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An F-22 Raptor from the U.S. Air Force 525th Fighter Squadron performs a refueling mission with a KC-135 Stratotanker from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., outside of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, during a training mission, Aug. 7, 2014.  The F-22 is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards/ Released)

U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets were part of the opening wave of American-led airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State, according to a news report.

Julian Barnes of The Wall Street Journal included that dramatic bit of information in his story about the rapidly evolving military mission against the al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist group: [Continue reading…]

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The man who brought you the book on the V-22 Osprey helicopter-plane is out with another on the MQ-1 Predator drone.

Richard Whittle, a fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., and the author of “The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey,” recently published his latest book, “Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution.”

Whittle was on hand at the Air Force Association’s annual conference this week in National Harbor, Maryland, to discuss the work, which took several years to complete. The following are a few of the interesting tidbits he shared about one of the U.S. military’s most revolutionary aircraft. [Continue reading…]

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Jeff Bezos, founder of the online retailing giant Amazon​.com, has unveiled a new commercial engine design for legacy military rockets.

Bezos, who also heads up the private spaceflight company Blue Origin LLC, was on hand with Tony Bruno, the new chief executive officer of the Lockheed Martin Corp.-Boeing Co. joint venture, United Launch Alliance LLC, on Wednesday at the National Press Club to announce an agreement to jointly fund development of the BE-4 engine.

The engine is designed to provide 550,000 pounds of thrust and replace the Russian-made RD-180 propulsion system currently on the Atlas V rocket, one of two boosters used by the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program to lift military and spy satellites into space. [Continue reading…]

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Airpower summary for Sept. 18, 2007The Air Force does not have a suitable replacement for the planned divestiture of the A-10 Warthog aircraft and U-2 spy plane, senior service leaders said Sept. 16 at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference, National Harbor, Md.

“I don’t want to cut the A-10 and the U-2 – we don’t have a replacement,” said Gen. Michael Hostage III, Commander, Air Force Air Combat Command.

As part of its budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the service proposed retiring its entire fleets of A-10 attack planes and U-2 spy planes, and partial inventories of other aircraft. The proposed budget cuts to the A-10 and U-2 fleets are described by service officials as budget-driven necessities given current fiscal pressures.

The recommendations were driven in a large part by automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Sending the close-air-support aircraft to the bone yard would save an estimated $4.2 billion over five years alone, Air Force officials have said.

[Continue reading…]

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The U.S. Air Force may in December certify the start-up rocket-maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to compete to launch military and spy satellites, a general said.

“I root for SpaceX to come into the competition,” Gen. John Hyten, head of Air Force Space Command, said during a speech Tuesday at the Air Force Association’s annual conference. But he warned that the company may not be ready in time.

“The most important thing for this nation is assured access to space that works all the time,” he said. “That’s why the certification for SpaceX, hopefully by Dec. 1, is a big event. But if they’re not ready on Dec. 1, we have to stand up and say that, and that’s going to be difficult because I want competition.” [Continue reading…]

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