A Second X-37B

Boeing is already on contract to supply a second X-37B orbital test vehicle to the Air Force, and the service anticipates its maiden space mission sometime in 2011, Gary Payton, top space official in the Air Force Secretariat told reporters...

Doing More, Not Less

Asked whether the directive to avoid civilian casualties has reduced sortie numbers, Brig. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan, said, "We fly more now than we ever have." However, he told reporters Tuesday during a videoconference, "We have dropped fewer bombs since the tactical directive [issued in June 2009]." And, he said the number of aircraft shows of force has gone up in general, although the use of shows of force is dependent on locale because "every village needs a different solution." According to air operations data provided by Air Forces Central, US and NATO forces in Afghanistan flew 26,474 close air support sorties in 2009 compared to 19,092 in 2008, while the percentage of munitions expended per CAS sortie dropped from about 27 percent to 16 percent. As of March 31, that ratio is around seven percent. (Select airpower stats for Afghanistan) (Transcript of videoconference)

Liberty Aircraft Is “a Godsend”

That's how Brig. Gen. Steven Kwast describes the MC-12W Liberty Project Aircraft, which have operated in Afghanistan since late last year. In talking with reporters via videoconference Tuesday, the commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, explained that the MC-12 intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance turboprop aircraft "brings something we have not had before in the way it latches so many capabilities together." It provides real-time full-motion video and signals intelligence directly to ground forces. Kwast said, "I cannot tell you how happy the ground force commanders are to have that capability here," and noted, too, that "it's saving lives every time it flies." Kwast refrained from discussing how many MC-12s currently are in Afghanistan, but Air Force officials have said the service plans to have 24 there later this year. (Transcript of videoconference)

Ready to Meet 372 Requirements

Responding to Tuesday’s news that EADS North America does intend to compete the Airbus A330 for the KC-X tanker program, Boeing said in an April 20 statement: “Only Boeing can produce a tanker that will meet the Air Force’s 372...

Osprey Wreckage Destroyed

Brig. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander of USAF’s 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan, in a videoconference with reporters Tuesday confirmed that the investigation team reviewing the April 8 crash of the CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft had destroyed the wreckage after getting...

Ash Complicates Outgoing and Incoming

The ash spewing from the Icelandic volcano prompted Air Forces Central to temporarily designate Joint Base Balad, Iraq, as the aeromedical hub for medical evacuations from Afghanistan, changing the air routes that normally would have taken aeromedical aircraft to Germany....

New Rescue Tanker on Tap

Air Combat Command officials on April 19 witnessed rollout of a new rescue tanker at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga., facility. The HC-130J, which still must complete flight test before going to ACC later this year, is based on the Marine...

Shifting More MRO Support

According to a report by Flight Global, the Air Force not only plans to take on lead C-17 maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) work but also MRO for the F-22. USAF announced earlier this year that it would establish a...

Security Forces Airmen Receive Bronze Stars

The Air Force has awarded MSgt. David Barber and MSgt. Robert Rose Bronze Star Medals for their service while deployed to Kirkuk AB, Iraq. The two airmen deployed from the 78th Security Forces Squadron at Robins AFB, Ga. Barber led...

Air Sorties from SWA 041710

Air Sorties in Southwest Asia, April 17, 2010 Sortie Type OIF OEF OIF/OEF Total YTD ISR 27 45 72 6,540 CAS/Armed Recon 22 79 101 9,868 Airlift 187 187 18,138 Air refueling 41 41 4,522 Rescue 44 44 1,300 Total...