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Portal:United States Air Force

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The United States Air Force Portal

Seal of the US Air Force

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is primarally responsible for aerial warfare, space warfare and cyber warfare warfare. Initially part of the United States Army as the Army Air Corps, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947. It was the last branch of the US military to be formed.

The USAF is one of the largest and most technologically advanced air forces in the world, with about 5,573 manned aircraft in service (3,990 USAF; 1,213 Air National Guard; and 370 Air Force Reserve); approximately 180 Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles, 2130 Air-Launched Cruise Missiles, and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles; and has 330,159 personnel on active duty, 68,872 in the Selected and Individual Ready Reserves, and 94,753 in the Air National Guard. In addition, the Air Force employs 151,360 civilian personnel.

The Department of the Air Force is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force who heads administrative affairs. The Department of the Air Force is a division of the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The highest ranking military officer in the Department of the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

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Picture spotlight

Air Force Briefing.JPG

Photo credit: Master Sergeant Lance Cheung, 18 August 2006. USAF photo.
Mission Briefing

Mission briefing for missiliers at Minot Air Force Base.

photo source: Air Force Link

Article spotlight

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The 1st Special Operations Wing was first established as the 16th Pursuit Group in 1923. The unit provided air defense for the Panama Canal Zone from 1932-1943 when it was transferred to India and participated in operations in the China-Burma-India Theater. During the Vietnam War the wing conducted unconventional warfare training for the South Vietnamese Air Force and conducted combat operations during the war. Since the end of the Vietnam War elements of the wing have participated in several combat operations including Operations Eagle Claw, Urgent Fury, Just Cause, Desert Shield/Storm, Deliberate Force/Joint Endeavor, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.

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.

News Archive

Aerospace vehicle spotlight

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The JN-4 "Jenny" is the series of biplanes built by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company. The aircraft was designed as an evolutionary improvement to the earlier JN-1 and JN-2 trainers. The aircraft had a service ceiling of 6,500 ft (2,000 m) and a maximum speed of 75 mph (121 km/h). A total of 6,813 JN-4s were produced.

The earlier JN-3 was employed as an observation aircraft during the Mexican Expedition. The next iteration of the Jenny saw service during World War I as the primary trainer aircraft for the United States. A few were outfitted with weapons for advanced training, but the JN-4 did not see combat. The JN-4s were sold off as more advanced aircraft replaced the Jennys. Many were used for stunt flying and conducting aerobatic displays.

Biography spotlight

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General Curtis Emerson LeMay (1906–1990) was an aviation pioneer serving in the United States Air Force.

He is credited with designing and implementing an effective systematic strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. After the war, he headed the Berlin airlift, then reorganized the Strategic Air Command into an effective means of conducting nuclear war.

Curtis Emerson LeMay was born in Columbus, Ohio on 15 November 1906. On 9 June 1964 he married Helen E. Maitland, and had one child with her (Patricia Jane LeMay Lodge). LeMay died on 1 October 1990.

General LeMay's positions included: Commander, 305th Bomb Group; Commander, 4th Bombardment Wing; Commander, 3d Bomb Division; Commander, XX Bomber Command; Commander, XXI Bomber Command; Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development; Commander, United States Air Forces in Europe; Commander, Strategic Air Command; Vice-Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force; Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force; and American Independent Party Vice-Presidential Candidate.

Did you know...?

...of the three active bombers in the Air Force fleet, the B-52 Stratofortress, the B-1 Lancer, and the B-2 Spirit, all were designed to be capable of delivering strategic nuclear weapons, but only the B-52 has ever actually dropped a nuclear bomb (on 21 May 1956 during Operation Redwing at the Pacific Proving Grounds)?


Killing Japanese didn't bother me very much at that time... I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.... Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good soldier.

— General Curtis E. LeMay

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