Noble Eagle Reaches 55K

Two F-15 pilots with the Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing flying an Operation Noble Eagle intercept mission in late December coincidently completed the operation’s 55,000th sortie, the Continental US NORAD Region reported Jan. 14. Additionally, since the operation...

Ask the Right Question

In a response to a Stars and Stripes article titled "Foregone Fighter," Gen. Roger Brady, commander of US Air Forces in Europe, writes that the primary arguments—cost and relevance to today's fight—against investing in fifth-generation fighters overlooks a paramount question: "What does the Air Force do for the nation?" He acknowledges that USAF is part of the joint team in this regard, but he writes that the "Air Force-unique contribution" delivers "more lethality, precisely where it is needed, faster, over greater distances, and [can] sustain it longer than any other force." He quotes retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who says that even in the ground force-dominant current fight "airpower is the glue that holds together the war effort." Brady reminds us that while no nation yet has produced fighters equal to the F-22 and F-35, "they are developing them and will field them." (Alternate link to Brady's response)

Look at Requirements

Among design requirements for the F-35 strike fighter is one to be "twice as reliable and take half the time to repair as the airplanes it is replacing," according to a statement Lockheed Martin issued late last week in response to numerous news reports that the Navy believes the F-35 life-cycle costs may be too high. Lockheed noted that the F-35 program differs from previous fighter programs because "supportability is a major contractual requirement … with half of the program's key performance parameters dedicated to sustainment." The company currently is in negotiations with the Pentagon over program restructuring, but it believes that the figures cited in Naval Air Systems Command's "leaked internal document" "are not definitive" and do not reflect the results of the "annual detailed life cycle cost estimating process which involves all the participating services."

Ongoing Response for Haiti

Ongoing Response for Haiti: Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, JCS Chairman, told reporters (transcript) Friday that the US military is working with other US entities and international relief efforts to provide support to the people in Haiti...

Where Do You Stand on NGB?

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) suggested to Adm. Robert Willard, US Pacific Command boss, last week during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on potential Chinese security threats that the Pentagon should “put even more emphasis on the need for the...

The Less Is More Approach

Defense Secretary Bob Gates frequently has chastised his military leaders for wanting to pursue exquisite weapons when he believes a 75 or 80 percent capability will do just fine. (For background, read Air Force Magazine Editor in Chief Bob Dudney’s...

Predator Crashes

Air Forces Central announced the crash of an MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted vehicle in southern Afghanistan about 1 a.m. local time Jan. 15, saying it was not due to hostile fire. There were also no reports of civilian injuries or...

SBIRS Meets Ground Segment Milestones

The Air Force and Lockheed Martin have reached two key milestones with the ground systems segment of the Space Based Infrared System. The SBIRS team last fall completed thermal vacuum testing for the first SBIRS geosynchronous satellite, GEO-1, and expects...

Space and Missile Pioneer Dies

Retired Col. Albert J. “Red” Wetzel, who led the Titan missile program, died Dec. 26 in New Orleans at age 91. Wetzel entered pilot training in 1942, flying a number of aircraft, including the B-47 in Strategic Air Command. He...

Air Sorties from SWA 011910

Air Sorties in Southwest Asia, Jan. 12-13, 2010 Sortie Type OIF OEF OIF/OEF Total YTD ISR 45 66 111 756 CAS/Armed Recon 22 152 174 1,224 Airlift 325 325 2,030 Air refueling 88 88 558 Total 698 4,568 OIF=Operation Iraqi...