Air Frame: Year in Review, August 2011: Three air commandos and 27 additional US service members were killed in a Chinook helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011. On Aug. 24, the Air Force completed the KC-46A tanker’s integrated baseline review, outlining the way ahead for the program. Two days later, USAF officially unveiled the F-35A strike fighter at Eglin AFB, Fla., home of the initial F-35 joint schoolhouse. That same day, several F-35s flew from Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Fort Worth, Tex., to Eglin, shown here. Also in August, the Air Force temporarily lifted an F-22 grounding order so Raptors based at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., could escape Hurricane Irene. The Air National Guard’s C-27J transports began operating in Afghanistan for the first time. And, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 into law. Air Force photo
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.