Zapping North Korean Nukes With Microwave Weapons Is a Terrible Idea
One of the options that the United States is looking at to counter North Korea’s nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles is an experimental weapon called CHAMP. CHAMP stands for Counter-Electronics High-Powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. It uses bursts of microwave energy — an electromagnetic pulse — to disable electronic systems. The idea would... Read more
Keeping the U.S. Air Force’s C-130s Flying
The U.S. Air Force is progressing with a massive technological overhaul of its warzone-tested C-130 aircraft, giving the aircraft new radios, digital avionics, collision avoidance technology and reinforced “wing-boxes,” service officials said. “The thing that causes the greatest risk to the airplane is the life of the wing. We... Read more
The B-58 Hustler Was a Beautiful Mistake
On Nov. 11, 1956, the first B-58 Hustler took flight. It would never see combat. An exotic, beautiful bomber designed for high-speed nuclear strike missions, a changes in Soviet tactics and a development method which dramatically hiked costs conspired to doom the Hustler — intended as a replacement for... Read more
The Unloved, Forgotten Bolo Bomber
The rescue team slashed through eight miles of marshy thicket on their way to the crash site. Two days before on Feb. 15, 1941, the USAAF B-18 Bolo bomber — serial number 36-446 — carrying five crew and two passengers suffered a left-engine failure and went down in thick... Read more
The U.S. Air Force Has a Brony Squadron
This story originally appeared on July 24, 2013. In July 2014, word hit the Internet that an Air Force unit training to fly America’s most advanced military aircraft are wearing a patch inspired by the television show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Now the Air Force has confirmed... Read more
These Madmen Flew B-52 Bombers at Wave-Top Heights
This story originally appeared on July 22, 2013. 160 feet from tip to tail. 185 feet across. 240 tons of metal, fuel, bombs and human flesh traveling at 650 miles per hour. You wouldn’t think something so big, moving so fast, would also be capable of skimming the ocean... Read more
F-22s Act as Flying Scouts Over Syria
Three years ago, four F-22 Raptors taking part in the second-wave of the U.S.-led coalition’s opening air strikes on Islamic State in Syria dropped their bombs. It was the first time the stealthy fifth-generation fighters had ever engaged in combat. The coalition’s war planners also used the F-22s to... Read more
In January 1991, Both Iraq and America Claimed Fictional Air-to-Air Victories
During the U.S.-led air war on Iraq in 1991, a U.S. Air Force EF-111A electronic-warfare plane forced an Iraqi air force Mirage F.1EQ to fly into the ground. The EF-111 thus scored an air-to-air kill without ever firing a shot. At least, that’s what the U.S. Air Force claimed.... Read more
The Air Force Can’t Quit NASCAR
This story originally appeared on Feb. 29, 2016. America’s most famous auto raceway looms large between a beach and a mall not far from the airport in Daytona Beach, eastern Florida’s self-styled “Spring Break Capital of the World.” From a distance, the Daytona International Speedway’s 10,000 red, white and... Read more
America Has a Long Tradition of Covertly Flying Enemy Aircraft
On Sept. 6, 2017, the U.S. Air Force announced that one of its aircraft had crashed the previous day in the Nevada Test and Training Range, roughly 100 miles north of Las Vegas. Just a day earlier, two A-10s crashed during a training mission over the same range. Both... Read more