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Portal:United States Air Force

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The United States Air Force Portal

Logo of the US Air Force

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is primarily responsible for aerial warfare, space warfare and cyber warfare. Initially part of the United States Army as the Army Air Forces, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military, equal to the Army and Navy, on September 18, 1947. It the youngest service branch in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The USAF is one of the largest and most technologically advanced air forces in the world, with about 5,573 manned aircraft in service (3,990 USAF; 1,213 Air National Guard; and 370 Air Force Reserve); approximately 180 Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles, 2130 Air-Launched Cruise Missiles, and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles; and has 330,159 personnel on active duty, 68,872 in the Selected and Individual Ready Reserves, and 94,753 in the Air National Guard. In addition, the Air Force employs 151,360 civilian personnel.

The Department of the Air Force is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force who heads administrative affairs. The Department of the Air Force is a division of the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The highest-ranking military officer in the Department of the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

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Picture spotlight

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Photo credit:Photo: USAAF/361st FG Association
The Bottisham Four

A four-ship of 375th Fighter Squadron P-51 Mustangs

Article spotlight

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Air Force One is the call sign for any USAF aircraft carrying the President of the United States (POTUS). The first aircraft dedicated to presidential airlift was a specially outfitted C-54 Skymaster nicknamed Sacred Cow served Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. The name 'Air Force One' was first used in 1953 after an incident in which Dwight D. Eisenhower's aircraft shared a call sign with a commercial flight. A number of different airframes have been used for presidential transport, including a C-118 Liftmaster, C-121 Constellation, and a C-137 Stratoliner. Currently Air Force One is most commonly a modified Boeing 747-200B designated as VC-25 by the Air Force.

USAF news

Service considering retrofitting late-model C-130's with new engines

Summary: The U.S. Air Force is interested in procuring commercial off-the-shelf engines to replace antiquated propulsion systems on C-130 aircraft. At a technology summit in Arlington, Virginia, General Philip Breedlove told of the service's efforts to follow up on the successes of the C-130J upgrade with commercially available fuel efficient engines. Breedlove says the prioritization of use of C-130J's in inter-theater operations for cost savings has tied up logistics. The C-130 also suffers from performance and maintenance issues that have led to the cancellation of the FCS Manned Ground Vehicles program that was unable to fall within weight parameters while maintaining protection requirements. While enhancing the current generation of aircraft, the Air Force is also heading an initiative to develop fuel efficient technologies for the next generation of propulsion systems. the ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology program seeks to develop an engine that is 30% more efficient than the F119 or F135 engines that power the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft. The Versatile, Affordable, Advanced Turbine Engines and Highly Efficient Embedded Turbine Engine programs are also being pursued to develop propulsion technologies for sub-sonic military aircraft.

Source:http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2011/07/air-force-c-130-replacing-older-engines-072011w/
News Archive

Aerospace vehicle spotlight

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The T-37 Tweet is a two-seat trainer aircraft. It was designed by Cessna in the mid-1950s in response to the USAF request for a jet trainer. The Cessna design featured twin jet propulsion and side-by-side seating to facilitate flight instruction. Production began in 1955 with the first aircraft entering operations in 1957. The aircraft earned the nickname, "Tweet," because of a constant high-pitch whistle emitted by the aircraft in flight.

The USAF acquired a total of 996 of the aircraft between 1955 and 1973. The Tweet has served as the USAF's basic flight trainer since its first employment. The T-37 was phased out of the inventory in mid-2009 and replaced by the T-6 Texan II for basic flight training.

Cessna did produce a weaponized model of the T-37 for foreign sales. A total of 273 of these 'C' models were built through 1975.

Biography spotlight

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Colonel Charles B. DeBellevue (b. 1945) is the highest scoring American ace of the Vietnam War. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. After high school DeBellevue attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana and earned a commission as a second lieutenant through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1968. After entering the Air Force he completed navigator training and was assigned as a F-4 Phantom II Weapon Systems Officer.

DeBellevue served in the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base from 1971-1972. He is credited with 6 aerial victories during that period, making him the first of two Weapons Systems Officers to become an ace and the highest scoring American ace of the war. Four of his victories were earned while flying with R. Stephen Ritchie and two while flying with John A. Madden, Jr. For his exploits during the war DeBellevue was awarded an Air Force Cross and was a co-recipient of the Mackay Trophy.

After his service in Vietnam DeBellevue returned to flight school and became a pilot, remaining with in the F-4 airframe. Over the course of his career he served in a number of operations and staff position and commanded the 95th Air Base Wing and AFROTC Detachment 440. Colonel DeBellevue retired from active duty in 1998.

Did you know...?

... that the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) was classified until 1973? The first of the Air Force's 41 weather satellites was launched in 1965. The constellation continues to provide critical weather data to military and civil customers today.

Quotes

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"If our air forces are never used, they have achieved their finest goal."

- General Nathan F. Twining, 31 March 1956


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