The U.S. Air Force’s ‘Extraordinary’ Ukraine Mission Went Nowhere Near the Russians
The U.S. Air Force’s “extraordinary” surveillance flight over Ukraine in early December 2018 flew nowhere near Russian forces, one expert concluded. On Dec. 6, 2018, the Air Force deployed one of its OC-135 observation planes to Ukraine at Kiev’s request. American, Canadian, German, French, Romanian and British observers were... Read more
The U.S. Air Force Probably Can’t Afford to Replace the F-22
A new fighter to replace the F-22 Raptor could eat the U.S. Air Force’s budget starting in the 2030s, the Congressional Budget Office reported. The Air Force on average spent $12 billion per year, in current dollars, on new aircraft between 1980 and 2018. But replacing the flying branch’s... Read more
U.S. Air Force Cadets Are Building a Stealthy Drone
Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy are building a stealthy target drone to help pilots prepare for combat with Chinese and Russian stealth fighters. But the drone could do so much more. The U.S. military uses a variety of drones as targets in live-fire exercises. The Pentagon also... Read more
The U.S. Air Force’s Treaty Planes Are Falling Apart
The two surveillance planes the U.S. Air Force uses to monitor Russian forces under the auspices of a 1992 arms-control treaty are old, in poor condition and barely flyable, records reveal. Their toilets in particular are a problem. On Dec. 6, 2018, the Air Force deployed one of the... Read more
In a Message to Russia, Ukraine Invites U.S. Air Force Overflight
The U.S. Air Force deployed a surveillance plane to Ukraine on an “extraordinary” mission apparently to inspect Russian forces, the U.S. State Department announced on Dec. 6, 2018. A four-engine OC-135 carried observers from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Romania and the United Kingdom, according to the State... Read more
U.S. Air Force Vice Chief: America Needs More Bombers
The U.S. Air Force needs more bombers and tankers, Gen. Stephen Wilson, the service’s vice chief of staff, told National Defense for an article the magazine published in December 2018. But with military spending likely to decline following several years of increases, the flying branch could struggle to afford... Read more
The Grim Rationale for U.S. Air Force ‘Elephant Walks’
On Nov. 19, 2018, two U.S. Air Force wings in Utah launched 35 F-35 stealth fighters in a short span of time. The Air Force lauded the display as evidence of America’s overwhelming military might. At least one critic dismissed it as a publicity stunt. In fact, there’s one... Read more
U.S. Air Force Picks New Stealth Bomber Bases
The U.S. Air Force is getting bases ready for its new B-21 Raider stealth bomber. But it’s still unclear how many B-21s the flying branch might buy. The Air Force selected Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma as the main maintenance facility for the new bomber, the service announced... Read more
The YF-23 Stealth Fighter Won’t Save Us
A stealth fighter demonstrator that last flew in 1994 has enjoyed a cultural resurgence in recent years. But the YF-23’s renaissance reflects a pernicious kind of magical thinking that actually undermines America’s national defense. The YF-23 was Northrop Grumman’s entry in the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Tactical Fighter competition... Read more
Hurricane Michael Damaged a Bunch of F-22s
Hurricane Michael damaged potentially more than a dozen U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters at their base on the Florida panhandle on Oct. 10. That’s nearly 10 percent the Air Force’s F-22s. And if Japan’s own recent experience is any indication, it could take the flying branch years... Read more
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