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Ford carrierThe Navy plans to fix the software on its new carrier-based electromagnetic catapult system so that it can launching F/A-18s and Growlers carrying additional external fuel tanks under the wings, service officials said.

The changes will be finished on the Navy’s Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, in time for operational testing aboard the Navy’s first Ford-class carrier — the USS Gerald R. Ford — in 2017, said Navy Cmdr. Thurraya Kent.

In April 2014, the Navy discovered an issue during testing at its facility in Lakehurst, N.J., that prevents the system from launching F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18 Growlers that are configured with external wing tanks, service officials said.

“The Navy understands the issue and will address it with a software modification well before any planned operational launch and recovery of aircraft.  The fix will only involve a software change and will be completed well before any planned operational launch and recovery of aircraft,” she said. [Continue reading…]

091004-f-0971g-142Twelve F-15 Eagle fighters and 200 airmen from the Florida Air National Guard began deploying to Europe this week as part of the U.S. and NATO buildup and training effort to deter Russian aggression.

All equipment and personnel from the 125th Fighter Wing based in Jacksonville, Fla., were expected to arrive in Europe by mid-April for a possible six-month deployment.

The F-15s will initially operate from Leeuwarden in the Netherlands and from Graf Ignatievo in Bulgaria, in the Operation Atlantic Resolve training exercise to “demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe,” U.S. Air Forces Europe (USAFE) said in a release from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

Lt. Gen. Darryl Robertson, 3rd Air force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, said it was the first deployment of an Air National Guard unit in Europe as a “theater security package.” [Continue reading…]

F-35As fly in formation. (AF photo)Engineers are trying to fix the F-35’s software package after it was discovered the sensors for the Joint Strike Fighter malfunction when detecting targets when the aircraft flies in formation.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, Program Executive Officer, F-35, said he didn’t have a date when the correction would be made. However, he said the problem would not delay the declaration of the Marine variant of the aircraft, the F-35B, ready for combat.

“When you have two, three or four F-35s looking at the same threat, they don’t all see it exactly the same because of the angles that they are looking at and what their sensors pick up,” Bogdan told reporters Tuesday. “When there is a slight difference in what those four airplanes might be seeing, the fusion model can’t decide if it’s one threat or more than one threat. If two airplanes are looking at the same thing, they see it slightly differently because of the physics of it.”

For example, if a group of F-35s detect a single ground threat such as anti-aircraft weaponry, the sensors on the planes may have trouble distinguishing whether it was an isolated threat or several objects, Bogdan explained. [Continue reading…]

Chuck Norris wants to save the A-10 from retirement. (Courtesy of Chuck Norris)Air Force leaders wanting to send the A-10 Thunderbolt to the bone yard already have any number of lawmakers criticizing them from Capitol Hill.

Now they’ve got “Lone Wolf McQuade” coming after them.

Action star Chuck Norris – an Air Force veteran – on Monday delivered an editorial roundhouse kick to the Air Force, arguing on the World Net Daily website that the “Warthog” – as it is known – still has plenty of fight left in it.

In the ongoing campaign against ISIS, Norris writes, “the A-10′s utility is warranted even more now than ever.”

“Its firepower capability, speed and accuracy, frequent war use, and the oft-painted teeth on its nose cone have made it one of the military’s most popular aircraft,” Norris wrote. [Continue reading…]

Ford carrierThe Navy is preparing to launch the first ship-board tests of a new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System designed to replace steam catapults and propel fighter jets and other aircraft off the deck of an aircraft carrier, service officials said.

“In June, we’ll start shooting dead loads into the James River. The ship is pointed bow out. It will be the first time in 60-years that we have shot something off a ship using something other than a steam catapult,” said Rear Adm. Thomas Moore, Program Executive Officer, Carriers.

The EMALS system, which uses an electromagnetic field to propel aircraft instead of the steam catapult, is slated for the new Ford-class aircraft carriers. The first EMALS system has been under construction for several years aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, or CVN 78, the first in class of the new carriers expected to deliver to the Navy next year.

“Two of the four catapults are completely built. The other two are almost built,” Moore said. [Continue reading…]