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The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially established as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated ISR, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

The U.S. Air Force is a military service branch organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The Air Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, and is appointed by the President with Senate confirmation. The highest-ranking military officer in the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who exercises supervision over Air Force units and serves as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force forces are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commanders, and neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff of the Air Force have operational command authority over them.

Along with conducting independent air and space operations, the U.S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field. As of 2017, the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft, 406 ICBMs and 170 military satellites. It has a $161 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 318,415 active duty personnel, 140,169 civilian personnel, 69,200 Air Force Reserve personnel, and 105,700 Air National Guard personnel.

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Article spotlight

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The B-52 aircraft crash at Fairchild Air Force Base was a fatal air crash that occurred on June 24, 1994, killing the four crew members of a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52 Stratofortress during a training flight. In the crash, Bud Holland, who was the command pilot of the aircraft based at Fairchild Air Force Base, call sign Czar 52, flew the aircraft beyond its operational parameters and lost control. As a result, the aircraft stalled, impacted the ground, and was completely destroyed. Video of the crash was shown throughout the United States on news broadcasts.

The accident investigation concluded that the chain of events leading to the crash was primarily attributable to Holland's personality and behavior, USAF leaders' reactions to it, and the sequence of events during the mishap flight of the aircraft. Today, the crash is used in military and civilian aviation environments as a case study in teaching crew resource management. Also, the crash is often used by the USAF during safety training as an example of the importance of compliance with safety regulations and correcting the behavior of anyone who violates safety procedures.

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/
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Aerospace vehicle spotlight

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The Republic F-105 Thunderchief, commonly known as the "Thud" by its crews, was a single-seat supersonic fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force. The Mach 2 capable F-105 bore the brunt of strike bombing over North Vietnam early during the Vietnam War. It was later used in the specialized SEAD role suppressing missile sites.

As a follow-on to Mach 1 class F-100 Super Sabre, the F-105 was also armed with missiles and a cannon. But its design was tailored to high-speed low-altitude penetration carrying a single nuclear bomb internally. First flown in 1955, the Thunderchief entered service in 1958. As the largest single-engined fighter ever employed by the USAF, the single-seat F-105 would be adapted to deliver a greater iron bomb load than the four-engined ten-man strategic bombers of World War II. The F-105 would be best remembered as the primary strike bomber over North Vietnam in the early stages of the Vietnam War. After flying over 20,000 missions, 382 F-105s were lost, of which 62 were operational casualties. Although not designed for air combat, F-105s were also credited with 27.5 enemy aircraft by the USAF.

During the war, the two-seat F-105F and F-105G Wild Weasel variants became the first dedicated Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) platforms fighting against the Soviet-built S-75 Dvina (SA-2 Guideline) surface-to-air missiles. Two Wild Weasel pilots earned the Medal of Honor attacking missile sites, with one shooting down two MiG-17s the same day. The dangerous missions often required them to be the "first in, last out" in order to suppress the threat of air defenses prior to strike aircraft arriving and keeping them suppressed until the strike aircraft left the area.

Although the F-105 weighed 50,000 pounds (22,680 kg), the aircraft could exceed the speed of sound at sea level and Mach 2 at high altitude. It could carry up to 14,000 pounds (6,700 kg) of bombs and missiles. The Thunderchief was later replaced as a strike aircraft over North Vietnam by both the F-4 Phantom II and the swing-wing F-111. However, the "Wild Weasel" variants remained in service until 1984, when they were replaced by a specialized F-4G "Wild Weasel V".

Biography spotlight

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General Teed Michael Moseley, KBE, was the 18th Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He assumed the position during a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base on September 2, 2005.

As Chief, he served as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipage of more than 700,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general and other service chiefs functioned as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council, and the President. He resigned from his position in June 2008 following a serise of incidents involving nuclear weapon security.

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The SR-71 Blackbird holds the record for flying from New York City to London. The record, 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds (mach 2.68), was set on 1 September 1974 and is still the record for this transatlantic flight.

Quotes

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"Since the Nation's birth, it has been the constitutional duty of our military to ensure national survival, defend lives and property, and promote vital interests at home and abroad. The enduring responsibility of the United States Air Force is to provide strategic deterrence for the Nation and fly, fight and win as an integral part of the Joint Team. Together with our brothers and sisters in arms, we underwrite the national strategy of defending the Homeland and assuring allies, while dissuading, deterring and defeating enemies."

Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, 3 Sept 2008

Schwartz, General Norton A. (September 3, 2008). "Fly, Fight and Win!". CSAF's Vector. United States Air Force. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 

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