More secret bases. More and better unmanned warplanes. More frequent and deadly robotic attacks. Some five years after a U.S. Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flew the type’s first mission over lawless Somalia, the shadowy American-led drone campaign in the Horn of Africa is targeting Islamic militants more ruthlessly than ever.
Archived posts with tag ‘Air Force’
One hundred and eighty-five. That’s it. That’s the most Lockheed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters the U.S. Air Force will ever possess after production ended earlier this year. The Air Force actually procured 195 F-22s starting in the mid-1990s, but eight were test models and two operational models have crashed (as has one of the test airframes).
Some commenters claim the Red Flag exercise is not indicative of the way the F-22 would fight in the real world. In an actual shooting war, an F-22′s opponent “won’t make it to visual range,” one reader asserted. The stealthy Raptor would allow it to sneak up high and fast and kill the enemy from long range using an AMRAAM missile, commenters insist.
The crumbling regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad reportedly unleashed its air force on Wednesday in what could be the biggest aerial onslaught of the more than year-old civil war. Jet fighters dropped bombs on the northern city of Aleppo, Reuters and the BBC reported.
The head of an Air Force Osprey tiltrotor squadron has reportedly been fired following the near-fatal crash of one of the unit’s aircraft on June 13. “The commander of the 8th Special Operations Squadron was relieved because of a loss of confidence in his ability to effectively command the unit,” Col. James Slife, 1st Special Operations Wing chief, told Inside Defense (subscription required).
The second copy of the Air Force’s X-37B robotic space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California early Saturday morning, ending a record-breaking 469-day orbital mission that began atop an Atlas rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on March 5, 2011. The safe landing of Orbital Test Vehicle 2 after more than 15 months in space is an indisputable triumph for the U.S. military and space industry. Much less certain is the X-37′s future. Budget cuts, labor woes and the looming specter of a Chinese rival could blunt the diminutive robo-shuttle’s orbital edge.
The Air Force’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighters poison or suffocate their pilots nearly 27 times per 100,000 flight hours — a rate at least nine times higher than other fighters and far worse than anyone outside of the military previously realized. That shocking revelation comes from two lawmakers, Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who have been aggressively pursuing the cases of Air Force pilots that are getting choked on the job.
An Osprey tiltrotor belonging to Air Force Special Operations Command crashed in Florida Wednesday evening, injuring five people aboard and likely badly damaging or destroying the aircraft. It’s the second crash in three months for the controversial V-22 tiltrotor, which takes off and lands like a helicopter and cruises like an airplane thanks to its rotating wingtip engine nacelles. A Marine Corps V-22 went down in Morocco in April, killing two crew.
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN For decades, the military has tried — with little success — to build missiles capable of traveling at breakneck, hypersonic speeds. Missile tests, however, have been uneven, with repeated failures punctuated by the occasional stunning success. Now the Air Force is taking a bigger role by seeking to build another hypersonic missile, [...]
The next decade could see a huge shift in the way armed drones and their human controllers interact, with potentially profound effects on future battlefields. At the heart of this change: two-way voice controls for autonomous systems, just like your iPhone’s Siri app. Also, vibrating controls like an Xbox controller. A drone operator could literally talk to a drone — and the drone could talk right back, and also alert its human operator with a sensation similar to touch.
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN The U.S. military’s secret space plane is preparing to return from its second mission after an incredible 453 days in orbit (as of today). The robotic X-37B, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, is due to land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California sometime in early to mid-June, depending on weather [...]
An innocuous-seeming U.S. Air Force press release. A serendipitous satellite image in Google Earth. Snapshots from a photographer on assignment at a Spanish air base. The crash of an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle fighter-bomber in the United Arab Emirates. These are some of the fragments of information that Italian aviation blogger David Cenciotti has assembled to reveal the best picture yet of the Pentagon’s secretive war in the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa.