Archive: Air Force

A launch of an Atlas V rocket. Photo: United Launch Alliance

Air Force To Launch Communications Relay Satellite

The U.S. Air Force announced April 6 that it plans to launch a new communications-relay satellite as part of a multi-payload mission later this month. The Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM (CBAS) satellite, which is intended for geosynchronous orbit, will continuously relay data from existing military communications satellites to support senior leaders and combatant commanders, Air […]

Hill Air Force Base F-35As fly in formation over the Utah Test and Training Range, March 30, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

DoD Eyes Shifting F-35 Management To Military Services

The U.S. Department of Defense wants to restructure the F-35 Lightning II program to give the military services more control over the maturing fighter jet, according to Pentagon officials. DoD envisions that the F-35, which is currently managed by a joint program office (JPO), will eventually transition to service-run program offices, Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen […]

A KC-135R Stratotanker over a Florida bridge. Photo: Air Force.

DoD Starts Study On Airlift, Sealift And Tanker Needs

The Department of Defense has launched a congressionally mandated study to determine how many refueling aircraft, transport planes and cargo ships it will need to support future military operations. U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) announced March 29 that the Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study (MCRS-18) began March 8 and will conclude this fall. TRANSCOM is conducting the review with […]

A Boeing KC-46A tanker refuels an F-16. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)

Air Force To Hash Out KC-46A Tanker Schedule With Boeing

U.S. Air Force officials plan to meet with Boeing [BA] representatives in early or mid-April to try to reach agreement on a new delivery timeline for the delay-plagued KC-46A Pegasus tanker, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said March 30. “Right now, we don’t have an agreement on what that schedule is, and I think probably […]

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. Photo: Air Force.

Air Force Seeks To Sustain Fifth-Generation F-35s At Fourth-Gen Prices

The U.S. Air Force hopes to wring out enough savings from its new F-35 Lightning II fleet to allow the stealthy fighter jet’s sustainment costs to match those of legacy fighters, the service’s chief of staff said March 29. High sustainment costs for the Lockheed Martin [LMT]-built fifth-generation fighter “are a major concern right now” and […]

General Atomics' SkyGuardian, a variant of its Type-Certifiable Predator B UAV. Photo: General Atomics.

Air Force Wants Cheap, Expendable Drones And Missiles To Overwhelm Enemy Air Defenses

AUSTIN, Texas — Pentagon scientists are trying to beat the cost curve the military likely will encounter in future wars by designing low-cost, expendable unmanned aircraft and munitions that can overwhelm enemy defenses without breaking the bank. “We need an unmanned, low-cost attritable aircraft,” Jeffrey Stanley, associate deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for […]

A KC-46A tanker is refueled by a second KC-46 for the first time, as seen from the tanker’s air refueling operator station. (Boeing photo)

Air Force Says KC-46A Tanker Has Two New Glitches

The U.S. Air Force says its KC-46A tanker program recently learned that two of the plane’s systems — the Centerline Drogue System (CDS) and the Remote Vision System (RVS) – are not yet meeting performance requirements. The CDS is a hose-and-drogue refueling system attached to the belly of the fuselage. The RVS is a camera […]

An Air Force U-2 flies a training mission. Photo: Air Force.

Air Force Studying If U-2 Reconnaissance Plane Could Fly Till 2100

The U.S. Air Force is exploring whether it could keep flying its U-2 Dragon Lady high-altitude reconnaissance airplanes for the rest of the century, a service official said March 15. A “structural study” is looking at whether the Air Force could fully use the U-2’s estimated lifespan of 75,000 flight hours, “which would take them […]

SpaceX, ULA Get Air Force Contracts To Launch Up To Five Spacecraft

SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) will launch up to five spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force under contract awards announced late March 14. SpaceX received a contract valued at up to $290.6 million to launch up to three Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellites, the Pentagon said. ULA’s $354.8 million contract calls for placing Air Force […]

The B-52 Stratofortress. 
Photo: U.S. Air Force.

Air Force Nears Plan To Replace B-52 Engines

The U.S. Air Force is reviewing options for re-engining the B-52 bomber and intends to formally launch the acquisition effort later this year, a service official said March 14. William Roper, the Air Force’s new acquisition chief, said he conducted his first review with the re-engining team a few weeks ago and he expects to […]