Posts Tagged ‘Air Force’

F-22 Raptor — Major Acquisition Unlikely

February 25, 2009

According to Air Force Magazine, US Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz is noncommital on continued F-22 Raptor fighter jet acquisition, but his words sound bearish. Here’s what Air Force Magazine writes:

The Air Force’s new acquisition objective for the F-22 likely won’t be officially announced until President Obama decides whether to certify the airplane as a critical defense program that must be kept going, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told Washington-based defense reporters Feb. 17.

See the F-22 Raptor in action: History – Modern Marvels : F/A-22 Raptor

Lawmakers in both houses have urged the President to continue Raptor production in the short term, pending another review of the necessary total number. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has publicly stated the Air Force is looking at perhaps an additional 60 Raptors. Rumor has it that Mullen will make the final call.

Schwartz said the new number has been run through “an analysis which I feel is credible” and was arrived at “objectively.” He added that the Air Force is not afraid to revisit old assumptions and react to changes.

However, he dodged saying just what strategic considerations have changed that would make the F-22 less important in the future. The new number will be a “moderate risk” inventory, Schwartz said, and “I will be happy to defend the numbers when they become public.” However, he said there was “considerable skepticism about the validity” of the old Air Force target of 381 F-22s. “Maybe there will be equal skepticism of the new number,” he continued, “but it is my number and that is what we will use.”

US Airspace Vulnerable, Warns GAO

February 12, 2009

Air Sovereignty Alert at Risk: Eleven of the 18 sites across the nation at which the Air Force maintains fighter aircraft on 24-hour alert to protect US airspace “could be without viable aircraft by 2020,” if their legacy F-15s and F-16s are not replaced within the next few years, the GAO warns in a new report.

Also disconcerting is GAO’s assessment that the Air National Guard and active duty units at 14 of these sites will have to suspend ASA operations for some time between 2010 and 2020 as their legacy aircraft reach the end of their service life or as they transition to new fighters, writes Air Force Magazine.

While it may not solve the issue, GAO says formally elevating ASA to a steady-state mission may help to alleviate some of the personnel and equipment issues facing the units that are consistently executing the mission today in addition to their expeditionary rotations. This is something the Air Force tells GAO it hasn’t done yet because it is focused on other priorities such as overseas military operations, writes Air Force Magazine.

GAO also calls on NORAD to conduct routine risk assessment to determine ASA operational requirements. The fate of some Air Guard fighter units is a major looming issue for the Air Force as the service mulls phasing out many of its legacy fighters more quickly and questions still surround the ultimate size of the F-22 fleet and the production rates of the F-35. (For more, read The Hill’s report.)

See the F-22-Raptor’s power in action with the History – Modern Marvels : F/A-22 Raptor

Navy SEALS Train USAF Security Forces

February 5, 2009

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The 5th Security Forces Squadron is participating in a series of training classes, which began Jan. 5, in an Air Force-wide initiative to improve the tactics, awareness, vigilance and survivability of security forces at Minot AFB (North Dakota).

“This training better prepares us for any situation we may come across,” said Master Sgt. William Wilson, 5th SFS security forces training noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

The training, called the Air Force Blue Coach Initiative, began at Whiteman AFB, Mo., where an entire flight participated in an intense Navy SEALs training program. Airmen of all ranks trained in preparation for the Mighty Guardian exercise. During this exercise, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency brought in outside forces to test the Air Force’s defenses.

“This exercise was the first time these newly-learned tactics were employed and Air Force cops defeated the Marine Corps aggressors,” Sergeant Wilson added.

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Upon successful completion of the exercise, the Air Force decided this was training all security forces members needed. Subsequently, Brig. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, Director of Security Forces, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., directed all security forces units to undergo the training.

The first two bases in Air Combat Command to receive the training are Minot AFB and Whiteman AFB during the fiscal year 2009, Minot being the first of the two bases.

General Hertog was not the only officer who felt the training was important for security forces members.

“Through this training, we received a higher level of individual and team tactics, which are vital to preserving our national resources and helps to ensure we have a fighting chance against a well-trained adversary,” said Capt. James Masoner, 5th SFS operations and training officer.

The training comes in four iterations available to 200 security forces members; the first was from Jan. 5 to 16. The next three will be: Feb. 23 to March 6, March 23 to April 3 and April 6 to 17.

The SEALs cover a wide variety of topics aimed at improving the capability of security forces units here.

“Our folks will learn how to best dress for cold weather, close-quarter combat, patrolling, employment of low-light equipment, among many others,” said Sergeant Wilson. “The trainers ensure our Airmen feel comfortable and completely understand all the tactics being taught. The training culminates to where we go out into the Weapons Storage Area and practice recapture techniques on structures.”

Sergeant Wilson said he has four members who have gone through the training. They act as instructors for training those who won’t have the opportunity to be trained first hand. He also said part of the contract states the trainers will leave all their lesson plans, power points, visual aids, etc.

Additionally, Sergeant Wilson said the training is considered an enhanced nuclear training initiative.

While all who participated in the first iteration of the training did extremely well, there were a few who shined for Sergeant Wilson.

One such Airman reflects on her experience from the training:

“At first, it seemed intimidating working with the SEALs,” said Senior Airman Angelena Lee, 5th SFS supply custodian. “They really had their stuff together and knew exactly what they were here to talk about. Between the five instructors, they had more than 120 years of experience.”

Another Airman from the first iteration revealed how important he felt the training was:

“It gives us a fundamental understanding for more advanced tactics and was a great way to get back to the basics,” said Staff Sgt. Casey Muffley, 5th SFS installation patrolman. “It was a great opportunity to train with highly-experienced military personnel and learn how to do our jobs better and work as a team much more effectively.”

Continued training of security forces personnel is a mission-essential task. These hard-working Airmen deserve only the best training the AF has to offer. Training is a crucial step to ensuring the nuclear surety of this base is as secure as possible, security forces leadership said.

“This training taught us how to overcome the challenges of our mission here,” concluded Airman Lee. “It improved our awareness, increased our vigilance and taught us new strategies for survivability.”

Ben Stratton

Lockheed Martin Rejects F-22 Performance Criticism

February 1, 2009

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MARIETTA, GA — The Air Force’s premier fifth-generation F-22A fighter jet meets all of its key performance parameters despite accusations from the Pentagon’s top acquisition executive to the contrary, according to senior Lockheed Martin program officials.

The company’s defense comes as future Raptor buys remain in limbo as the White House has yet to make a decision on whether to extend production beyond the 183-aircraft program of record, reports Inside Defense (paid subscription required).

“We meet all our KPPs,” Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-22A general manager, told a small group of reporters here during a Jan. 29 briefing.

Lawson was responding to accusations made by Pentagon acquisition executive John Young in December that the plane had not met all of its KPPs

USAF to Abandon 86 Wing Structure

January 9, 2009

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Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

In a recent article, Air Force Magazine cites a  little-quoted and oft-forgotten edict of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review directed the Air Force to maintain 86 combat wings. The service never really defined what that meant, and the number is now likely to fall by the wayside, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in a Dec. 22 interview with Air Force Magazine. Schwartz acknowledged that the Air Force has proposed some force structure cuts in the 2010 budget, and they are not all in the area of fighters, the magazine reports. “I don’t think anyone sees that number [86 wings] as a line in the sand,” Schwartz said. He added that the Air Force will reorganize itself “in a way that makes the most sense,” and not necessarily to meet a particular number. He also said he believes that “there is excess capacity” in the Air Force’s basing infrastructure still, and would like to see that cut before retiring hardware, but he noted, “I don’t think there’s the will” in Congress to order up yet another BRAC round anytime soon. (For more, read Eighty-Six Combat Wings.)

Reservists Join Elite Thunderbirds Aerobatic Team

January 9, 2009
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

 The 2009 air show season  marks the first time that an Air National Guard pilot and an Air Force Reserve pilot are part of the elite group. The Thunderbirds also recently completed a swap of their older F-16 Block 32 aircraft for more advanced and powerful F-16 Block 52 airplanes that will debut this season.

Joint Region Marianas to Stand Up at Andersen AFB, Guam

December 27, 2008
Glacial Guam

Glacial Guam

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OR

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The Joint Region Marianas will stand up in January as Andersen Air Force Base officials will relocate installation management functions to the commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas located on Guam.

This was a result of almost four years of planning to implement this change to the law as a result of Base Realignment and Closure Commission legislation in 2005.

To address concerns from base members, Andersen AFB leaders held two town hall meetings Nov. 21 to discuss issues base appropriated funded employees may face when installation management oversight and funding transfers to the Navy. Comparable meetings for nonappropriated fund employees are scheduled for Dec. 5.

The meeting was an interactive forum for Brig. Gen. Philip M. Ruhlman, the 36th Wing commander, to outline some of the details. During the briefing, the general explained the Joint Region Marianas structure and said the transition would be as transparent and uneventful as possible. While the majority of Andersen AFB civilian employees will become Navy employees, they will work in the same place, doing the same thing, for the same organization and boss. He also explained how he will continue to serve as both mission and installation commander for Andersen AFB, while acquiring a third “hat” as deputy commander of Joint Region Marianas.

General Ruhlman described the resources that would be transferred to the Navy. He said 49 installation support functions will move from Air Force to Navy running the gamut from fire protection and emergency services to children and youth programs.

During the meeting, civilian employees voiced a variety of concerns to include loss of jobs, retention of pay and seniority and if they had to physically move to Navy.

While the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s official guidance allows for reduction in forces and other force shaping measures, their unofficial stance has been to encourage joint bases to minimize or avoid these if possible, according to officials in the Andersen AFB Development Office. At present, there are no plans to use these measures as Andersen AFB stands up Joint Region Marianas. There will be no change in pay upon transfer to Navy.

Employees will transfer in their current position and be paid at their current pay grade and salary. Seniority relative to other employees will be determined after the transfer, and will depend on whether the employee remains in the existing organization or is part of a merged function.

Furthermore, as it stands today, no appropriated fund employees will have to move to a new duty location as a result of Joint Region Marianas implementation.

Andersen AFB officials will begin to transfer installation management functions to the Navy on Jan. 31, 2009, and is required to complete the process by Oct. 1, 2009. However, base officials expect the impact of this to be relatively minor due to the unique structure of Joint Region Marianas, whereby Andersen AFB retains its Air Force commanding officer and identity.
Jamie LeSard (AFNS)

UAS students graduate from inaugural class

December 23, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

A first-of-its-kind combat familiarization program for pilots slated to fly unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, will graduate nine newly-winged lieutenants from Team Randolph’s 563rd Flying Training Squadron Monday. 

The four-week Unmanned Aircraft Systems Fundamentals Course, or UFC, began instruction Nov. 21 at Randolph AFB (TX). It’s designed to give the fledgling pilots a feel for the air- and ground-based battle space environment in 100 hours of combined simulator and academic classes. 

The UFC provided the pilots with a computer-based simulation using high-end gaming technology and exposing them to multiple Air Force strike aircraft on a cyber-based battlefield. 

“It simulates the real-world ground-combat and air-combat environment for the UFC students,” explained Lt. Col. Scott Cardozo, 563rd FTS director of operations. 

Capt. Tom Moore, 563rd FTS UFC flight commander, civilian contract instructors, and combat systems officer instructors from the 563rd FTS taught, observed, tested and critiqued the student pilots through simulated computer-based air strikes in a real-time, extremely high-fidelity, air combat picture. 

UFC instructors predict that eventually 100 UFC graduates per year will learn to fly UASs at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and eventually work with the UAS enlisted sensor operators throughout the world. The nine pilots will head to the two-week Joint Firepower Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 26. Then, it’s on to the flying training unit at Creech AFB. 

After that, qualified UAS pilots will be assigned to manned aircraft and possibly move between manned and unmanned aircraft as their Air Force careers progress. 

They’re off to a fine start, said Captain Moore, an award-winning flight instructor and flight commander shepherding the young lieutenants through the course. 

“They have all done well,” he said. 

Colonel Cardozo also praised his young charges. 

“They have strong academic averages and have taken advantage of all the training we can give them,” the colonel commented. “They learned how to read and understand an Air Tasking Order. They also learned weapons employment, watched computer videos and read text message conversations on live Predator feeds from overseas.” 

Captain Moore said the students also learned how to employ sensors on attack aircraft.
One of the nine lieutenants spoke about his experience in the inaugural course. 

“I learned in this course how we fit into the bigger picture of coordinating the airspace of a battle,” 1st Lt. Brandon Ongra said. “We’ve never been operational in the combat Air Force and here we’ve learned the capabilities of different aircraft and their weapons.”

Sean Bowlin

AFSOC to “Borrow” from Army to Create AC-27J Gunship Force

December 14, 2008

Air Force Special Operations Command is slated to receive two of seven C-27J aircraft bought with fiscal year 2009 dollars originally intended for the Army to build gunship versions of the aircraft, Inside the Air Force has learned.

Read the full reoprt at www.defensenewsstand.com (paid subscription required)

Lockheed Martin Delivers C-5M Super Galaxy

December 14, 2008
C-141 Starlifter

C-141 Starlifter

Find this and other exciting images as posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

OR

Find this and other exciting images on tee-shirts, caps, and other casual clothing, as well as on beer steins, mousepads, clocks, and dozens of other office and gift items. Visit The Military Chest today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

 

Lockheed Martin delivered the first fully modernized C-5M Super Galaxy to the U.S. Air Force at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins AFB, Ga on 9 December.

The aircraft is the first of three developmental test C-5M aircraft to be delivered, with the other two to be delivered to Dover AFB, Del., in February 2009. All three aircraft successfully completed developmental testing in August 2008. Current Air Force plans call for Lockheed Martin to deliver 52 modernized C-5Ms.

“The C-5 fleet is now beginning to realize its full operational potential as we begin fielding both Avionics Modernization Program and Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program enhanced C-5s for the Air Force,” said Lorraine Martin, vice president of the C-5 Program at Lockheed Martin. “The combined U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin team can take great pride in its success, which is keeping this national strategic airlift asset viable for decades to come.”

The C-5M Super Galaxy is the product of a two-phase modernization effort. The Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) provides a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and a digital backbone to support the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) modifications. Forty-six C-5 aircraft have completed the AMP modifications. The aircraft already returned to the fleet have logged more than 45,000 hours with the new systems, including many hours flown in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

RERP is the second phase of the modernization effort, which adds new GE CF6-80C2 commercial engines (military designation F108-GE-100) and 70 other enhancements or replacements of major components and subsystems. The additional 10,000 lbs of thrust per propulsion system creates 40,000 lbs of additional thrust across the platform, significantly improving operational performance. This comprehensive modernization program improves the fleet mission-capable rate (aircraft availability) and the overall reliability and maintainability of the aircraft while reducing total ownership costs. C-5 modernization is expected to pay for itself with operational savings.

The C-5 has been the backbone of strategic airlift in every engagement since it entered service. It is the only aircraft capable of carrying 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo, with a dedicated passenger compartment enabling commanders to have troops and their equipment arrive in an area of operation simultaneously. The C-5 can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems. With more than 70 percent of its structural service life remaining, Lockheed Martin is committed to sustaining the C-5 fleet throughout its lifecycle. The C-5M Super Galaxy will continue to be a force enabler through 2040.