SSgt. Thomas Jenkins, the noncommissioned officer in charge of weather systems with the 47th Operations Support Squadron’s weather flight at Laughlin AFB, Tex., has developed a mathematical formula that significantly improves the Air Force’s ability to predict dust storms. During a recent deployment to Iraq, Jenkins spent five months researching a way to improve the dismal 10 percent to 15 percent accuracy rate of predicting such storms, which not only can hamper a mission, but also impede pilots’ vision. Jenkins’ formula raises the accuracy rate to 80 percent. “In the field, it will make sure [ground troops] will have air support for whatever mission they are on, and [they will] have it more reliably,” he said. The Air Force is expected to begin training personnel on the new method soon. The Army and National Weather Service reportedly also have interest in adopting it. (Laughlin report by SrA. Scott Saldukas)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.