Archive: Air Force

F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter

Acquisition Nominees Call For Prototyping Before Buying Major Weapon Systems

Rapid experimental prototyping of the sort that resulted in the SR-71 Blackbird and F-117 stealth fighter is the key to keeping major weapon system development programs on track, according to two prospective Pentagon weapon buyers. Tapped to become the first undersecretary of defense for Research and Engineering (USD R&E), former NASA administrator Michael Griffin on […]

AF Seal_500

Air Force Mulling How To Meet Hill Mandate To Kill New Space Directorate

The U.S. Air Force is evaluating how to implement a congressional requirement that it disband its new space operations directorate, service Secretary Heather Wilson said Jan. 5. “We will comply with the law but there’s a lot of different ways to do it,” Wilson said at a Washington Space Business Roundtable luncheon. “We still have […]

An armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down a runway.
Photo: U.S. Air Force

Air Force Nearing Completion Of ISR Plan

The U.S. Air Force, which is writing a report on how it hopes to improve its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in the coming years, plans to finish the document in “early spring,” a key general said Jan. 4. The “Next Generation ISR Dominance Flight Plan” will be “pretty comprehensive,” addressing “all things for ISR […]

Boeing's F-15. Photo: Boeing.

Boeing Gets Contracts To Build F-15s For Qatar, KC-46 For Japan

Boeing [BA] has formally snagged two major foreign orders for military planes: F-15QA fighters for Qatar and a KC-46 tanker for Japan. The Pentagon announced Dec. 22 that Boeing was awarded a $6.2 billion contract to build 36 F-15QAs for the Qatar Emiri Air Force by the end of 2022. The F-15QA will be the […]

A U.S. Air Force F-16. Photo: Air Force.

Air Force To Test New Swarming Cruise Missile On F-16

The Air Force Research Laboratory plans to use an F-16 fighter jet to conduct initial demonstrations of its new Gray Wolf cruise missile, according to Lockheed Martin [LMT], one of two companies recently awarded contracts to develop the weapon. The missile, which will use “networked, collaborative behaviors,” or swarming, to defeat integrated air defense systems, […]

The KC-46 tanker. (Boeing photo)

KC-46A Tanker Receives First Of Two FAA Certifications

The KC-46A Pegasus tanker that Boeing [BA] is developing for the U.S. Air Force has received the first of two airworthiness certifications it must get from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the company announced Dec. 21. The amended type certificate (ATC) verifies that the 767-2C, a KC-46A without the aerial refueling system installed, is safe […]

Air Force Awards $2.2 Billion Contract To Support T-6 Trainer

The U.S. Air Force has awarded a five-year contract valued at up to $2.2 billion to JPATS Logistics Services to manage the supply chain for T-6 Texan II training aircraft, the Department of Defense announced Dec. 20. The work by the Florida-based firm will be performed at about 10 Air Force, Navy and Army bases, […]


Lawmakers Push For Funding To Restart A-10 Wing Production

A group of 20 lawmakers led by Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) is urging leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to include funding in the final fiscal year 2018 defense spending package to buy new wings for the Air Force’s aging but heavily used A-10 Thunderbolt II close-air-support aircraft. In a Dec. 15 letter, […]

Artist's rendering of a GPS III satellite. Image: Lockheed Martin.

New GPS Receiver Cards To Exceed DoD Cost Estimate By Billions, GAO Says

Installing new Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver cards on more than 700 different weapons systems will cost billions of dollars more than the Department of Defense’s estimate of $2.5 billion through fiscal year 2021, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). DoD’s estimate reflects the existence of full or partial funding […]


Air Force Eyes Autonomous Flight Safety For All Space Launches

The U.S. Air Force says it plans to implement an autonomous flight safety system (AFSS) for all of its space launches in the next five years to make its operations more efficient. During traditional Air Force launches, a flight termination system uses various sensors, including telemetry, radars, optics and command destruct antennas, to allow operators […]