states the release.
F-35 strike fighter will make its international debut in Britain this summer at
the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in July, according to the
Royal Air Force. "It is entirely fitting that the F-35’s first stop
outside the United States will be in the UK," said British Defense
Minister Phillip Hammond in an April 17 RAF release.
"The US and the UK have worked closely together on the F-35. ... We are
the only country that is a first tier partner in the project." Britain
currently has three F-35s supporting RAF and Royal Navy pilot training at the
multinational schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla. The RAF plans to activate the
fabled "Dambusters" of World War II as its first F-35B unit at RAF
Marham, England, in 2018. The Lightning II also will make an appearance at the
Farnborough International Air Show later the same month, states the release.
Air Frame: Capt. Michael Kerschbaum (left), a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot with the
154th Operations Group, and 1st Lt. Renn Nishimoto, a pilot with the 203rd Air
Refueling Squadron, prepare to land a KC-135 at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii,
on April 2, 2014. Two B-52s from Barksdale AFB, La., and two B-2s from White
AFB, Mo., flew round trip, non-stop from their respective home stations to
training ranges in Hawaii. (Air
Force photo by SSgt. Nathan Allen) (Click on image above to reach wallpaper version.)
Textron AirLand’s Scorpion light attack,
intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance aircraft has completed 50 flight
hours since flight testing began in December 2013, states a release
from the firm. Recent tests garnered a raft of data on the airframe’s
performance at various speeds, altitudes, and climb rates, as well as the
responsiveness of the jet’s avionics and flight controls. The jet topped out at
.72 Mach, and pilots report the aircraft is agile and features plenty of power
and good low speed characteristics. “The
aircraft systems have performed well within the expected parameters, with very
few issues,” said Scorpion’s chief engineer Dale Tutt. “This is a
significant benefit of using mature, non-developmental systems.” The
flight control systems are powered by dual hydraulic systems based on the
Citation X business jet, and also have performed well to-date, states the
release. The Scorpion testing program is on track to complete 300-400 test hours
this year, or about 150 flights. The program also is expected to include
international test flights, pending approvals. (See also Scorpion’s
F-22 Raptors and F-15 Eagles based at Kadena AB,
Japan, trained on defense counter-air and multi-lateral integration operations
with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force earlier this month. It was the first time
such training was conducted since the F-22s arrived from
Langley AFB, Va., in January. “Nothing but goodness can come out of [joint
training], because if we do end up going to war, that’s the way we are going to
fight,” said Lt. Col. Darren Gray, 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-22
instructor pilot, in an April 16 release.
Although the training was a success, communication between US and Japanese
force is sometimes challenging. "Because communication is so important in
air-to-air combat, where everything is so dynamic, if you say the wrong thing
at the wrong time, it could have catastrophic results and can lead to mission
failure,” said Gray. He added, “If I tried to fly while speaking Japanese, we’d
have no chance at success ... They executed the contracts and did everything we
expected them to do, and they are professional aviators.”
aerospace firm ATK announced a $178 million deal on Wednesday for composite components
of Atlas V and Delta IV rockets utilized by the Air Force for launch
activities. The initial contract includes deliveries of composite structures
beginning this fiscal year and continuing to early 2018, with an option period
to include deliveries in Fiscal 2017 through Fiscal 2019, according to an April
statement. The order also includes various composite structures for both
launch vehicles, including fairings, payload adapters and diaphragms,
interstages, nose cones, and structures that provide main engine thermal and
aerodynamic protection. All components will be fabricated in ATK’s Large Structures Center of Excellence in Iuka, Miss. “ATK’s continued involvement in
the Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles is a strong demonstration of our
workforce’s engineering and manufacturing abilities,” said Joy de Lisser, vice
president and general manager of ATK’s aerospace structures division.
Researchers at the
711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, are developing
sensors to analyze a person’s “physical and cognitive performance” by measuring
electrolytes from the person’s sweat, announced Air Force officials. The
Band-Aid-like sensor will be used as “fuel gauges” to determine stress,
dehydration, and other health-related issues, according to an April 15 release. “Our vision is that every
airman at the beginning of their week, will be able to put on an electronic Band-Aid
that will quantify everything about them,” said Dr. Josh Hagen, lead
researcher. Joined with researchers at
the University of Cincinnati, the team “would track [patients’] hydration
levels by measuring electrolytes coming out of their sweat, and would
alert them if they were trending in a direction of dehydration or heat stress,”
states the release.
In More Depth
Fifteen years ago, the space launch business needed to overcome costly failures and setbacks. What followed was an unprecedented string of successes.
Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, is trying to “develop a cost-conscious culture” through an initiative dubbed the “Road to a Billion and Beyond.”
In his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes the Air Force as “one of my biggest headaches”—a perception USAF leaders were never able to turn around during his tenure.
The Document File
Aircraft Accident Reports
10 Years Ago
Editorial: The Thirty Years’ War
The volunteer military has had its problems, but a conscript force would have even more.
Compressing the Kill Chain
The goal is to put weapons on time sensitive targets in “single-digit” minutes.
The Guard and Reserve Stand Fast
Guardsmen, Reservists, employers, and family members have stepped up to a bigger mission, but it has not been easy.
25 Years Ago
Editorial: Discriminate Deterrence
Russia's defense leaders are willing to take short-term risks in the hope that Gorbachev's economic reforms will sustain Soviet military power over the long term.
50 Years Ago
The Future of Manned Aircraft
In the debate over our strategic deterrent, manned aircraft are getting much the worse of the suppositions. Yet the new technology can be used to strengthen rather than weaken the arguments for manned aircraft.
The Great Deterrent Dialogue
Missiles, bombers, space weapons, arms control are all advanced as essential to deter general war. Many participants engaging in this debate are long on words, short on knowledge.