Sather Dispatch

Baghdad, Iraq— The former Sather Air Base is essentially a fortified ghost town with only a few hundred US service members remaining. Since the State Department took over the base on Dec. 1, the official name has changed to the...

End of the Line

The final F-22 rolled off the assembly line on Tuesday during a ceremony at Lockheed Martin's production plant in Marietta, Ga. This F-22, tail number 4195, completes the Air Force's order for 187 production Raptors, far fewer than the hundreds of airframes envisioned when the first Raptor came off the line in April 1997. Shifting priorities and budget decisions whittled down that number over the years. Aircraft No. 4195 now moves into production flight check before its delivery to the Air Force next year, stated Lockheed in a release. The company built 195 F-22s on the line in all, including eight test airplanes. Factoring the two operational F-22s that have crashed, the Raptor fleet now stands at 185 aircraft. The Air Force is preserving the tooling used to manufacture the F-22s, even though there are currently no plans to restart the production line, reported Reuters. With the F-22 line shuttering, the F-35 strike fighter remains the only US fifth generation fighter in production. (See also Atlanta Journal-Constitution report.)

A Remarkable Rescue Effort

The Air Force’s first Advanced Extremely High Frequency military communications satellite looked like a goner just days after its launch on Aug. 14, 2010. The $2 billion spacecraft’s main propulsion subsystem failed as controllers tried to start transferring it into...

Reaper Crashes in Seychelles

An unarmed Air Force MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft crashed Tuesday at the Seychelles International Airport on the island of Mahe near the capital Victoria, announced USAF officials in a brief statement. There were no reported injuries. US officials notified...

The Long Recess is Over

A group of more than 200 Afghans and coalition air advisors attended the ceremony at Shindand Air Base marking the start of the first undergraduate pilot training held exclusively in Afghanistan in more than 30 years. The first class, consisting...

Small Bomb’s Seeker Demonstrated

Raytheon announced Tuesday that it completed a series of captive flight tests of the Small Diameter Bomb II’s tri-mode seeker, successfully demonstrating that the seeker could acquire and track moving vehicles. These results set the stage for a free-flight test...

Enter the Frugal Herk

Lockheed Martin announced that it will begin offering a low-cost variant of the C-130J early next year that is specifically designed for international customers with lower budgets and less intensive mission needs. With a “significantly lower price,” the new C-130XJ...

Gifts under the Silk

Christmas began early on the South Pacific islands of Fais, Ngulu Atoll, and Ulithi Atoll in Micronesia. For the 60th year running, airmen participated in Operation Christmas Drop, a week-long effort organized by private volunteers and US service members to...