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  • Air Force Celebrates 65th Birthday

    Today marks the 65th birthday of the United States Air Force.

    Since 1947, the Air Force has served the U.S. as the dominant air power in the world. With thousands of years and miles of service among the airmen and amazing successes such as the SR-71 program and the no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, the service has much to be proud of.

    However, a few other recent milestones make this celebration somewhat bittersweet. Nearly as old as the service is the B-52 strategic bomber fleet, which recently celebrated its 60th birthday. While the bomber fleet has successfully deterred nuclear action and flown conventional missions alike for more than half a century, these aircraft represent a greater trend that the Air Force and U.S. military in general have accepted: using increasingly old equipment to perform missions. Congress needs to take steps to ensure that this fleet is modernized and that the Air Force develops a legitimate replacement.

    Another recent milestone occurred in 2008, when a pilot flew the same F-15 that his father had flown 30 years before. As with B-52s, the F-15 Eagles have performed numerous successful missions and have been critical to national security over the years. These aircraft have been pushed beyond their intended thresholds—perhaps even more so than the bombers. F-15s were originally to last 4,000 flight hours, but due to increases in demand and lack of replacement, their service life was doubled.

    The replacement for the F-15—in fact, the replacement for the F-16, A-10, F-18, and the AV-8B Harrier as well—is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The U.S. Air Force has staked its future on this aircraft, yet President Obama’s budget will significantly reduce the number the government will obtain. This decision, as is the case with many of Obama’s reductions to national security, was made merely to cut spending for fiscal reasons without genuine consideration of current or future threats. Congress should fund the fighter fleet of the future at robust levels.

    Since 1947, the U.S. has remained the most dominant air power in the world. The nation is now at a turning point. If Congress does not reverse the Administration’s reductions, America’s air power will be in jeopardy. National security relies on our forces’ continued capability on the ground, at sea, in the air, in space, and in cyberspace. We cannot afford to let any of these forces fade away.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Air Force Celebrates 65th Birthday

      • Guest says:

        @ Denease Tomaselli

        "GO AIR FORCE!!!"

        To say such a thing like that, this means that you're proud of the USAF with the F-35As which will be useless to their needs.

    1. Guest says:

      U.S really needs to explore alternatives to the failed F-35 program.

      The USAF should retire all the F-15C/D fleet and propose more developments of the advanced F-15s such as the new single-seat F-15F variant (based on the two-seat F-15E) in a similar way the Sukhoi Co. developed the Su-35S Super Flanker-E.

      With new updates for the Eagle such as.

      1. APG-82 AESA fire control radar.

      2. 2D or 3D thrust vectoring supercruising F100-PW-232 or F110-GE-132 engines as a consideration.

      3. DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System) or defensible EWSP jammers.

      4. NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display.

      5. Digital fly-by-wire flight control system.

      6. IRST sensor pod (either mounted under the air intakes with the targeting pod or mounted next to the windshield at the right side) and CFB (Conformal Weapons Bay) etc.

      One of the F-15 engineers from the DoD Buzz mentioned the samething about develop the new single-seat Eagle as a perfect replacement for the existing F-15C/D's.

      Is the new two-seat combat-capable trainer version been proposed as a replacement for the F-15D model? The F-15SE should be ideal. So they are some of the options that need to be looked at.

    2. Guest says:

      The F-15SE Silent Eagle with $100M (est) per plane, it may seem expensive but when all costs vs performance are reviewed, X vs Y vs Z are not the same. As stated by those in this discussion thread the F-15 provides, range, bigger weapons payload and speed benefits that other small fighters with short range, small weapons load and less powerful AESA radars and sensors albeit extremely expensive F-35 and less expensive small fighters cannot match. In turn, many of the new enhancements such as the fly by wire flight controls, and the availability of either the F100-PW-232 or F110-GE-132 engines should keep operating costs at or below the known costs of current F-15's.

    3. Guest says:

      According to Richard Banholzer, Boeing's Director of Business Development for the Air Force Fighters and Weapons, was a former USAF F-15A, F-15C and F-15E pilot and test pilot, with 2,000 hours on the F-4 Phantom II and 1,900 hours on F-15s.

      He claims the F-15 still has a vital role to play (which I agree). The F-22 Raptor, with their greater stealth, Raptors might be the aircraft of choice to penetrate particularly high-threat zones.

      However, on the "friendly" side or low to medium threat zones of the forward edge of the battle area – for cruise missile defence, defending high value assets and if the rules of engagement dictate close-in-engagement – the F-15 may be a better choice. So a mixed force of Eagles and Raptors would present a potent combination of flexibility and capability which is a perfect idea to complement with each other.

    4. Guest says:

      Also restart the F-22 program, incorporate the new upgrades for the Raptor such as:

      1. Propose more development variants of the F-22, add 3D thrust vectoring nozzles.

      2. Add more range for the F-22, for e.g. to be flown more than 3,000 miles (for ferry flight) and for combat radius of action should be more than 1,000 miles (unrefuelled).

      3. Add a wider weapons bays, to enable the F-22 to carry more ground attack weaponry.

      4. Add more sensors such as IRST (which can be located next to the windshield at the right side, hopefully to improve pilots front visibility).

    5. Guest says:

      Purchase more advanced F-16E/F Block 60/62 or, propose a development of a F-16 Block 68, equivalent to the Agile Falcon for the low end mix to go with the upgraded A-10C's. The new proposed development of the F-16 could incorporate with new features such as:

      1. Larger wings, additional stores-carrying capabilities and Conformal Fuel Tanks to increase range and loiter time.

      2. Supercruising F100-PW-232 or F110-GE-129 with 2D or 3D thrust vectoring nozzle as a consideration.

      3. IRST sensor (mounted on the right side) and APG-80 AESA.

      4. NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display.

      5. DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System) or defensible EWSP jammers etc

      Scrap the F-35 its a boondoggle.

    6. Guest says:

      Does anyone know that the defence standing in region is eroding?

      Because the 65-year-run as ”top gun” in South-East Asia and the Western Pacific is in danger of coming to an end. The high-tech defence capabilities are at risk of being eclipsed by military modernisation programs by the adversary countries.

      China, which is developing its own fifth generation rival the Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon and J-21/J-31? aircraft to America’s top-of-the-line air superiority stealth fighter, the F-22, already has hundreds of fourth generation fighters in its inventory.

      These include Sukhoi Su-30MKs and Su-27SKs/UBKs from Russia and indigenous fighters and multi-role attack aircraft such as the Chengdu J-10 Vigorous Dragon and the FC-1.

    7. Guest says:

      Indonesia signed a contract to acquire state-of-the-art Su-30MK2s from the Russia last December.

      It already flies 30 older configuration Su-30MKs along with 27 high-performance Su-27SKMs and 10 US-built F-16A/Bs. The US has given Indonesia another 24 F-16C/D Block 32s for delivery soon.

      India recently placed an order for 126 Dassault Rafale multi-role fighters and also produces several effective fighters of local design and manufacture. It has 146 Su-30MKIs in service with another 126 are on the way.

      Pakistan also fields older F-16A/Bs and advanced F-16C/D models, as well as ex-RAAF Mirage IIIO / IIID / 5 aircraft. It has 36 copies of China’s high-performance J-10 multi-role fighter on order with deliveries due to begin in 2014.

    8. Guest says:

      Instead, air superiority is the most important asset that should be focused on for the adversary nations that are flexing their muscles, not battlefield interdictor / close air support which is not designed to sweep the fighter aircraft away.

    9. Guest says:

      Not only that the defence standing in region is eroding with defence cuts, it’s also because we are buying and building the wrong aircraft such as the F-35 JSF that is not suited for the requirements. The aircraft is not designed as a high altitude air superiority fighter/interceptor in mind. The F-35 was defined during the mid-1990s to have “affordable” aerodynamic performance, stealth performance, sensor capabilities and weapons loads to be “affordably” effective against the most common threat systems of that era past – legacy Soviet Cold War era weapons, not for the 21st Century high emerging threat environments. The F-35 is designed primarily to support ground forces on the battlefield with some self defence capabilities and is not suitable for the developing regional environment.

    10. Guest says:

      The aircraft is unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence due to limited range / endurance, limited weapons load, limited supersonic speed and indeed limited manoeuvrability. As its limitations are inherent to the design, they cannot be altered by incremental upgrades. The F-35 will be ineffective against the current generation of extremely powerful advanced Russian and Chinese systems, as detailed above; In any combat engagements between the F-35 and such threat systems, most or all F-35 aircraft will be rapidly lost to enemy fire.

      Nothing but a turkey of the program.

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